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Guests ducking out for Black Friday (Thursday?!) shopping

Thanksgiving has been scheduled since October 30th. Show up around 4:00, eat at 5:00, hang out and play cards and what-not. Most folks are having dinner at their in-laws and what-not earlier in the day and then coming to our house.

Well, my boyfriend's parents came to dinner on Saturday and she was going on and on about all of the things she was going to buy for her grandson on Black Friday at Wal-Mart. Okay, cool. She's always been a Black Friday shark, while I've never given a hoot about it.

Then she mentioned that they are actually starting at 6:00PM on Thursday, and the things she wants to get will only be that price from 6-8 that day. My brain started to melt at that point, but I did work out that to be able to be in line to maybe get that TV she wants when the doors open, she'd have to be there well before 5:00.... She asked us to "hold (her) a plate."

Now, I haven't heard anything, but I have the feeling that when her sisters find out she's going, they'll all want to go too. That will take about half of the guests.

I'm really not sure how to handle it. Part of me just wants to cancel the whole thing and go out for Chinese. Can't move it up, as it will then conflict with the other dinners people are attending.

Is anyone else experiencing grief over the ever-earlier shopping madness?

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  1. If I were in your shoes:
    "Oh, I'm sorry you'll miss dinner. I hope that $25 you save on a TV makes up for it. If there is anything left after shopping, come over and microwave yourself a plate."
    The people who do come to dinner are the people you really want there anyway.

    2 Replies
    1. re: iluvcookies

      Wholeheartedly agree, lluvcookies and lookingforaname. She sounds like the kind of person for whom the traditions of Thanksgiving don't carry much weight anyway. I would be very disappointed too, but stick to your plans, Kontxesi.

        1. I absolutely despise that stores are opening on Thanksgiving. It is bad enough that the employees get paid next to nothing, now they are made to give up holidays too? I would never shop then. Tell her she's welcome to come for drinks after her shopping, but dinner will be over.

          1. It is incredibly rude of her. I like the suggestion of telling her to come for a drink or dessert after her shopping and then next year would not include her at all.

            1. Since this is your (possibly) future mother in law if I'm reading correctly, I would take a gentle hand in this. Maybe this is her "tradition," and while I also hate it, it could make for a looonnggg holiday season if you have to see her again (and again) before the new year.

              I would tell her that while you can't guarantee her a plate since your non-retailing guests will arrive hungry, you'll be sure to have a fresh pot of coffee/tea and some great dessert awaiting her arrival...you'll save her a piece of your "famous pumpkin pie" or something.

              Sort of a compromise without condoning her behavior.

              11 Replies
              1. re: pinehurst

                Yes, this. I'd be pissed too but now probably isn't the time to declare full-scale war.

                Standing in line at Wal-Mart to buy on sale crap has less than zero appeal to me. Stand your ground and enjoy your party.

                1. re: pinehurst

                  Nope; I would make no changes in my plans nor would I coddle her with promises to save her anything. I think it's rude of her to accept the invitation or understanding that the meal would be at a certain time since October then say, "oh by the way, I'm going shopping" at the last minute.

                  If anything, she should apologize to the OP for pretty much destroying her plans. My thought would be, whoever shows up does and those who don't, may not get anything. But I wouldn't go out of my way to save anything. If the OP starts changing her plans now, she might feel like she always has to change her plans to accommodate the lady when she gets married. No way to start off the marriage being disregarded. Stand your ground.

                  1. re: Cherylptw

                    I'm with you, stand your ground.
                    It's well worth standing for.
                    This is precedent setting stuff, so don't set the expectation that she and other family can do this to you!

                    1. re: Cherylptw

                      I don't agree. Life is too short to get upset that grandma will miss dinner because she wants to pick up a gift for her grandchild. How difficult is it to put aside a dish for her? Is it worth it to put your spouse in an awkward position? Or set a bad tone for your relationship with your future MIL? She won't be around forever and you will have plenty of years with your spouse.

                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                        Where are you getting 'grandma', 'grandchild', and 'spouse' from?

                        I agree that it would not be a good thing for the OP to confront this woman and to have the lady's spouse save a plate for her, but that's as far as the OP's obligation should be with the information we have so far.

                        1. re: John E.

                          The OP clearly states that she is hosting with her BF and it's her boyfriends mother that is buying a gift for her grandson hence grandma. She later clarifies she and the BF are actually engaged so I guess technically it would be future spouse.

                          1. re: foodieX2

                            Thanks. I just re-read the OP. I guess I forgot about the grandson part. At least she isn't just shopping for herself.

                            I'm going out Friday, but not too early, to buy a digital camera for my father.

                        2. re: Jerseygirl111

                          Sorry, I'm not buying it...the OP's BF's mother is putting herself in that position. It's one thing to be invited & decline from the gate but to accept then back out without regard to the fact that the OP has made plans AS WELL is thoughtless. It's the principle of the situation. The future MIL is the one, in my opinion who is setting the tone that she's going to be running things, which is not the way it should be. Starting off being a doormat will only get worse. Give respect, you'll receive respect. Disregard and you'll be disregarded. And who is to say there will be years with the spouse? People leave here everyday. Don't assume.

                          1. re: Cherylptw

                            Oy, such a negative way to view things. I guess I just prefer to hope the OP will have many years of happiness with her future husband. I don't think that not allowing yourself to get upset by the actions of your MIL is being a doormat at all. You can't control other people's actions, only your own reaction to them.

                      2. re: pinehurst


                        yes, this is the best way - and its what i would probably do (depending on how tired and/or pissed off I felt).

                        but a "Miss Manners" response is best. Say the good thing but look _straight_ into her eyes and hold that eye contact for a solid 20 seconds. Make her break away.

                        mission accomplished - no hurtful words spoken.

                        1. re: kariin

                          kariin - but the high road is so boring and lonely (and windy).

                      3. I've been mulling this one over, and have decided that in the spirit of dealing with potential future in-laws, you should try to hide your disgust, let her do her shopping, and just celebrate and enjoy time with the people who show up. In-laws are always crazy, no matter who they are, and you have to build into the holidays ways to celebrate with different expectations. Make some INCREDIBLE food that she will just have to eat cold. Try not to let it get to you (I know, easier said than done). It took me a good decade to get over some of my in-laws holiday quirks (and I'm still not 100 percent over it). Good luck!

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: lookingforaname

                          I agree, suck it up because it's the MIL but anyone else would be told to take a hike.

                          1. re: lookingforaname

                            I don't know. Might as well start setting appropriate boundaries now. Otherwise, future mother in law is going to assume the OP's a doormat, to be taken advantage of and try to trample on her at the bridal shower, and during the wedding planning, and at the rehearsal, and the rehearsal dinner, and at the wedding, and at the next holiday, and at the holiday after that, and insist on having it her way at the hospital at the birth of the OP's first child... and so on. Nip it in the bud. Or, as a co-worker of mine used to say, Nip it in the butt. Why fight this battle for the rest of your life?

                            I wish I'd set boundaries and been way more direct with my in laws a lot sooner, but I was overly polite and just tried to be subtle and hope they would read between the lines. Now it's really hard because they have become attached to some habits I find exceedingly irritating. And because we're no longer that "new" and trying to be on our best behavior, everyone has just settled into what feels comfortable for them and based on what they were able to get away with in the past. Deal with it now before a pattern of relating becomes established. Because if you let her do it this year, she'll do it next year. And if you let her do it at this holiday, she'll do something equally disrespectful and crass at the next one. And so on.

                            When did Black Friday shift from being a thing discussed in board rooms to being some kind of national holiday? So weird. It wasn't always like this. How did we let this happen?


                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              "How did we let this happen?"

                              It was my SIL's fault.

                            2. re: lookingforaname

                              I've just got to reply to this one, lookingforaname.

                              " In-laws are always crazy, no matter who they are"

                              Please don't make "blanket" statements like that. My in-laws are the best. Every last one of them. In fact, I've always said if DH and I ever get divorced, I keep his parents. There really are some wonderful in-laws out there. There are also terrible ones. I'm very lucky.

