This Is the Most Helpful Thing You Can Do at Your Family Thanksgiving

published Nov 21, 2017
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Don’t you love Thanksgiving? Your family’s traditions, the delicious food, hanging with your cousins in the rec room after the meal is over — you look forward to it every year. And your parents look forward to seeing you! No, they insist, you can’t help with the cooking. Setting the table? Thanks, but they did it early this morning while you were still in bed checking Facebook on your phone. And you’d be happy to help clean up the yard, but they did that yesterday before your flight landed.

You know what you really need to do? It’s time to insist. You grew up here and you (should) know the routine by now.

Get in that kitchen and do the dishes.

Tell your sweet parents to go take a walk around the block with the dog while you tidy up, so you can all spend the rest of the afternoon watching whatever sports ball thing y’all are into or just sitting around enjoying each other’s company. It’s time to put down the cheese on chips and do your part.

You know how to do clean up after the big meal, even though you might not have done it before. You grew up there, right? If you’re worried about the nice dishes and cutlery, just ask. (And if your parents are anything like me, they don’t have complicated rules. I do put the good china in the dishwasher, even though the gold trim might one day wear off. I also put silver in the dishwasher, but I make sure it isn’t touching stainless steel, which can leave black spots on the silver. But wait, you weren’t asking about my dishes, were you? Too bad for me!)

You know where everything goes, and if you don’t, now is a good time to ask. Cleaning up and putting things away isn’t rocket science and I believe in you: You can figure this out. Cleaning up isn’t the most fun part of a party, but it has to be done and this is your year. Maybe you can even get your siblings to pitch in. It’s about time.

Your biggest obstacle may be your parents. They may be wary of you taking over this job, but it’s time to make them proud. You may even have to argue a little and, again, if your parents are anything like me, they may refuse to let you do it without a little supervision. So, capitulate. Let them help you this year, but pay attention, show them what you can do, and explain that next year is all yours.

Do you usually help with Thanksgiving cleanup? Or do you let your darling parents handle all of it?