Friday, November 23, 2007

One Hundred, Three Thousand, Six Hundred Eighty Seconds

All lined up
Originally uploaded by Michael_L

That's how long Thanksgiving took this year. Now sersiously, have you ever thought how much time goes into Thanksgiving in the United States.

I was thinking about the time that we invested in Thanksgiving this year and here's the breakdown (this is just my time and will be doubled to include The Roommates time as well to get an accurate reading on the entire project).

4 - Hours planning the party (Involving what to eat and who to invite)
3 - Hours shopping (including the major trip and the 4 side trips for things that we forgot)
7 - Hours of prep the morning of Thanksgiving
24 - Minutes to eat Thanksgiving Dinner
4 - Hours to clean up
14 Hours, 24 Minutes *2 = 103,680 Seconds

Do you want to know how you can cut down on all of that time..... follow along with me, I'm your non-typical American Thanksgiving Party Hostess.....I like Thanksgiving, but to me it's always been about family and friends and not about putting on a huge fancy meal.

Many of my friends love to throw lavish, extravegant dinner parties that involve name plates at your seat, amazing flowers and dessert that requires a special spoon, whereas I'm more of a "Bitch, this is a working dinner party" kind of hostess.

The best times I've had with my friends have always been during working dinner parties.

What's a working dinner party you ask?

As a Harried Hostess why should my guests feel that they can just walk into my home, have a few cocktails, sit down at an extravagently decorated table, eat an exquisite meal, only to finish off the port along with dessert and leave 15 minutes later...yeah I don't know why they feel like that?

Instead, as my guests enter I like to give them little "chores" to do before dinner. Perhaps it's setting the table or organizing the wine and getting the first bottle open, maybe pulling the salad out of the fridge and put it through it's paces in the salad spinner. This way everyone has an opportunity to join in on the fun of throwing a dinner party. Everyone gets to laugh and has a chance to feel as though they've had a hand in pulling off the entire event.

The fun part about all of this is that people who have been to dinner before always volunteer for projects early in the game......because they know that eventually everyone will have a hand in dinner. Some of it is pretty and beautiful like setting the table......but some of it isn't so glamourous like bussing the table of the empty plates that their fellow dining guests just finished using or putting the food away. Of course the fun and pretty chores get taken early by the guests who have been before leaving only those gross and disgusting chores left for the newbies, I guess it's sort of like an initiation per se.

Everyone had a great time at Thanksgiving, but really what was the total cost of Thanksgiving this year? The US Goverment says that Thanksgiving Dinner for 10 will cost you around $40USD, well I can tell you, it cost us a whole lot more than $40 and we only had 6 people:

Cost of Manpower to conduct Thanksgiving = ~$300

Cost of Ingredients to conduct Thanksgiving = $150

Cost of Ingredients guests brought to share = $100

Cost of spending the day laughing, eating and enjoying the time spent with all of your friends = Priceless!

I hope that your Thanksgiving was Priceless this year, I know that mine was.


The Big Finn said...

Welcome to my life!! Mrs. TBF, if I didn't constantly put my big foot down, would hold a dinner party every weekend. I'm not kidding, she sometimes begins planning for certain dinners MONTHS in advance. She always has a stack of cookbooks sitting in a pile with pages marked for future dinners.
She's a sneaky one, that's for sure. She'll invite one couple over for dinner which will inevitably morph in a big sit-down dinner for 8-10 a few days ahead of time.
I guess I shouldn't complain too much. I mean, I do get to eat all the good food. However, I definitely do prefer the less elaborate get-together which involves a few bowls of snacks and help-yourself drinks.

Kiss My Mike said...

I like the idea of distributing chores. Makes me want to invite people everyday at my place.
Not only that, a lot of people spend an awful time on the road, at the airport, on the bus etc. I'm surprised you only spent 3 hours shopping. When I went to the store and found lots of people on the "food attach" mood, I felt like I was gonna be there for half a day at least.
Anyhoo, Happy Thanksgiving. It is still Thanksgiving, isn't it? And Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow too!

The Sour Kraut said...

I like to have everything available for guests to help themselves. Once the party starts, I become a guest myself.

Glad to hear you enjoyed your day. Sounded like fun.

5 of 9er said...

It seems like so many people focus on Christmas starting in September, that Thanksgiving has become an after-thought. I love Thanksgiving. It is good to be around people we love, even if it traveling cannot happen and we're stuck with one friend and a cat. To sit down and focus on the things we are thankful for is wonderful.