                              1. re: boyzoma

                                Yes. It makes me sad to read all the posts around the holidays about dysfunctional dining experiences with inlaws (and/or one's own family). My in-laws (both now gone) were just wonderful -- both as hosts and guests over the many years when we shared holiday meals, but also in many other non-food-related ways. We will miss them very much on Thursday.

                                1. re: boyzoma

                                  Absolutely, boyzoma, some of us have had great in- laws. Several years after I had divorced my ex husband, my MIL and my ex's brother came 700 miles to stay with my hubby and me for a few days. We had a great time, and have been to visit her, too. I am also a lucky gal.

                              2. I say lucky you! I can only dream that my in laws would miss a holiday dinner.
                                Expectations are premeditated resentments!

                                1. I'd suggest going on with your holiday exactly as you had originally planned. Prepare and server you meal at 4pm for the people who are planning on being there. If your BF's mom would rather go shopping, so be it. That's her loss. Tell her to stop by when she is done for dessert and whatever leftovers may remain.

                                  She's an adult, so if she decides that shopping is a priority over sharing dinner with the family, that is her decision. She hasn't asked you to change any of your plans, she's just informed you that she won't be there. Yes, that stinks, but it doesn't seem like anything personal, just that she has different priorities.

                                  If she had asked you to move your meal time up or back to accommodate her, I think it would be a different situation.

                                  1. Oh my gosh, that is unbelievable. Full disclosure: you will never see me in a store on Black Friday because I hate the madness so I am not very sympathetic for the rabid need some people have to let bargain hunting encroach into such an important family holiday.

                                    With that said, I agree with the idea that you should just go ahead as you had planned without accommodating her rudeness, but being polite when/if she does show up. Good luck!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: jlhinwa

                                      If I can't buy it online on Black Friday, I'm not getting it. I won't set foot into a store.

                                      1. re: jeanmarieok

                                        Frankly, I avoid stores between now and about the 2nd week of January.


                                    2. Good grief... tell her to stop by for leftovers (but there may not be any).

                                      1. Don't let her dictate your meal. I'd be nice about it, because you have the last word, saying what iluvcookies said.

                                        1. woooo, how I wish I knew her mother in law's email address so I can forward this thread to her.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Monica

                                            That would truly suck! There's more than one way to skin a cat.

                                          2. I would wish them luck (sincerely,) and let them heat up their food when they get back from shopping and enjoy the time I do get to spend with them (provided they're family members I like to hang out with.) Expectations, rules, etc. will just stress you out and ruin your day. Go with the flow.

                                            You couldn't pay me to participate in anything Black Friday related but that doesn't mean I expect anyone else to feel that way.

                                            1. If it's just her that's one thing, but if the sisters jump ship along with her I'd be seriously ticked off. I don't blame you for being upset because now it's all up in the air. I guess go ahead with the dinner and if her sisters pull the same stunt make it a very long time before you volunteer again.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: miss_belle

                                                Definitely. If it becomes just me, the guys, and the babies, I will be inviting MY family next year!

                                                1. re: Kontxesi

                                                  Probably not all the sisters will bail. My sister "lives" to shop and I loathe it! I only did Black Friday once - when I lived in Boston and my sister came to visit. Amazon and I are best friends when I need something.

                                              2. Fuck'em, not your family. Let the boyfriend deal with them. Maybe let her know that you can't guarantee left overs, but you will try.And if the sisters join her, just think of it as more room at the table. Plan the meal that you want, and enjoy the company of those that do make it for the meal. But really don't let them ruin the day for you.

                                                1. My condolences.

                                                  Pick your battles if this boyfriend is likely to become your husband.

                                                  That said, I will advise folks that Christmas Day is next in line for this. A friend of mine is very high up in a major national higher-end retail store, and we were discussing this issue yesterday, and she confirmed my suspicion that Xmas Day itself will be targeted within the next few years. The chains want the leverage over mom & pop stores, because the chains have to compete with 24/7 online shopping. If shoppers can get into a store by N hour, it means the workers have to get there a few hours before. So while shoppers just nip and tuck the pause in shop therapy, workers get their holiday gutted.

                                                  Creative destruction and all that.

                                                  1. While I personally hold to the belief that if I cant afford it the other 364 days of the year I have no business buying it, I understand there are people who shop for sport and enjoy the Black Friday/Thursday thing (though if they paid attention, there are actually far better times of the year to get far better deals on 90% of those items if they were actually paying attention to something other than the hype). If that's what's important to them, so be it. We don't have hold the same things important.

                                                    Anyway, I know what it's like to have people skip out. Only in my family, it's for the casino. Either they wolfed down dinner and left after 20 minutes to go, or they canceled due to the "weather", only to find out later that the weather didn't stop them from going to the casino. Since then, I just have an open door policy (at least the years I do cook) and do what I want to do when I want to do it.

                                                    "Everyone...this is what I'm doing at X o'clock. If you're here, great! If you're not, so be it. Feel free to stop by for dessert or to pick at leftovers if you can't be here at X o'clock. At Y o'clock I'm putting the food away/going to a movie/going shopping/going to bed/whatever."

                                                    That said, there's also no law that says everyone HAS to get together on Thursday. Due to work schedules (yay health care workers), Thursday just doesn't work for us this year, so we're doing our dinner on Friday. You could always offer the option of getting together for leftover sandwiches and pie Friday evening if the idea of not knowing when they will bother to show up for Thursday evening dinner is too maddening for you.

                                                    14 Replies
                                                    1. re: amishangst

                                                      I agree with your approach. Just put it out there and if they are aware, then it's on them if they miss out on your cooking.
                                                      You're not a restaurant or a short order cook.
                                                      To come over to someone's home after they've bought the meal, made the meal, served the meal and cleaned up the meal and expect to make more of a mess or have them go through any more trouble is beyond selfish.
                                                      I'm sure they can find a McDonald's open to fill that left cavity.

                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                        You said what I was thinking. By the time the dinner & all the preps the week before, and the dishes are done and the food is put away, I'm pooped!! I sure don't want to be pulling out all the fixins I just got done with squaring away.

                                                        I cannot believe the colossal nerve some people have, and the ingratitude of an invitation to what is for many of us the biggest dinner of the year. And to go shop??? Incredible arrogance.

                                                        1. re: Nanzi

                                                          One Thanksgiving many years ago my father was overseas on business for the month of November, I was still unattached, and my mother and I were invited to my eldest brother's in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. The meal was served at 11 am sharp. The table was cleared, the dishes were washed and put away and coffee was served. There was conversation in the kitchen and living room and football in the family room. I remember thinking, "how long are we supposed to stay"? My mother was enjoying herself in conversation and I was watching football. I could not believe it when at about 5pm all of the food was dragged out and it was time to eat again.

                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                            Interesting you feel that way. Growing up we ate at 1 and were hovering around the fridge/leftovers at 5.

                                                            Nowadays we eat at 12 and after everyone takes a nap they're still hovering in front of the fridge at 5.

                                                            I really don't think that's weird.

                                                            1. re: miss_belle

                                                              What I saw was not hovering around the refrigerator. It was the same spread of food all out buffet style. We generally eat the Thanksgiving meal much later than noon or even 1pm.

                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                  Better than leaving everything out to get food poisoning! That's one problem with Thanksgiving (and Christmas) family buffets... they always have tons of leftovers, but by the time they're being pressed on you to 'take home for later' they've been sitting out for two or three hours and I don't want to risk eating anything except the desserts!

                                                                  1. re: Kajikit

                                                                    I've never been bothered by the food sitting out. Most of our socializing is done before the meal at about 5pm. We eat dinner and then dessert a while later and then people start to leave around 7pm. A lot of leftover get sent home with family members.

                                                                      1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                        Really! Two or three hours are well within strict health dept limits. Actually the most scary thing for me would be the desserts, especially anything custardy...like most pies!

                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                          Where I live has one of the most strict health departments in the world. Here it's 3 hours.

                                                                          1. re: LexiFirefly

                                                                            Here it's two or three, but they will admit four is no problem either.

