There’s something special about the night sky during winter, after Thanksgiving dinner has been cleared away and everyone has gone home. Maybe it’s because you can so clearly count the stars. Winter nights feel like the possibilities are endless.
My fondest holiday memories as a child all involve the starry heavens so when my friends and family started asking for a much earlier gathering time, I felt a little nostalgic. I didn’t know if it would feel the same cutting into a turkey when the sun was still bright in the sky.
My folks are getting older, y’all. Dinner time is 4 pm.
As of now, the special people we celebrate with are still pretty independent but they’re also elderly and driving at night is a big no. After several requests, we made it official- they’ll be here by two!
This whole gone-in-time-for-a-nap thing is new to me. My mom hosted the most fabulous dinner parties when I was a kid. They would run late with champagne and festivities. I so thought I would continue that tradition. How would I spend my evening if everyone is gone before the sun goes down?
If you’re part of the sandwich generation or have to make sure Granny is back at the retirement community by curfew, you might decide to start hosting your get-togethers earlier in the day.
The new routine has taken some getting used to but now I love it. Here are 6 ways I have learned to perfect the art of the holiday lunch ::
- Serve a smaller main course- they take less time to cook! Opt for a smaller bird- duck and goose tend to be lighter than turkey and require less time in the oven, even if you double up. Lunch will be ready on time without the additional stress.
- Reminisce. Remembering and talking about the good ‘ole days isn’t just fun, it gives older folks a sense of purpose and can help keep their mind sharp. Encourage your kids to listen and ask questions. Your parents will love it.
- Plan ahead for sending home leftovers. Buy extra Tupperware if you need to. Everyone loves Turkey Day leftovers but this is especially important for people in retirement homes or who won’t have the energy to cook for themselves in the evening.
- Have a pot of coffee ready when dinner finishes. If they drive themselves home, they’ll need it! If not, it still goes perfectly with pecan or pumpkin pie.
- Send them home with a token of appreciation. An early get together often means a solitary evening, especially for the elderly. Have the kids make them a special card to open before bed. Or, take selfies and print them out as keepsakes! Bonus points :: have the kids skype or call when they get home!
- Start a new tradition! I love traditions and holidays are the perfect time to start one. Maybe after lunch, you’ll just want to take a nap. But you also might feel yourself missing that feeling of having a full house. I know I will! A game of dominoes, going for a hike, or Christmas light spotting might just be the best remedy for a too- quiet evening.
How are your holiday routines changing now that your parents are getting older?