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Confessions of a selfish Thanksgiving host

My husband and I host every family holiday at our house, with two toddlers underfoot. We are always praised for our generosity, but there’s more to the story. I insist on hosting Thanksgiving because I don’t want to travel. I want to do the holiday my way.

Maybe I’m not as smart as I think. Maybe my extended family and in-laws are on to me. They are just playing along by agreeing to meet in the most central location with the largest dining table: my house. It makes sense.

Traveling with two toddlers on a holiday is torturous, so I figure I can get away with my homebound excuse for a few more years. My husband and I brought the first grandchild into his side of the family, followed quickly by a sibling and cousins. Since we have the kids and are located in the middle of all family members in the area, we have the upper hand. For now.

It may seem counterintuitive to offer to host Thanksgiving if you have small children, but I promise you that this plan is brilliant. If you have yet to mastermind an elaborate Thanksgiving meal on your turf, you might think it tedious and laborious. It isn’t. It is effortless and kind of manipulative — if you play your cards right.

Since everyone in the family has agreed to come to us (and I always make sure to ask if anyone else would like to host just to play nice), I am automatically in charge of divvying up the Thanksgiving menu. Potluck style, what else?

My husband has become obsessed with deep-frying turkey in the backyard — cliché, but delicious. I really like making my grandmother’s stuffing recipe and mashed sweet potatoes. I again nicely ask everyone in the family what dish they would like to bring, with the exception of my single brother-in-law who has proven time and again that he can destroy a deceptively simple dish like green bean casserole. (Burnt and topped with cheese? I do not understand.) 

The response? No one cares. Their emails are laced with gratitude at our generosity for hosting. So, I assign all the unwanted or complicated dishes that I don’t want to deal with like the Thanksgiving tyrant I am. Rustic roost vegetables for mother-in-law? Check. Store-bought pumpkin and pecan pies for my dad? Check. Premade rolls and Cool Whip for hapless brother-in-law? Check, check.

I am a selfish jerk genius. I make one or two easy dishes on Thanksgiving and get to kick back and enjoy the fruits of my devious delegation. Everyone in my family thanks me for hosting, and I never have to leave the house.

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