(yes, it's too early for Christmas, but when a fellow APWer invites you over to make gingerbread houses, you do not say no)
This year, we are doing that thing that last year I said I wouldn't do: we are going to visit Mark's family for Thanksgiving. Which means that not only do I have to go to New Jersey, I'm going to be spending Thanksgiving with my brother-in-law, who normally I like, but he roots for Dallas and apparently the Dallas game is required viewing on Thanksgiving. I'm trying to not be petty about this, but seeing as I've already e-mailed my SIL to see if there is anything else planned during the Dallas game for the rest of us to do, that's clearly out the window.
I find myself feeling incredibly anxious about not spending Thanksgiving with my family. It turns out that also, not hosting Thanksgiving does not stop me from worrying that a) we won't have enough food or b) I'm not making enough food. Which is why I've offered to bring 5 dishes to Thanksgiving dinner.
I would be lying if I did not talk about one of the bigger issues here: I'm spending Thanksgiving with strangers. My sister-in-law has invited both her family and her in-laws, and all are coming (is this what normal people do? My family is hard pressed to do anything normal.) I have met, and like, her husband's family (they are pretty much the nicest, friendliest, most fun-having people I've ever met), but Thanksgiving should be the time of year in which you can wear elastic waist pants and not worry about sticking your elbow in the cranberry sauce, not a time of year to be on your best behavior so you don't humiliate your sister (perhaps by not writing a blog post about how afraid of her in laws you are...). In addition, I don't know how they feel politically, which shouldn't be an issue at Thanksgiving, I'll agree, but I do enough political work that it sometimes comes out, and it's also REALLY hard to stay quiet when somebody else says something I don't agree with. Also, will they follow the seemingly age-old rule that the womenfolk all get up after dinner and do the dishes together while the men sit around the table drinking brandy? Because that rule sucks and I don't want to take part in it, but I don't want to seem unhelpful.
I'm trying to focus on the fact that I get Christmas with my family and that this is what our families asked us to do this year - his sister asked to host Thanksgiving, mine wanted to host Christmas, and his mother kindly requested we come up with a way to stop eating and running at the holidays, which is probably fair but has left me without something to agonize and stress out over and I'm just not sure how to celebrate the holidays without that. (Clearly I'm substituting my stranger-danger anxiety instead.)
How are you managing this issue this year? Does anyone have any advice on how to be nice to the Dallas fans at Thanksgiving? Or to avoid telling somebody that you think that Herman Cain is maybe not such a great choice for President? How do you get the men to get up and help with the dishes as well as the women?