                                                                          2. re: coll

                                                                            Yeah. I have never worried about the food sitting out (covered of course) between dinner and supper, except a slight worry about food drying out.

                                                            2. re: monavano

                                                              McDonald's is the perfect chaser to Walmart.

                                                              I have to say that I would be incredibly unsympathetic to anyone choosing Walmart (which I boycott) over my food and hospitality. Ah well. A really worthwhile shopping experience? Perhaps. But Walmart is the bottom of the shopping barrel.

                                                              I would offer her the same shot at the leftovers I was offering everyone else, like a turkey sandwich, or cold pumpkin pie (the best!).

                                                          2. I'd let the boyfriend deal with this one. He can tell her what time dinner is, and she can either show up as she said she would, or not.

                                                            For people who take a moral stand on Black Thursday--do you watch football on Thanksgiving?

                                                            29 Replies
                                                              1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                I take a moral stand on Black Thursday. I grew up in the retail business and feel that employees are entitled to family holidays.
                                                                My dad had 15 stores and I had 5. We were closed; January 1, Easter (and we're Jewish), Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We wouldn't ask any employee to miss being with their family on those days. The stores were open on the Jewish holy days, but we the owners were closed. Our employees didn't mind covering as we always respected their holidays.

                                                                I won't shop Thursday, and probably not Friday, my holiday shopping is long complete.

                                                                I won't be watching football on Thanksgiving. In fact TV will not be on while company is at the house. AND house rule:
                                                                NO Cell phones, tablets, iPods, iPads, etc are allowed in the dining room during dinner. Guests are asked to turn their devices off and leave them in ther coat pockets or pocketbooks. The holiday is time for human interaction.

                                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                                  My cell phone remains on and in my pocket, or nearby, so I can be reached in case of a family emergency. My son lives 350 miles away, and the rest of my family, including my 87 year old mother, is 3000 miles away. If the phone rings on Thanksgiving, it's going to be bad news. No one will call just to say Happy Holiday. I won't answer calls from anyone other than immediate family.

                                                                  1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                                    When we had a landline, I used to shut my cell phone down every night. Now, it's on all of the time but I turn it to vibrate only when needed. Your post reminds me that I am going to have to remind my almost 82 year old father to leave his cell phone turned on now that he's at his winter home in Arizona.

                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                      I still have a landline (package that includes cable and Internet) and turn my cell off every night. Anyone who needs to reach me at that late hour is going to be family and no one else. When I travel the cell stays on 24/7.

                                                                      The cell is actually company issued and I still won't leave it on after 10 pm. About a month ago, I turned my phone on at 6:15 am and there was an email from my client sent at 11:30 pm the night before. She needed something done by 6 am!

                                                                      1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                                        I had a chef call me for an order at 3AM once, guess that's when he was done closing up. I am sure he was planning to leave it on my voice mail (which is the greatest invention ever!) but I happened to be up due to insomnia and shocked him speechless for a moment when I answered. Good one!

                                                                2. re: LeoLioness

                                                                  Football is different, I think. You can have it on while being with family.

                                                                  I did Black Friday once - a few years ago in Indy with my sister. It started at 5am and we were both close to tears by 6:15. I almost committed homicide in the Carmel, IN Toys-R-Us. By 6:20 we were at the Original Pancake House (original - really?) drowning our sorrows in syrup.

                                                                  But for the OP, you can't argue with those who love it. Dinner is when it is. Try not to let it bother you.

                                                                  1. re: KrumTx

                                                                    I think football can be on in the background, but not at dinner. Everything has to be off and people need to plug into being social with one another.

                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                      To me, depends on the family and what they want to do. I remember one Cdn Thanksgiving during the World Series (can't remember if what was the playoffs or finals) and the Jays were playing. There was no way my mom was allowing that TV to be turned off. And we socialized between plays. Not like baseball or football is constant action.

                                                                  2. re: LeoLioness

                                                                    Are you bringing this up because football players work on Thanksgiving? I wouldn't compare their pay with Wal-Mart workers. Different situations.

                                                                    1. re: cmspin

                                                                      More like the people working concession stands, souvenir kiosks, parking attendants.... Just curious why there's no outrage on behalf of those people.

                                                                      1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                        Thanksgiving Day football has been a tradition for more than a century in the U.S. and part of the NFL tradition since the league's inception in the early 1900s.

                                                                        There are two NFL teams that host every year, the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions, and those are cities that take their Thanksgiving football tradition very seriously. Those two teams have been hosting for decades. So, if you seek employment as a concessionaire or parking attendant for one of these two teams, you do it knowing with 100% certainty that you will be working Thanksgiving Day because that's how it's worked very likely all or most of your lifetime. It's part of your city's tradition. I know a person who worked for our local pro football team for a number of years, and he thought of it as a rather plum job, and as a supplement to his income.

                                                                        FInally, working as a concessionaire for the NFL isn't a job you expect to carry you through the holiday season and into January or one that you expect to have all year long. You know, there are probably less than a dozen home games every year. Unlike someone who works at Target who really might rely on their oingoing income from Target and who might lose their ongoing source of pay by refusing to work Thanksgiving Day, someone who works for an NFL team knows it's just this thing they do 10 games a year and not a steady income stream.


                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          Okay, those are fair points.

                                                                          My point was that there are many "non-essential" workers on Thanksgiving (convenience store cashiers, bartenders, the people filling orders in Amazon.com's warehouses....). I'm not convinced that stores being open on Thanksgiving is the sign of the country's moral decline. I also think there are plenty of people who would prefer to not only lose a day's pay, but to make overtime.

                                                                          I know some people say people "should" stop and celebrate Thanksgiving (usually because the person saying that does...) but it's not as important to some people as it is to others.

                                                                          Back to the OP, I certainly think it's rude to re-neg on a holiday meal invitation that requires a lot of advance planning and is clearly important to the host. But I don't agree with the notion that the guest is "extra" wrong because she's (gasp!) shopping!

                                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                            I get your point and mostly agree with it. Really, what difference does it make why future MIL is bailing out? Either way, the OP is left hanging, right?

                                                                            I might be slightly more understanding if she was bailing out because, say, she was subsequently invited to another holiday meal --hosted by another daughter in law or an ailing aunt or something along those lines-- and she was feeling pressure to balance all of these competing family demands.

                                                                            To bail out because you're going shopping just seems a little trite, like you're choosing shopping over family. But, either way, the impact on the OP is pretty much the same.


                                                                            1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                              @LeoLioness: Yes, having the holidays free may not mean that much to some people, but the workforce required to keep these consumer binge days going far exceeds that number. Most of the people working shifts on Thanksgiving -- retail and food service workers -- are not being paid overtime rates for doing so. And, at least in retail, these periods are what they call "black out days", days when anyone who asks for time off can be terminated, and when staff cannot request particular days or shifts. For a lot of workers this makes for a child care nightmare (not to mention the fact that, at least on the holidays, it might be nice to be able to care for your child in person.) I think this Black Friday mania is definitely a sign of some sort of decline, or perhaps more accurately, a sign of an increasing and self-defeating co-dependency between a growing class of working poor and a waning middle class who are only being kept alive to keep shopping.

                                                                              As for the FMIL, my vote is to let her do whatever she wants and not sweat it. Family is all about learning to deal with people you may never even have chosen to meet, and maybe a second shift, paper plate Thanksgiving meal is just in keeping with the times.

                                                                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                              To each their own, but I think it is rude to invite people for a holiday meal, then abandon those who aren't interested in sports while you watch overgrown boys fighting over a ball.

                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                Amen. The one time I hosted Thanksgiving (not the whole dinner, just desserts after a restaurant meal) I made it very clear that the F-word was strictly prohibited. And I wasn't talking about the word that led to Ralphie's blindness from soap poisoning. This encouraged some of the in-laws to leave early, but that really didn't bother me.

