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I'm Hosting Thanksgiving! How Do I Prepare With My Kids Underfoot?

For moms with young kids in the home, the thought of hosting a large holiday gathering can feel overwhelming, especially for the first time. There's so much planning to do, so many details to stay on top of, and that's before the shopping for groceries and actual cooking begin! How in the world are you going to pull it off with the constant needs and demands of young children to deal with?

This was the question I faced when we started the tradition of hosting Thanksgiving dinner for all of my extended family. There would be about 25 people in my home, expecting to be fed a delicious meal! I'd never even cooked a turkey, and honestly, even having friends over for dinner intimidated me.

We homeschooled at that time, so there weren't going to be hours each day when the kids were at school or daycare; they were going to be with me during every aspect of the process; I had no idea where to begin!

The first thing I did was pray; I knew God was aware of my situation and my tendency to perfectionism and anxiety, so I asked him to show me what to do.

I then set out a sheet of paper and began to note everything I could think of that I'd need to plan for, as it came to mind; over a couple of days I jotted down the guest list, the menu, things I might need to borrow (extra table and chairs, etc.), and so on.

Thankfully, in our family it's typical for everyone to pitch in to make side dishes and desserts, etc., so I assigned each item to someone in the family; there were some shifts, but it worked well.

As I thought about the kids, I realized I could use the weeks before Thanksgiving to teach about the Pilgrims, and the origins of the holiday. This put them in a great frame of mind, and made them excited about celebrating; they started drawing pictures of the Pilgrims, making turkeys from tracing around their hands, and one of them made what he called a "Pilgrim Village" out of cardboard.

I wanted to use my china and crystal, but since I never used it I knew it would all need to be washed--so, I enlisted the kids to do it (under my supervision, of course!) They actually took it very seriously, and were pleased to be doing something so important.

To make a long story short, it turned out better than I could have hoped! The kids were completely invested in the whole process, and very proud of the contributions they'd made!

I've created a guide/checklist for hosting your own get-together and including your kids! It's called "Holiday Hosting with Kids" and you can download it free here! If you know of someone who could benefit from this resource, please forward this newsletter to them!

I hope this guide will provide some clarity as you plan, and give you your own great ideas for including your kids in any holiday event!

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