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Thanksgiving invitees who won't commit

I have always hosted a large Thanksgiving with 35-50 people with family and folks who had no family down here, Everyone is used to just coming here and I was ok with it and bring who you want. The past few years, people have passed and it has gotten smaller. This year I have 6 confirmed guests and 6 that didn't confirm. In years past I would have cooked enough regardless and hoped that extra people showed. Since I have been unemployed for 1 1/2 years I wanted to make sure that I cooked an ample amount but not over the top in order to economize. I am planning at this point so, I called the undecided folks to see if they're coming. This consists of two singles and one group of four. Turns out I'm the backup plan and none of them will know until the last minute, way past when I'm done shopping. I don't know how to handle this. I mentioned that I have to know but couldn't get an answer. Should I give them a cutoff date to confirm? Or, should I get into the season and welcome all as I have done in the past.

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  1. Make sure you have enough food for those you know who are coming, plus some extra. Son't go overboard. Ask everyone to bring a dish to share. That way if the undecideds decide to decide, they can offset their indecision a bit by contributing. I expect that you will get a lot of replies to just politely tell the wafflers - oh I'm so sorry you can't come. Maybe next year! - but I'm one of those crazies who does like to open my home and there really always seems to be enough, no matter who shows up.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nyleve

      I'm one of those crazies too, and that's why this is a problem. Everybody knows I love to cook and it has always been ok in the past but this year I'm trying to have a budget.

    2. I'm sorry that they are treating you like that. I would give them a cut off date to confirm. Either a firm one (can't come if they don't rsvp) or a more flexible (come for dessert/must bring a dish). But don't feel like you have to spend more than you feel comfortable just in case they show up. It's hard since it's a holiday, but your need to economize should come first.

      3 Replies
      1. re: viperlush

        I think you're right and I will give a date. I always overcook but I'm trying to keep it under control. My mom was Polish and my maternal grandmother always said that if you don't have leftovers you didn't have enough food.

        1. re: Floridagirl

          Holiday's are hard, especially on a budget. In case you can't escape your urge to overcook, make sure that it's food that freezes well.

          1. re: viperlush

            maybe try to really "beef up" inexpensive options like potatos (both white and sweet; bread; maybe a pasta option for app or side; creamed onions...

      2. Set a date that works for you and your planning/shopping. Let them know the exact "cut off" date in advance. Don't beat around the bush about it.' Just I need to know by _______. If I don't hear from you I will assume you've made other plans.' It's not about you getting into the season. It's about them being thoughtful towards you and appreciative of your gracious invitation. Happy Thanksgiving to you! ;)

        1 Reply
        1. re: pagesinthesun

          you are right. That's a nice way to put it.

        2. You're offering them a nice dinner and they're not sure is they might have better plans? I would tell them you've decided the six you have will make for a nice intimate dinner, and maybe they could come next year. No reason you should apologize, give them more time, anything. This is the height of rudeness on their part. (It would be different if these are folks who might drop in for dessert or such but this is dinner.)

          1. I would call them two or three days before I planned to do my final shopping and, if they haven't committed by that time, tell them I've made the final plans and I'm disappointed that they can't make it this year but, perhaps, they can make it next year. Then I'd leave it at that.
            It's an insult to tell someone that their invitation is second in line; that you may show up if there's nowhere else to go. People who take advantage of the kindnesses of others with rude and contemptuous behavior needn't be tolerated. It's a pitiful set of circumstances when people feel they need friends badly enough to accept that kind of abuse.

            1 Reply
            1. re: todao

              You hit the nail on the head except that I don't need friends that badly. My lifestyle has always been to welcome people into my home and, as I was the last of my friends to be laid off, I had plenty of folks staying in my guest room while they were trying to figure out what to do. My town is the (was) the foreclosure capitol and things are still very bad here. There is almost never a day when I and my SO have dinner with just us. People just drop by. I love to cook and love to have people over, it's just harder now. I agree that it's rude and contemptuous behavior though.