The California Thanksgiving feast that we're sharing with you this week was a team effort, and isn't that the way things usually go? Thanksgiving is the ultimate potluck dinner. But the bulk of the cooking often still falls on the host, and between getting the house clean, setting the table, pouring drinks, and making the gravy, he may feel tuckered out at the mere thought of the day ahead.
And that is where these roles come in. You're not a one-woman show, a one-man band. Thanksgiving is all about sharing and giving, and if you're the main cook this year, here are five roles you should give away to someone else.
These are five roles that will drive a host a little crazy if she has to manage them all! If you are doing the bulk of the cooking (making the turkey and gravy, playing air traffic control as dishes swoop in to land in the oven), not to mention hosting in your own home, then these are five jobs that are easy to delegate to other people who may even enjoy them more.
These are also ways to divvy up a big Thanksgiving meal among friends. If you're co-hosting with your family or friends, try breaking up the duties along these lines, in addition to any regular potluck assignments.
5 Thanksgiving Roles You Should Give Away
1. The Cleaner
This goes for both before and after the meal! If the house needs a quality dusting, don't do it all yourself. When your mom says, "I'd love to come early and help!" don't be ashamed to ask her to tidy the bathroom and sweep the kitchen floor!
And if you have the cash to hire a house cleaner a few days before Thanksgiving, do it! House cleaning is a wonderful and practical luxury, but plan ahead: cleaners are very busy right before Thanksgiving.
2. The Decorator
Does the thought of arranging flowers or hunting down a centerpiece stress you out? No big deal. Hand it off to that talented member of your family who has entire Pinterest boards of photo booth backdrops and printable place cards. (You know who this is.) Ask her to come over early and set the table and get everything Instagram-ready. You can even hand off the task of making sure you have enough plates and glasses. For some people who don't like to cook, this is their dream job come Thanksgiving.
3. The Greeter
When you're taking the turkey's temperature feverishly, or up to your elbows in mashed potatoes, answering the door is a distraction. Ask your most gregarious guest to keep an ear out for the doorbell. Explain where coats should go, show him where the bathroom is in case people ask, and let him welcome people into the party.
4. The Drinks Master
Closely related to The Greeter, and often the same person, this hospitable soul pours drinks, mixes cocktails, makes sure ice is replenished, and says, "Can I top off your glass?" This person ideally also keeps an eye on the shrimp or cheese dip and fills them back up as needed. (Ask her to light candles and put out carafes of water on the table, too.)
5. The Carver
There is a last-minute flurry of activity right before eating, as the turkey is carved. But the main cook can't be in two places at once; he or she'll also be warming gravy, transferring side dishes to serving bowls, and carrying out a host of last minute details. So hand someone else a platter and a carving set, and let them do the high-profile (and messy!) job of carving while you go about your business.
Any other roles we missed? Who does these at your Thanksgiving dinners? (And any dinner, really — I try to have someone in mind for all of these when I throw any dinner party. The principles are pretty widely applicable.)