                                                                            3. re: LeoLioness

                                                                              No outrage for the faithful nurses and physicians holding down the fort either:(

                                                                                1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                  At least they are working and "medically necessary". Wouldn't want to postpone their labors for a day, but the sale of a new TV can always be postponed. You aren't going to die if you don't get "THE TV" at the optimal price.

                                                                                  And as a physical therapy intern (unpaid) I was required to work thanksgiving day.

                                                                                  1. re: autumm

                                                                                    Autumn--I worked in mental health, and one year our brilliant administrator (read: Sheldon Cooper sarcasm here) deemed our center HAD to be open for the clients on T'giving and Christmas, "who need us even more that day." I elected to work T'giving, since I had Christmas travel plans. No clients came to the center early a.m., so I pulled out the TV and watched the parades. Several hours later, no clients. Early afternoon, I'm still alone; the phone rings, and a group of clients yelled "Happy Thanksgiving"--they felt sorry for me having to work while they were having a nice dinner and music at their care facility.

                                                                              1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                Yes, we'll be watching --and, weather-permitting, playing-- football on Thanksgiving Day. Football on Thanksgiving Day is a tradition (for some) that goes back to the 1800's! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American...

                                                                                At our house growing up, watching and/or playing football is what people who were banished from the kitchen did. Now, it's something we fit our meal around for those who want to watch it. But, watching it is something we do together as a family (not during the meal, though) and it is very social and part of the festivities. It's not a serious kind of TV-watching where people get hushed...

                                                                                If weather permits, we'll play a little football, too. You need to work off the turkey, right? And, it gives people something to do while we clean up the kitchen.


                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                  The football game(s) are on at our Thanksgiving as well. While we are not the host, the game is on in the TV room which is a completely separate room from the kitchen. If somebody wishes to watch some football, they can. I'm too busy with the 25# of mashed potato making to pay much attention. Nobody is watching the game during the meal however.

                                                                                  1. re: melpy

                                                                                    No football in this house on Thanksgiving either.

                                                                                  2. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                    The footballers are being paid a fortune to play... not seven bucks an hour. But no, I don't watch sport on holidays. Actually I don't watch it ANY day because I think it's dumb... but our holiday brunch is traditional (and we double or triple-tip because we know that somebody is working to feed us.)

                                                                                  3. And this is why my teenage niece has to leave our family Thanksgiving dinner at 5PM in order to get Target and work until after midnight.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: ninrn

                                                                                      And I am sure she had tons of choice in the matter. (sarcasm alert.)

                                                                                      Shopping has become like flying on airlines: cattle herding.

                                                                                      Of course, if we don't allow ourselves to join the herd, the terrorists will win.

                                                                                    2. I have a different complaint. Going from a Thanksgiving lunch to an early dinner at your place sounds like it would involve traveling during a football game.

                                                                                      Figure out her favorite dish and eat all of it before she gets back as a form of passive-aggressive protest.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                        I think her favorite dish is the pumpkin roll from Wal-Mart she is bringing (before she leaves? I didn't think to ask about that....). :/ That's definitely a tactic right up my alley, but I'll be saving that slot for my butterscotch pie!

                                                                                      2. be gracious and let them do what they want this year. They're not invited to dinner next year, since they're obviously not interested in spending time with anyone at the table. They can come for coffee and desserts.

                                                                                        1. I would take the high road- express your disappointment that she is making this choice, and repeat the same to any additional defectors.
                                                                                          Enjoy your celebration regardless of if its 2 or 20 who come.

                                                                                          And maybe "santa" should gift her this film, which would/should make anyone rethink supporting walmart:

                                                                                          1. Disinvite. Enjoy your meal with people who really appreciate it.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Palladian

                                                                                              Rather than disinvite her, I would just not discuss your plans with her AT ALL. Go about your celebration as planned, and clean up as you ordinarily would. If and when she shows up, tell her to help herself to leftovers in the fridge and if there's no hot coffee left, tell her where the grounds are so she can make some if she wants it.

                                                                                            2. lock them out. and if you're feeling all-holiday-warm you don't turn the hose on them when they come circling back sometime after 8 or 9 PM.


                                                                                              "oh good you're just in time to help scrub the roasting pans! we'll make some sandwiches later"

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                "oh good you're just in time to help scrub the roasting pans! we'll make some sandwiches later"

                                                                                                hill food, that is perfect! Wish I thought of that.

                                                                                                  1. re: iluvcookies

                                                                                                    Perfect! I'm not washing things twice!
                                                                                                    You want to dirty dishes after my kitchen has been cleaned up? You wash them!

                                                                                                1. The hostility and vitriol expressed by most posters is surprising to me. Lots of assumptions are being made, the principle one being that the boyfriend’s mother is shopping for her enjoyment. I have no idea if that is true. The only item from the OP that expresses motivation is

                                                                                                  “she was going on and on about all of the things she was going to buy for her grandson”

                                                                                                  I have no desire to step into any store during the holiday shopping season. I do as much shopping as possible on line. I’m doing well enough that for those things I need to go into a store to purchase, I don’t worry about the price. Many or most depending on your view don’t have the same ability so that buying things on sale allow them to stretch their limited holiday budget. The mother is looking to buy I assume holiday presents for the grandson. She isn’t heading to the store for the thrill of the kill in aisle number 9.

                                                                                                  The OP has said there isn’t a set time for the get together other than come sometime after 4 and eat and hang out until whenever. It’s clear that most of the guests are having their T-Day meal elsewhere and gathering at the OP’s home for the “after party.” The mother didn’t say she wasn’t coming, only that she would be late. So she shows up at 8? BFD. From what I read in the OP, there’s food but it isn’t dinner.

                                                                                                  So since the mother wants to go and get a gift for her grandson (and maybe even the OP and her boyfriend) and she wants to maximize her money, most posters would be happy to slam the door in her face when she shows up.

                                                                                                  I don’t approve of the shopping going on on T-Day as a whole, but there is some serious hostility for a minor issue IMO.

                                                                                                  53 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                    The problem I have is this, somewhere around October 30, less than a month ago, the Mother accepted an invitation to dinner. The OP took that information and started planning her meal. Maybe she ordered a turkey of a certain size. Maybe she started to do some baking. Maybe she made-up handmade placecards. Maybe she worked tirelessly on a seating chart. Maybe she rented or begged and borrowed servingware... You know, she took this info and ran with it.

                                                                                                    Does the mother have a surprise grandson for whom she suddenly needs to shop that she was unaware of on October 30 when she accepted the invitation to Thanksgiving dinner? (And I can actually think of a number of ways that this could actually be true, so I'm completely willing to allow that the answer is yes)?

                                                                                                    Has her financial situation changed substantially in the 3 or so weeks that have elapsed since she accepted the invitation?

                                                                                                    Because, if the answer is no to both of these questions, couldn't the mother have anticipated on October 30 that she'd need to take advantage of any Black Friday opportunities and RSVP'd appropriately? It hasn't even been a month!

                                                                                                    Furthermore the comment to, "Hold me a plate" makes it sound like she views the role of the OP as some kind of servant or meal preparation service for whom she has placed an order for a meal, rather than someone who has graciously extended an offer of hospitality that includes a meal, but also socializing and card playing and so on. And the relationship between mother-in-law and potential future and daughter-in-law, I think, is one to be managed carefully in the sense that it can be fraught with all kinds of power struggles and emotion and so on for decades to come. So, why treat her so disrespectfully so early in the relationship?

                                                                                                    That's the part I find so viscerally objectionable. And if you are so financially strapped that your only hope to buy a gift for your grandson is to do it within a two hour window on Thanksgiving Day, well, maybe your need to scale down your expectations of what sorts of gifts your grandson needs from you. Kids don't need much. What they really need is your presence, say, on big family holidays such as Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                    I don't really think bailing on an invitation like this is really a minor issue. It's a giant diss.

                                                                                                    ETA: and the approach I advocate is not a particularly vitrolic or hostile one. It's pinehurst's suggested response that she can't guarantee that she'll hold her a plate, but she'll be thrilled to ensure there will be dessert and coffee should she arrive later. I don't really think there's any reason you have to promise to save a meal for someone who isn't planning being present for the meal, that could turn into a giant awkward-fest, especially if it's your plan to carve the turkey right at the table. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9256...


