ssl certificate

How To Avoid Being The Lone Kitchen Serf On Thanksgiving

See this picture below of a loving family have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal together?

thanksgiving family game

Let me tell you what this picture doesn't show you.

It doesn't show you Mom, covered in flour and turkey grease, with sweat on her brow. She's yelling at Dad who accidentally clogged the garbage disposal with an excess of potato peels. ("Those go in the TRASH!")

Now Dad, also sweating (the oven has been humming along at 400 degrees for hours), is squeezing his less-than-youthful body into the ridiculously small cavity below the sink to fix the jam.

Smells start rising.

There are unpleasant sounds.

The timer goes off. Was that for the rolls or the turkey? No one can recall. "I think it's for the pumpkin pie," says Mom. "I thought your sister was bringing the pie?" replies Dad. "Can I have pie?" asks Daughter, sniffing the air like a hound on a scent.

"NO!" both parents yell in unison. "Dinner isn't for hours. Go play with your brother."

Later, the doorbell rings. Guests enter. Mom and Dad are cleaned up, the table is set, dinner is served. Everyone smiles and eats and gets pie. Someone snaps a nice photo.

Ninety seconds pass and the kids have stealthily vanished. Dad, Uncle, etc. retreat to football and Mom starts clearing the table. Soon she's sweaty again and covered in turkey grease. Dishes get washed. Leftover containers are filled. Guests are sent on their way.

Mom and Dad collapse on the couch. Thirty minutes of eating sandwiched between hours of prep and clean-up. "My feet hurt," says Mom. "Let's just order pizza next year," replies Dad.


Truth: Thanksgiving Is A LOT Of Work

Thanksgiving pictures never do the day justice. It's hard work getting a traditional meal with all the fixings on the table.

Here's an idea to make it easier: instead of Mom and Dad working like serfs in the kitchen while kids beg for pie, Thanksgiving can be a day of family togetherness when we recruit the whole family to pitch-in for the prep and clean-up

If you're thinking, Yeah, right, try taking this game-like approach:

Try This Fun Thanksgiving Game To Get The Whole Family Involved (And Avoid Being A Serf)

This is an easy "game" that makes prep and clean-up for the holiday more fun. Including ALL of the jobs that go into the holiday helps parents get organized, and making each job into a "race" with prizes motivates kids to help (and sets clear expectations for less-than-enthusiastic teens who will want to know exactly how much of the day they'll be expected to clean and cook). To start, follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose tasks from the checklist below that are relevant to your family celebration
  2. Print or write them onto paper and then cut each task into individual strips. Note: some tasks can be copied and added twice or three times so family members can share the work on large or difficult jobs
  3. Place the strips into a jar
  4. At a dinner this week, have family members draw from the jar to divvy up the tasks (Mom and Dad will have to "oversee" many of these)
  5. Set time limits for each one to make them into a race
  6. Assign prizes at the end as a reward for everyone pitching in

Thanksgiving "Job" Checklist (print all that apply, and/or create your own):

  • plan the menu
  • make the grocery shopping list
  • do the grocery shopping
  • prep the ingredients
  • clean sink, toilet, mirror of guest bathroom/powder room
  • set the dinner table
  • decorate the house
  • cook/bake {fill in the blank}
  • greet guests and take coats/purses
  • serve the meal
  • clear the table
  • do the dishes
  • pack up leftovers
  • gather jackets and coats and belongings of guests or before leaving if you're the guests
  • other: _____________________________

What does your family do to make Thanksgiving fun for everyone? Share your comments below.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lifetree Kids


Start typing and press Enter to search