Well, my husband and I survived hosting our first holiday gathering in our home. It was a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience. But I now know why my mom warned me against trying to host family holiday events the first year we were married. It can be somewhat stressful.
We had invited quite a number of friends and family to our house for dinner and most everyone already had plans. I was feeling quite funny about a gathering so small-only nine adults and a baby.(Sounds like a movie title!:-)) My husband thought it was quite a lot of people but I am used to large family gatherings.
Well, my mind changed quite rapidly when we had to practically move out of our house to find room for tables in our living room. Finding room for the tables was not really the problem,but rather making room for the chairs with adults in them around the tables. We finally figured out that if we push the loveseat into the fireplace and the TV is pushed into the corner,( facing the corner too, which in this day and age is probably not such a bad place for a TV), we would have room for two tables butted up against each other. This provided minimal space for squeezing through in order to find one's way back to the buffet table set up in the dining room. It actually looked very nice once I set the tables and I thanked God for only allowing nine adults and a baby to come to our little house for Thanksgiving dinner. If I would have had my way, there would have been about thirteen guests. But we would have found room for extras, somehow.:-) (Actually, my suggestion, which my husband quickly vetoed was to reennact the first Thanksgiving and move everything outside.)
The dinner itself flew off without a hitch, really. I had made quite a plan for the week and then let myself work the plan. To account for my little kitchen space, I prepared everything that I could in advance and then baked it after the turkey came out of the oven. This worked extremely well. Even the mashed potatoes were reheated in the crockpot. (Personally, I think they are better fresh, but they were still quite tasty this way and eliminated a time-consuming process that morning.) Before and right after our guests arrived, I was able to sit and relax and visit. I really reminded myself of my mother and the phrase, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all!" (Sooner or later, it happens, even to the best of us.:-) She has the reputation of being a very organized hostess.
Then the turkey came out of the oven and the side dishes went in and then I made the gravy and oversaw the arranging of dishes on the serving table and directed the drink pouring(water and tea for your general information.) My mother-in-law did an awesome job of carving the turkey and discovering the little bag of stuff I had left inside. OOPS!!:-) I had taken the neck and such out and thought I had gotten it all. We had a good giggle over that and I figured if that's the worst thing to happen, I am doing pretty good!
Soon everything was ready and we all dug in. All the food was delicious, even though the gravy had a slight resemblance to something on Fear Factor. (It tasted great, though.) It was a wonderful dinner and a great time of being together with friends and family, sharing our home, lots of food and great stories! And that's what it's all about.
Then everyone left just as quickly as they came. And what do we have to show for their visit? An empty house...and a very full refrigerator.