                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                      Or does the BF's mom think that she is just changing the scope of the invitation? After all she does plan to spend the holiday with them and the food that the OP is planning on her eating will still be eaten. Maybe while everyone else is eating dessert or maybe after. Maybe this is something that is acceptable/expected in the family and the OP doesn't fully understand the families customs?

                                                                                                      Maybe the mother is ditsy or being passive aggressive, but whatever her reason for missing the meal it shouldn't stress the OP out.

                                                                                                      Family and IL's may have the "right" to ruin holidays/events for you, but not the family of someone you are dating.

                                                                                                      Maybe the OP or the bf should talk to the mom and tell her how they feel.

                                                                                                      1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                        Well, the mother most certainly does think that she is changing the scope of the invitation and therein lies the problem. The invitation was the host's to extend, not the prospective guest's to negotiate. After the fact.

                                                                                                        If it was unclear what the parameters of the invitation were, then the Mother should have clarified what the nature of the event was before accepting the invitation. Or, she could have said, "I would so much like to join you for Thanksgiving dinner at 5pm, but based on past experience, I think it's likely that I will be doing some Black Friday shopping around that same time. I won't really know until the Black Friday ads come out in a couple of weeks." And then declined the invitation and allow the OP to extend an alternate offer.

                                                                                                        Since the OP's customs of extending an invitation and expecting anyone who accepts said invitation to follow through tend to pretty align with generally accepted etiquette in our society at large, the mothers customs of treating an invitation as something to be negotiated can just be called rude, even if that's how they do it in the boyfriend's family. And this is the sort of thing that can make the inlaw relationship so fraught with stress and tension in a lot of families. Rather than reverting to your family's quirky customs, you really ought to operate within what's generally considered good manners or you run the risk of offending people.

                                                                                                        But, if the OP and boyfriend want to talk to the mom and tell her how they feel, that's certainly a fine solution too.


                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                          I wonder if the mom sees it as a invitation from her son, (therefore his family's customs) from his girlfriend (unknown family customs), or from both of them (who knows what customs). Maybe she did tell her son the plans and he didn't properly convey them to the OP (my BF is notorious for this) or she thought she did but forgot (my mom is notorious for this). She might not see it as being rude. We don't know anything about the relationship between the OP and the mother or the BF and his mother. Before getting all worked up about it, they should talk about this and any future expectations at holidays. Like other threads of this type it's hard to give advice without really knowing all the parties involved. We just have to guess based on our own experiences and interpretations.

                                                                                                          You are definitely right, good manners by all parties make everything run more smoothly. I would add not taking things too seriously or personally. And according to other current threads, so do alcohol and drugs.

                                                                                                          1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                            Sorry, I don't know how I missed your reply until just now but I really can't disagree with anything you've said.

                                                                                                            But here's the thing, if this is kind of a recurring behavior that drives the OP crazy, then she and her finance need to figure out how to deal with it eventually. Is it a communication problem and, if yes, where is the breakdown? Is it just a difference in values between the two families? If yes, then they need to work out a compromise. Really (and I'm certain I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, viperlush, because you seem to have a fairly reasonable approach to all of this), this kind of problem-solving and communicating is the "work" part of marriage.

                                                                                                            You may not need to deal with this incident head on, but you might keep in mind for the next occasion (without being too hypervigilant and paranoid) and be prepared to deal with it more directly then.

                                                                                                            But, if you keep letting it slide time after time, it will become a pattern of relating.

                                                                                                            I'll give one example of values clash between my in-laws and me where everyone has good intentions. When my husband and I were fairly new to marriage, we hosted a party at our home, lots of guests, etc. etc.. Long story, but while we were in another room entertaining our guests, my in-laws decided to take it upon themselves to clean up in the kitchen. I walked in and they had one of my out-of-town guests/dearest friends up to her elbows in dishwater. I was absolutely flipping furious. In their mind, they thought "family" should help with such an occasion and they thought they were doing me a giant favor. In my mind, I was the host and everyone get the hell out of my kitchen. And a giant pox on you for ordering my guests (who are like family to me) around like your little servants. To this day, it makes me angry to think of it. And you know what, they continue to do it. When my mother in law is over, she continues to "help" by emptying the dishwasher and putting away dishes. Which means we can never find anything in our kitchen after she's done visiting which is hugely stressful for us. And, plus, I just don't want my mother in law going through my cupboards. Sit down and stay the frick out of my kitchen. I'm sorry, this isn't your house. You aren't the host here. We don't host as a family. When I entertain, I and my husband are the only hosts.

                                                                                                            So, there's a clash of values where both sides can sort of be right. On the one hand, there's the value of helping your host, especially if you're "family". On the other hand is the value of letting the host be the host and unless it's your name on the mortgage, you butt the hell out. Or, at least, ask if there's anything you can do to help before you stick your bossy nose in and start ordering people around.

                                                                                                            This is the sort of thing we are just now getting around to telling my mother in law she can't do anymore. We tried to ignore it that first time it happened, thinking it was just a once in a lifetime thing, what's done is done, let it pass. THen we tried to be somewhat subtle in pointing out that we really like guests to relax in our home rather than feeling like they have to work. Now, years later, we just flat out forbid her in advance.


                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                              I think differing family cultures is a huge thing to manage. My husband and I have been together for 6 years and he still thinks it's nuts that my family doesn't set a time for get togethers. I, on the other hand, am puzzled that his family has a start and end time. Of course, he's also weirded out by the fact that I just walk into family and friends' houses but that another issue...he knocks at his mom's house!

                                                                                                              Your example is perfect. What may be a huge insult to me may be perfectly expected to you. Oy. Families should come with handbooks :)

                                                                                                              1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                Even if families came with instructions, you'd still wind up with extra parts leftover!
                                                                                                                Where does this thing go??

                                                                                                                1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                  I'm with your husband, so to speak. I don't know about an official 'end' time, but starting time for gatherings is a must. I also knock on the doors of family members. I don't wait for them to open the door however. If it's unlocked, I'll open it and do the 'hello, anybody here...?' thing.

                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                    I don't even knock at my friends' doors. You've made it into the inner circle when I stop knocking! I can understand where he's coming from with the start time so I just make one up. He's happy, I'm happy, it works.

                                                                                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                  To your point, TDQ, some people don't get nuances and need bluntness, albeit kind, well-meaning bluntness.
                                                                                                                  Let there be no room for inferring.

                                                                                                                  I also think that as a newlywed couple begins, it's hard to set firm rules because we're used to being our parents' child.
                                                                                                                  Then, what happens when the couple starts a family and schedule is even more important?

                                                                                                                  It is so much easier to capitulate and say "eh, what's one more plate at 9pm? I don't have to worry about this until next year, so let ME not be the squeaky wheel".
                                                                                                                  Well, you're not a squeaky wheel, but your are becoming an enabler and the peace keeper.

                                                                                                                  I say this knowing full well that these things are extremely delicate and easier said than done.

                                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                      Wouldn't it be great if before families merge and a new one formed, that all expectations can be stated (preferably in writing). Let the IL's know up front where and how holidays will be celebrated, who will be in the delivery room and other important issues. Might be blunt and harsh, but at least it sets boundaries.

                                                                                                                      1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                        I saw a TV segment this morning about 3 single/widowed women of a certain age who bought a house together and have lived together for a handful of years now.
                                                                                                                        "Golden Girls", if you will.
                                                                                                                        They realized you had to deal with how the hot dogs are made right away.
                                                                                                                        They set ground rules and agreed to them in writing, and made each other life insurance beneficiaries should something happen to them.
                                                                                                                        It's not pleasant, but their lives are so much less complicated now because they hammered things out straight away instead of allowing feelings to be hurt and misunderstandings to encroach on their friendship.

                                                                                                                        1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                          I know someone who had those all outlined in the pre-nup. Things like vacations, where holidays would be spent, spending limits, weight limits and more were clearly laid out and agreed upon.

