(Okay. Got that out of my system.)
I'm actually more relaxed this year than I was last year, because I know I survived hosting my first one, so I know I can do it again. I just hope I don't get overconfident and mess something up.
I saved my lists and planning pages from last year, so at least I know I can stick to a game plan. I'm only making a couple of adjustments to the menu this year. Last year I served turkey, gravy, apple cornbread stuffing, green bean "casserole" (green beans and mushrooms in a red wine sauce topped with fried shallots), corn pudding, and pecan sweet potatoes. I made a pear and mixed green salad for an appetizer and chocolate cream pie for dessert. This year I'm swapping out the salad for the sweet potato soup and the pecan sweet potatoes for regular mashed (Kevin really missed having mashed potatoes last year).
My biggest problem this year is head counts. I don't like not knowing how many people are coming ahead of time and unfortunately, I'm not going to have a final headcount until a week or two before Thanksgiving.
My brother's stepson is a Marine drill instructor stationed at Parris Island. He may or may not have leave for Thanksgiving. If he does, he will only have time to visit his in-laws in Virginia. That means bro's family will go down there. It's been a long time since my sister-in-law has been able to celebrate a holiday with her son and she hardly ever sees her new granddaughter. I don't blame them for wanting to go, but I wish I could know sooner. If he doesn't get leave, Bro and family are staying in NY and are having Thanksgiving with me.
If my brother comes here for Thanksgiving, the guest list will come to 17 people when you count Bro, SIL, and their two kids. It's going to be a tight squeeze. I think space is my number one concern. I have a folding table and will have to borrow a second one. I don't think anyone in my family has ever hosted a family dinner that was this big. A few years ago my brother and I decided that we were tired of shuffling back and forth between Mom's and Dad's over the holidays, especially since he now has an extended family of in-laws to visit (I'm glad I didn't marry into a big family. My Mother-in-law just spends holidays with Kevin and me). We realized that it was time for us to start doing the family dinner hosting and that Mom and Dad would have to get over themselves and both attend. Now we're stuck hosting gigantic parties.
My other concern is food. How much do I make for 17 people? I'm looking at my recipes, some of which are my own creations, and wonder if I should double them or at least 1.5 them. Then I remember that last year I had leftovers of everything (with 14 people attending) and sent two people home with care packages. Maybe the same amounts will be okay. My mother-in-law, stepgrandmother, and mother all have fairly petite appetites. None of them will be piling up their plates multiple times. Last year my uncle brought a cheese tray and shrimp ring that we ate prior to the first course. People filled up on that so they ate less dinner (or so I'd like to think). Maybe he'll do that again.
Then of course I have to worry about the expense of it all. Hosting a nice dinner does mean a bit of a financial outlay. I don't like to ask people to bring everything because I feel sort of bad saying, "You're invited for dinner - now feed yourself."
I do plan to delegate some of the food and beverages. I have asked Mom to make her delicious orange and ginger cranberry sauce. We just have to hope she avoids human-flesh-eating ponies.
Blood Blood Blood Blood Blood Blood Blood Blood Blood
Another great moneysaving tip is my brother said he would be happy to give me some of his mushrooms for the green beans!