MAKING HOLIDAY DINNERS EASY
It seems that holiday dinners often fall heavily on the matriarch of the family. She ends up working all of the time while everyone else visits and enjoys themselves. And though women have done this for thousands of years it's not really fair. I know there are some women who want to do it all and more power to them but for the rest of us, I've worked out a plan that lightens the load.
First of all, figure out your menu. Secondly, list who is coming to the meal and could bring something. Then assign a dish or two to each of those people. Always keep in mind a dish that one person does especially well and likes to do or for a more elderly person something they can bring that is easy like a store bought batch of cupcakes or a pie and of course there is always ice cream. Be sure to think of the distance they have to transfer this dish as well. Salad can travel far. Rolls can easily be re-heated in the microwave but a hot casserole should only travel a short distance.
If the party is in your home then you should carry a slightly heavier load and should do the meat or main dish. For instance if I'm doing the turkey then I do the gravy and stuffing as well. My family requires that I make the homemade cranberry relish. But that is better done a couple of days ahead anyway so this doesn't become too much for me.
When people arrive you can give setting the table to teens with a bit of direction as well as clearing it off and stacking food and dishes on the kitchen counter. I find most people will automatically help with clean-up because they were involved in contributing to the dinner. So this also lightens the load and enables you to sit and visit or play games quite quickly after the meal, while truly enjoying the guests.