                                                                                                                          1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                            I like the idea of a pre-nup/post-nup type of agreement for the ILs to sign.

                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                They have been happily married for 30+ years. Romantic or not it worked for them. Considering some of the issues in my marriage I wish I had been a little less romantic and a little more pragmatic.

                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                  Especially the weight limits. Love that.

                                                                                                                              2. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                in-law pre-nups? in your dreams!

                                                                                                                                and then where, WHERE I ask you, would all of us second guessers be? and the advice columnists, for humanity's sake think of the advice columnists!

                                                                                                                              3. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                Not to threadjack, but even when we are very direct with our limits, no helping please. No doing dishes, no putting away dishes, no cleaning, no reorganizing my mother in law still finds very small ways to "help." For instance, the last time she was over, she noticed that the rug pad in our living room was sticking out a little from under the rug and went and folded and tucked it under so that it was no longer sticking out. Or, I did some rearranging in one room and when I came back later I notice that she undid some of my rearranging as if she didn't trust me to decide where to keep things in my own home.

                                                                                                                                The problem with this, besides the fact that we've asked her to stop (and, really why won't she just stop???), is that she's now picking out the smallest most subtle details to correct because she doesn't think I'll notice (guess what, I do.). So not only does this communicate to me loud and clear that she is perfectly willing to disregard our wishes when she thinks we won't notice, it also communicates to me that she is critiquing and evaluating every little detail in my home. So, if you notice that the rug pad was sticking out an inch, surely you notice the handprints on the TV and the fact that the bookshelves in the living room need dusting. Or that the inside of the door of the fridge still has that soy sauce dribble from a couple of months ago.

                                                                                                                                It just makes me feel nitpicked to death. Also, it's now gotten to the point when we say, "We'd like to ask that you please not __________" she'll say something like, "Oh, I was certain I was going to get into trouble for that." which tells me that she goes ahead and does things that she knows we won't appreciate and is just daring us to bust her for it.

                                                                                                                                It's as if I have two preschoolers. My actual preschooler and my mother in law.

                                                                                                                                And for the record, my own mother is hardly any better. Different issues, same problem with trying to get away with whatever she wants to get away with.

                                                                                                                                At what age do people actually grow up?


                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                  Your MIL is doing the passive aggresive thing to you. I am sure you are aware that her behvior is not about 'helping' you. If she really wanted to 'help' you, she would do as you requested and leave your stuff alone. At some point you're going to have to let it go because it does not sound as if she is going to change. Or, make a little game out of it to amuse yourself. You could bait her with a few little 'out of order' things in the public areas of your house (gosh, I hope she's not going into your bedroom) and see which ones she finds and 'rearranges'. That might be a little childish, but I might do it.

                                                                                                                                  My MIL is a bit odd, but in other ways. My FIL is just a funny old, retired farmer. Neither one of them would say 'shit' if they had a mouthful, but that's another story.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                    Gaslighting! I like the way you think ;-)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                      Well......I don't think my little amusement would make DQ's MIL doubt her sanity.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                      Thank you for validating me. I think I'm going to have to let it go. As much as I'd enjoy baiting her, there are so many actual things wrong with my housekeeping that it would be hard to find MORE things to lure her. Although, I did closely watch the rug pad the next time she was over to see if she'd put it back. She didn't. :)


                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                        As far as your 'growing up' comment, I have an observation I made to my father a couple of years ago. My dad is a widower who goes alone to Arizona each winter as a snowbird. He misses my mother terribly, but he keeps himself busy. He is the leader of a group of old guys who go out picking citrus fruit two mornings each week. They pick grapefruit, oranges, and some sometimes lemons and tangelos in the yards of people who have too many fruit trees to deal with. These old guys pick the fruit and clean up the yards. They each get fruit for themselves, they give fruit away at the trailer park where they live, and the rest goes to the park employees (mostly Hispanic employees) and to the food bank. There have been some disputes among these old guys, a few times, it seemed punches were almost thrown. One memorable line was one guy who said, "I'll be out of jail before you're out of the hospital." (Don't you just love old men?) Anyway, my observation was "if someone is an assh*le when they are 20, it's not surprising if they are still assh*les when they are 80.

                                                                                                                                        On a side note. My father owned his own business for many years, but he grew up in poverty during The Great Depression. He always treats the employees with respect and he tells them when some good fruit (oranges) will be available and he saves some for them. They all call him Meester Jeem (Jim). We was down there for Christmas one year when my mother was still alive and the tamales and other food they brought him on Christmas Eve was fantastic.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                        I like this idea!! You and your husband could place bets about how many of the traps she will fall for. And then award a delicious prize to the winner.

                                                                                                                                      3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                        Thanks for sharing!
                                                                                                                                        It's like banging your head against a wall and complaining about a headache, sometimes...
                                                                                                                                        (you actually sound remarkably composed)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                          TDQ: they never do 'grow' out of that. I invent little things I don't give a crap about for folks like that to fuss over and get distracted. sleight of hand.

                                                                                                                                          "I am SO embarrassed as I was so busy this week I didn't have ONE MINUTE to dust the windowsills, please ignore them, don't even look"

                                                                                                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                    My guess is the woman is clueless and would be surprised to learn that her proposed behavior on Thanksgiving is annoying to others. I wonder if she has hosted Thanksgiving and is a cook. She might be one of those mostly takeout, processed foods kind of people.

                                                                                                                                  3. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                    We are engaged, actually. Saying "fiance" just feels weird to me. I've been dealing with his family for over four years now, and they still manage to surprise me! (To be fair, my step-dad bailed out of dinner an hour before the fact once, so it happens to me a lot....)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                      Ugh, sorry about the stepdad last minute bailing. :(

                                                                                                                                      Anyway, I just went downstairs and reheated my lunch and thought about this the whole way down. One thing I don't think you've mentioned is how your boyfriend feels about all of this. (Sorry if you've mentioned it and I've glossed over it).

                                                                                                                                      At our house, it's my job to handle my family and it's my husband's job to handle his. By "handle" I mean that we make decisions together and present a united front, but it's up to each of us to communicate our mutual decision to our respective families.

                                                                                                                                      So, if this is the sort of thing your fiance's mom typically does then I might handle it differently than if it's a one-time kind of thing. I might be a little less forgiving if she does this all of the time because I do think you want to establish some boundaries. Sure, show up anytime you want within X-time-frame, but dinner is at X time and dessert will be served from Y time to Z time. If you really don't mind, then you can say, and We'll be glad to help you with some leftovers when you get here. If you think this is going to be upsetting to her, I might suggest your boyfriend deliver the message.

                                                                                                                                      If this is a totally new, out of character thing I'd probably have my husband call and ask, "Mom, can you tell me more about this Black Friday thing? Because we kind of had our meal plans set..." and see what the deal was.

                                                                                                                                      I think part of your worry is that some of your other guests might bail, too, which could have a giant impact on your meal. Hopefully it's just one guest.


                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                        Congratulations. Hopefully not all the surprises are bad. Time for you and your future husband to start your own family traditions and customs. Good luck!

                                                                                                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                        Although there were rumors, it wasn't until about the second week of November that stores started announcing that they would be opening as early as 6pm instead of midnight. So, she didn't know she would be shopping that early.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                          Fair enough though at that point the polite thing to do if you MUST do the Black Friday thing on Thursday is to call your host, explain your situation, beg their forgiveness and ask if you'd still be welcome later.


                                                                                                                                      3. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                        <Part of me just wants to cancel the whole thing and go out for Chinese.>

                                                                                                                                        And the fact that they are just the BF's parents and not future in laws (unless there is an impending engagement?), in laws, or her family members.

                                                                                                                                        That the part of the OP that I was responding to. I agree with what you wrote. I just don't think she needs to be so stressed that it ruins the day for her. Families celebrate differently and sometimes it is necessary to adapt.

                                                                                                                                        In my family Thanksgiving was a hectic holiday with people coming and going and food being consumed all day. My BF's family is the opposite. We gather at the same time, eat, and all leave at the same time. Both enjoyable in their own way. I haven't had the chance to host, but I'm thankful that I've had many years of experience with both styles and families so I know what rules I will set:).

