Dear Janine,

I don’t enjoy complaining, but I need your help as I’m really starting to feel resentful regarding our family holidays. Due to us having the largest home in our family, both mine and my husband’s parents and siblings meet at our home for Thanksgiving. I was fine with this arrangement, but the last 3 years this has now become Thanksgiving and Christmas. The problem is that I am left with the majority of the work such as cleaning beforehand, cooking, cleaning and washing up afterwards as well as covering the majority of the food costs for 20 people. I love having the family visit, but this is stealing all my joy as I never get to relax and just enjoy the festivities. Please help!

Tired and Resentful

Dear Tired and Resentful

 First off, it’s lovely that you graciously open your home to the entire family. I do however see your point that it can’t continue to go on like this. As it’s family, my advice would be to start delegating in a friendly way. Just because everyone meets at your home, it in no way, shape or form means that you need to do ALL the work AND carry the majority of the costs.

 The situation will only change if you ask for help.

 2-3 weeks in advance, call each couple individually and ask that they either bring an appetiser, side dish or dessert to contribute. If someone makes an amazing pie, it makes sense to ask them to bring one along and they’ll most likely be flattered that you enjoy what they make. It’s quite normal that family contribute at large gatherings, so you have absolutely no reason to feel awkward about it. Just don’t dictate, rather ask “What would you like to make for dessert for Thanksgiving?” That way, you know in advance what will be brought and the other person can choose something they really enjoy making.

If someone is lacking in the cooking skills department, then ask that they bring wine, snacks or other drinks. That will not only reduce your workload, but also share the costs more fairly. Either involve your family in tasks such as setting the table, clearing and washing up or alternatively ask for a small financial contribution to hire a cleaner to do this afterwards. That way you can actually spend some quality time relaxing with your family instead of running around, doing everything in the background.

If anyone gets offended by being asked to contribute they really are missing the point in celebrations such as Thanksgiving and Christmas!

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