Teamwork and Thanksgiving: Our Best Tips

My mother has been organizing Thanksgiving dinners since 1958.  We were talking during her recent hospitalization about her memories of Thanksgivings through the years and I got to hear many stories which lead to these best hints for a holiday filled with Teamwork and Thanksgiving.

My mom's earliest memories are with her mom's family.  Her cousins and her aunts and uncles took turns hosting the event and would come together at one of the homes. They spent the whole day with these families and playing with the cousins.  The women all brought dishes to help the hostess.  The kids sat away from the grown ups and in this family, no wine or alcohol was involved.  The best teamwork tip from this era was let people bring a dish!

My grandmother started hosting her own Thanksgiving when her brothers and sisters bowed out of hosting the event.  My great grandparents and my aunts and uncles and my cousins met at the house. My grandmother cooked the turkey, rolls and pies and the side dishes were brought in by her sons and daughters.  We all worked together and helped Grandma in the kitchen.  The best teamwork tip from this time is to make sure that everyone has a job to help with!  Have a sign up list or an assignment chart ready to go when people arrive.

When my grandparents died, my mom invited the whole family to our house, my aunts and uncles and their kids.  Mom cooked the turkey, someone brought rolls, and the rest brought side dishes.  One of my aunts didn't like going to different houses, so she stopped coming with her family.  Then mom started inviting people from my dad's family.  That was a great experience.  Each year we'd get our grandparents and bring them to our house.  We never knew who would be coming!  This went on for about forty years!  The best teamwork hint from this era is to let people extend invitations to others but expect an Rsvp.  We make it clear that you need to give a call and tell someone you are coming!

My mom moved to a senior housing facility last year.  Now we have our Thanksgiving in the party room of the complex.  Last year was our first year and we invited all our cousins and their families. We had it on a Saturday and the crowd was huge.  This year we are back to having in on Thanksgiving and our crowd will be smaller.  Mom makes the turkey, my sister makes rolls, I make a pie and a side dish, and then we ask the rest of our guests to bring paper goods, desserts, side dishes, games for the kids, electrical cords, decorations and whatever else we might need.  We coordinate all of this through a Facebook event page.  Our best teamwork hint is to take advantage of Facebook's event pages, which allows you to invite via email, so you can invite those without a Facebook page, too!

While our traditions may have changed over the years, there is one tradition that stays:  our gathering is full of family and friends whom are loved and cherished.  We come together to say thank you for the blessings we have received this year.  This year we will be using this printable to ask everyone to complete a page of their blessings as a family.  We will gather those and create a book that can grow year after year.  You, too can download this printable for your family as well here.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Terri Steffes
Terri Steffes

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