                                                                                                                                        1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                          Both approaches can work: come when you can, the food will be set out buffet style or what have you, or, dinner is served at X.
                                                                                                                                          If the hostess is serving a sit down dinner, then you presence of your arse is required. If your arse can't make it because shopping with the unwashed masses is more appealing, then kindly decline the offer.

                                                                                                                                          I really think it's the reason for missing dinner that chaps my arse in this case!
                                                                                                                                          I feel for 'ya, OP!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                            I wouldn't be mad at the person missing the meal. I'd pity them. I'd accept them whatever amount of time they can/want to spend with us, but I wouldn't change anything for their convenience. As I see it more leftovers and space at the table.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                          It is actually dinner. I'm fixing about half of it, and the rest is pot luck. A lot of work and planning has gone into it. Dinner is at 5:00, which she knows.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                            Do you know how many will be at your table at 5:00?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                Are you pretty confident the sisters won't also be bailing or is that still a worry?


                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                  Well, both have them have checked in with me today to add things to their "what I'm bringing" lists, so I think that's a good thing? They're obviously planning on coming and bringing their promised goods, but who knows if they will follow big sister's lead.

                                                                                                                                                  Hopefully not. But if they do, I can't do anything about it, right? It's still just a little disheartening, after the planning that's gone into it.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                    I think that's a good sign. That would have been their golden opportunity to let you know that I'm bringing X dish, but it might be late because blah blah blah. Or, I'm bringing X dish, but might have to drop it off so I can run...

                                                                                                                                                    I think you can assume they are planning to stay for the meal. I hope so anyway. :)


                                                                                                                                            1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                              Is she or her sisters expected to contribute dishes?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                Yes, everyone is bringing something. His family always does their holidays pot luck, so I figured I'd stick with the formula.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                You're guests are eating two dinners that day? You originally posted that most will be having dinner before they come over with in-laws and whatever. Is the future MIL starting with first dinner somewhere else and then shopping then having second dinner? How does someone eat two T-Day dinners? I had mistakenly thought you might have been hosting for dessert/coffee/drinks after everyone had eaten elsewhere based on what you wrote.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                                  We do it almost every year. My hubby and I are high school sweethearts, so we typically do Thanksgiving Lunch with my family, and dinner with his.

                                                                                                                                                  My grandparents lived about half an hour apart from each other, so I did this growing up too. It's actually not that bad, you pick and choose from the best/your favorite offerings of the specific cook, and they don't feel bad because they know you have another Thanksgiving to go to so you are "saving space"

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                                    She and her husband are actually our only guests who are NOT doing two dinners that day.

                                                                                                                                                    We've always juggled it like that. We would normally have a meal with his family, then a meal with my family later or vice versa. This year since I'm hosting it, my mom moved hers to Friday instead. (And then my dad's house on Saturday!)

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                                  There may be some hostility, but some of us were just having fun with the idea.
                                                                                                                                                  However, I do empathize with the OP, was serious about my bologna sandwich suggestion, andI stand by it. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                3. I wouldn't even make her/them a microwave plate.
                                                                                                                                                  Once I'm done, THE KITCHEN IS CLOSED!
                                                                                                                                                  Unless you're staying over as a guest in my house, then feel free to raid the fridge and make a sandwich late at night!

                                                                                                                                                  It's rude beyond words. No plate holding, no messing the kitchen once you've worked all day long.
                                                                                                                                                  You eat your turkey and let her get Chinese!

                                                                                                                                                  1. I think this depends on your relationship with her. Is she usually reliable, kind, and thoughtful? Or is she normally greedy and self centered? My mother in law invited 5 arbitrary people to our rehearsal dinner. Overall, she's a perfectly nice person and, while I thought it was bizarre, my husband told her to go ahead as long as she paid for her guests. My original plan? Nah, but not something to get super stressed about. If you're worried about other guests, I'd call/email/text them to confirm today and go from there.

                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                      She's been okay recently, but we had a pretty rocky time for about two years when she realized I wasn't just a fling. She definitely has a two-faced and passive-aggressive side. :/

                                                                                                                                                      I'm not that worried about it anymore. I think it's rude and materialistic, but I'm not going to let it get me down. Her husband can be in charge of "saving her a plate" if he so chooses. :)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                        Great attitude. At least you know what you are in for after you get married:).

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: viperlush


                                                                                                                                                          I like your solution: let the onus of dealing with her rudeness be on her husband.


                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                          I think that's the way to look at it- if she wants to miss out, her loss. Eh, at least she told you ahead of time. My mom does similar things- she'll tell you what you want to hear then do what she wants. You have to check with my dad to find out what she's going to do. It's kind of sad, really.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                            I love that idea. I hope you find a clever, "Miss Manners" sort of way to let her know that you're off duty.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                              I just LOL--her husband is staying while she goes shopping? I like his priorities!

                                                                                                                                                          2. People need to spend less time shopping and more time with family creating memories that don't revolve around buying things.


                                                                                                                                                            1. How rude!

                                                                                                                                                              I, personally, hope that all the companies who are rushing shopping like this will have to pay their employees a very high premium to work through what should be their holiday too and then find that customers don't show up.

                                                                                                                                                              I doubt that will happen but it's the only way to get the message through to them that what they're doing is seriously anti-social in the most literal way.

                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                                I second that hope, but I don't see it happening. :(

                                                                                                                                                              2. If you are engaged to her son then I guess you had better get used to the dramatic future MIL:) I would be as gracious as possible to her. I would not wait on her when she does arrive after shopping. I would give my fiancé her sweet son that privilege. I also hope that you have a great dinner with the guests that are at your home with you.

                                                                                                                                                                1. First of all, I am fortunate to be part of a family that really isn't into shopping, and has never really had that Black Friday tradition. I think someone would be laughed out of the family if they left dinner to go shopping. And even our Friday will be spent with the same group that had dinner (plus a few guests), celebrating Chanukah and eating latkes and leftovers:-). That being said, my husband told me today that Lowe's has a great Black Friday deal on something for the house he just can't live without. He insisted I look up the location of the store nearest my sister's house (I was secretly hoping there was no Lowe's in her smallish town, but no such luck:-). The good news is that Lowe's (or at least that particular Lowe's) is closed on Thanksgiving Day. So we will stop and buy whatever it is he can't live without on the way to the Friday brunch at her house (staying in a nearby hotel, and they open early). Hopefully the place won't be mobbed. I think I'm the only woman around whose husband is making her go shopping on Black Friday. OTOH, we do need a new fake Christmas Tree (hey, we're a equal-opportunity household when it comes to religious holidays)....and I notice Lowe's has one just the size I want on sale:-). Now, as for the football argument...there is NO WAY I am not watching football on Thanksgiving. I will refrain from watching during dinner......

                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                                                    I come from a non-Black Friday family as well. But if there is any store that is going to get me out there this year, it would probably be Lowe's! I could really use a new stove and refrigerator....

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                      But how many of the people who wait in those lines like hysterical trained rats ever get the stuff that lured them in?

                                                                                                                                                                      I can't imagine spoiling the glow of a holiday with that kind of mania. Letting it intrude into the holidays themselves is beyond the pale. I won't shop at any of those stores FOR THE WHOLE HOLIDAY SEASON. Fortunately that won't include Costco. I can get anything I need from a Costco.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                                        Hysterical rats? Mania?
                                                                                                                                                                        Step back one step and realize not everyone has the time, transportation, and extra disposable money to preserve that nice "glow". Some kids/families get what they wish for because the parents stood in line. I know there will be a price that will lure me in for something, someday!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. I don't get it...the Black Friday craze but, then again, I am not poor and trying to buy things I really can't afford. I think it is important not to let materialism intrude on more important things. Although it could be that she is letting you know that the family gathering is not as important as material things.

                                                                                                                                                                    I think I would not give it another thought and just enjoy the people that choose family over the rest of the " stuff". Honor the folks that " show up".

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                      Sedi -

                                                                                                                                                                      I think we are dealing with multiple issues here. I'm Jewish, married a Christian. And his family was the first time I truly saw Black Friday up close.

                                                                                                                                                                      For them (as they were quite comfy, not poor) it was about sport, fun, tradition. It's the start of their season.

                                                                                                                                                                      The OP's future MIL, maybe not so much joy. But we don't really know, do we?

                                                                                                                                                                      So please. Don't dis all Black Friday shoppers. Let's be happy the future FIL is willing to save a plate and that the future MIL didn't demand that it ALL wait for her. That's far more flexability than many.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                                                                                        My SIL is certainly all about sport. It is not that she/they cannot pay full price for her black Friday purchases, it's all about the 'sport' of the hunt.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                          That's exactly it, John E.
                                                                                                                                                                          Black Friday is the shopper's Thanksgiving Football game.
                                                                                                                                                                          Though it's s not necessarily about the score. It can be about how one plays the game.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Some of you may be interested in signing this pledge not to shop on Thanksgiving:


                                                                                                                                                                      1. Two thoughts: I hope the store owners understand that when employees are given a holiday off it means a PAID day off! (If after the bad press this year causes some stores to remain closed next year, it will be shame if the workers get a day off but don't get paid.)
                                                                                                                                                                        Also, probably a large number of employees having to work today *agreed to do so * in writing, when they took the job. Like "do you understand you will be working nights, weekends, holidays, etc." So some employers shouldn't be judged quite so harshly.

                                                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BangorDin

                                                                                                                                                                          That's right, if you agree to be screwed in writing, it's A-OK. Of course it is.

                                                                                                                                                                          Curious what you do for a living, Bangor ... please tell me you're an attorney who writes employment contracts.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BangorDin

                                                                                                                                                                            Is it typical for retail workers to get paid holidays? I thought most of them were hourly workers and not salaried?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                              IIRC officially full-time hourly get paid holidays (I did when I was), but in retail most are kept at just below enough so that that's not required. and as Bangor points out there are contractual ways of getting around that.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                Exactly, if you are part time, you do not get a paid holiday.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Kalivs

                                                                                                                                                                                  Our company policy pays double time on days that are designated as paid holidays.


                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                When we were owners in the retail business our hourly employees were paid for holidays on which we closed if it was their regularlt scheduled day to work.

                                                                                                                                                                                So an employee who generally worked Thursdays would be paid their regular Thursday shift hours for Thanksgiving. Monday workers were paid for Memorial Day and Labor Day. Sunday employees were paid for Easter. Christmas, New Year and July 4th varied by year.

                                                                                                                                                                                Salary employees received their full week's wages for any week with a holiday. We didn't open on these holidays, so no employee had to work and take other compansatory time off as the holiday.

                                                                                                                                                                                Although we paid the holiday to hourly workers, holiday pay did not count towards the 40 hours that could put an employee into overtime pay.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                                                  I was a radio announcer in my younger days. It always annoyed the heck out of me when I had to work holidays for my regular pay. I thought that at the very least, those working a holiday where the other staff had the day off, the announcers should get another vacation day. We didn't. However, I will say the owners were good to us. As a part time announcer in high school, I got a $1,000 Christmas bonus. Other, long-term staff would receive five figure bonuses. When the stations were sold, that ended, not surprisingly.

                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: BangorDin

                                                                                                                                                                                There is no federal legal requirement for paid holidays or vacation days in the USA. In the USA, it is employer discretion.

                                                                                                                                                                              4. A handful of my guests just ducked out for some shopping tonight and it didn't bother me at all. Gives me a minute or two to regroup, stretch, straighten up and prepare for the next round of entertaining.

                                                                                                                                                                                Also, I handed one of them some money to pick up the notebook Best Buy has on sale tonight. They're saving me the hassle!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. There was somebody missing from our family Thanksgiving this year. I have a first cousin who has been hosting a huge Thanksgiving dinner for the extended family each year since 2002. He has a big house and this year there were 40 of us. (I made 25# of mashed potatoes again, cooked on an outdoor propane burner.) Anyway, the brother of the host did not show up. His wife and children were there, but he was at a poker tournament.

                                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cornedhash

                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't know if he did or not. This "poker tournament" was at somebody's house. Whoever the organizer was should get a life.

                                                                                                                                                                                      On a side note, the TV was never turned on at our family's Thanksgiving celebration.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The TV went on as soon as people got here yesterday. :( Toddler throwing a fit? Put cartoons in front of his face! Loudly.

                                                                                                                                                                                        And then they figured out that'd I'd hooked up an antenna and they could watch the game on CBS.... :| Football is the worst ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                          Oof, sorry to hear about the disruptive Thanksgiving. Did your MIL's sister's stick around to have dinner or did they leave also?

                                                                                                                                                                                          I also hate having lots of TV / background noise around when people are over. You're there to visit and have a conversation. It's hard to talk over it. It's one thing if people really are watching a game or whatever but I just generally hate it when people "need" background noise.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cornedhash

                                                                                                                                                                                            Once the game was on, they were actually watching it. And the kids were watching the cartoons. I just didn't come from a family where the TV was part of social gatherings unless it was a Star Trek marathon or something. His family likes to watch TV during dinner all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cornedhash

                                                                                                                                                                                              We love to watch football on Thanksgiving but TV is off until after dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh jeez! I thought it was a real one for charity or something. Yeah, that's just lame and uncalled for, really.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I've been following this thread... who showed up? Did she get the TV? We are all DYING to know.

                                                                                                                                                                                        AS you can see, my evening was drama-free. Sigh.

                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: iluvcookies

                                                                                                                                                                                          Okay! A run-down:

                                                                                                                                                                                          All guests who RSVPed showed up except one cousin who was very sick, most at about 4:30. I was running a bit late with the food, but they were all content to go through the Black Friday fliers while I finished. Sister-in-law and her two kids showed up unannounced (I kind of expected that) at about 5:00. I don't even know what time we started eating, but it don't think I was too late. Maybe 5:15.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Mother-in-law, her sister, and grandma all left at about 6:10 to go shopping. Father-in-law and nephew (the grandson who she was shopping for) left shortly after, maybe 6:30 or 6:45 to go to Gander Mountain. Then sister-in-law and her other kid left right after that.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Cousin A + husband + 3-year old and Cousin B + boyfriend hung out until the game was over, which I guess was 7:30 or 8:00.

                                                                                                                                                                                          It all went pretty well, considering. Cousin A did make a comment about everyone "eating and running", so at least someone else understood.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I was hopped up on Vicodin the whole time, so maybe that helped. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                          EDIT: No word on whether she actually got that TV she wanted. She called his phone at about 10:45 last night, which woke me up but not him. I didn't answer.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm confused about your sister in law randomly showing up. I thought you mentioned that had happened before. This is your fiance's sister? Or your brothers wife?

                                                                                                                                                                                            Anyway, sounds like the shopping wasn't crazy-disruptive, though it does sound like it cut into the card-playing just hanging around and chatting time, which is kind of too bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                            A family member just dropped me a note to say they were in line by about 4pm yesterday and got an ipad mini for $200.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'll admit: I'm a little envious.


                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                              I walked into Target at about 2pm on black Friday and walked out with an ipad mini for $210. No lines, no waiting and a lovely uninterrupted Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: baseballfan

                                                                                                                                                                                                    would you be my permanent retail escort? I can't pay squat but that kind of smoothity would be so great.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Half my dinner guests showed up at 10:30 am for a noon dinner. Half showed up at noon because they forgot to pick up my stepfather in law and had to go back.

                                                                                                                                                                                          They all left around two thirty. The two long term guests stayed until 4 when he drove home to go to work today but he will be back in the afternoon.
                                                                                                                                                                                          This just left me and my husband with my best friend from college. Around 6pm I sent them to the casino and got some much needed rest. They were supposed to come home around 9 for turkey sandwiches. They came home at 2 am having won 425 dollars between them. Sandwiches were eaten at 2:30.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply