Reducing Stress at Thanksgiving?

November 11, 2010

Family Preparing Thanksgiving DinnerMy boyfriend of 8 years and I just want to stay home this Thanksgiving, keeping it nice and simple and just watch football. His mother is 93 and we have always fixed the dinner at her place. Are we being selfish? Any feedback would be gratefully appreciated.


By ann lehman


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November 11, 20100 found this helpful

I don't think you are being selfish, but then on the other hand how much time do you figure she has left on earth, and how bad would she feel if you didn't spend the day with her. Myself I would never get involved with any man that wanted to spend a whole day watching football. The people that I know have their holiday meals around 12-1 PM, which is the same time we normally eat. If you went to her house early enough to prepare a meal and eat, then visit a little while, you could then go home and have about half the afternoon and evening for yourselves. Myself I would like to not have my one daughter and her four kids for the holiday meals, but the adult developmentally disabled daughter that lives with me thinks that would be awful.

November 11, 20100 found this helpful

You are aware it is called 'Thanksgiving' and not 'national watch football day'. Does his mother have an alternative to YOU fixing Thanksgiving dinner at her house. Could you prepare a meal and bring it to her and visit with her for a while?


Is there anyone else she could visit with? I would guess she just appreciates the company. And if you are begrudging her your time, she will pick up on that. At age 93 I would guess she won't be around a lot longer.

November 11, 20100 found this helpful

Go pick her up and bring her to your house.


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November 11, 20100 found this helpful

It's nice of you to do the cooking and share family time every year with your boyfriend's mother at her home. At her age, I'm sure she appreciates the get together with you all and giving her good times for what years she may have left. To me, anything that dominates the time from family on this special day should get the axe. There are other less important days for such activities and plenty of them.


The most important idea of Thanksgiving is being thankful for God and others who have given and enriched our lives; not taking away from it. I hope you will continue to sacrifice a few more years to your boyfriend's mother. He'll never regret it when she's gone and he looks back on those years and be glad he was there for her.

November 11, 20100 found this helpful

To WANT it is not selfish. But to cut his mom out like that would be. Talk to her. See what she thinks. Maybe she would like something simpler, too. Maybe she would love to come to your home and enjoy a quiet day, too. Or maybe she relishes the family being together and doesn't want to channge a thing.


Perhaps she would be willing to enjoy the dinner on Sunday and leave Thursday to you. But include her in the decision making; you won't regret it. (And if you have children of your own, you'll be setting a good example for when you're old!)

November 11, 20100 found this helpful

Last Friday my 91-year old mother died. Thanksgiving is going to be hard for me this year. If you are not too far from me, maybe I could take your boyfriend's mother off your hands. After all, you won't have to put up with her for too many more years. Wanting to spend the time alone is not selfish. Actually doing it is what is selfish.

November 11, 20100 found this helpful

I think that being with his Mother for Thanksgiving Dinner is a good idea. Believe or not my kids have said to me that they would even have pizza and pie all store bought, and use paper plates etc., all to simplify the meal are good ideas for celebrating holidays. I use to use fine bone china, and good silver, and cook like crazy all from scratch, but by the time everything was ready and we were seated I was exhausted and frazzled.


Also, out of the 5 daughters my 80 yr mother has, I and my husband are the only ones around here to help her. She needs help carting in groceries, phone line problems, satellite TV problems etc. She would be lost without us. I don't want to judge you, but one meal compared to others like us, giving up where we really want to live, which is 2 hrs away, where all of my husbands family lives, seems doable. I miss my my daughter, son, and 3 step children and 7 step grandkids that are 2 hrs away, almost daily. When my mother passes on, my husband and I will have no regrets, but my other four other sisters might.

November 11, 20100 found this helpful

Honestly? Yes it is selfish to exclude your boyfriend's 93 year old mother on a traditional family holiday. Not that it's bad to be selfish once in a while. We all need time to ourselves, but to purposely exclude a 93 year old woman on a holiday that she is accustomed to being with family will probably be interpreted as mean spirited by the mother. Is that what you want her to think?


I don't have a problem with watching football all day as I can't remember a family Thanksgiving without the TV focusing on the sport. Is it that she doesn't like/approve of the TV being on or is it just that you and your boyfriend want to be alone?

Why not invite her to your home, letting her know in advance that you'll be watching the games all day? If she doesn't want to participate, offer to visit her on Friday, Saturday or Sunday for a belated family celebration.

You didn't mention how old you and your boyfriend are. Bottom line, chances are that you will have many Thanksgivings to celebrate by yourselves after the 93 year old woman passes on. Why use the few holidays you have left with her on this earth, only to exclude her?


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November 12, 20100 found this helpful

My Mom is in a nursing home and in the final stages of Alzheimer's. Each time my phone rings I figure it's"the call". Even though we rarely saw eye to eye, what I wouldn't give for one more "Thanksgiving" with her. Friends come and go but Family is Family. Please find a compromise.

November 12, 20100 found this helpful

I disagree with everyone who said it is being selfish. We are all selfish by nature. You have a right to live your life as you please. For once enjoying Thanksgiving alone, nothing wrong with that. Mother didn't live her life for you and you are not required to live yours for her. As for the 'not much time left on earth' business (which I have heard from my relatives), you may "go" before she does and what then? If she won a trip to Europe (and could go) and went on Thanksgiving, would she be the one being selfish? Just a thought. You might consider doing something special with her before or after the actual holiday.

November 13, 20100 found this helpful

Pick your boyfriend's mother up and bring her to your place, or take har out to dinner. What I wouldn't to to have one more day with my Dad. Who just passed away at age of 92. You and your boyfriend will not have many more years to enjoy with her.

November 13, 20100 found this helpful

Can you say "selfish?" Is football really more important than spending this day with a 93 year old woman? I hope someday you are put in this position and then you will know how selfish it sounds!


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November 13, 20100 found this helpful

The thought is not selfish, but in actually doing so both of you would be being selfish. :-( Can't either of you pick his mother up Thanksgiving morning and cook dinner at your home and then take her back to her home in the evening? Or maybe she could spend the night Wednesday night and maybe even Thanksgiving night, too?

You don't have to make a full blown turkey dinner! You can purchase a precooked roasted chicken from the deli section of your grocery store and re-heat it in the oven, buy a pumpkin pie from the bakery section and it's a quick piece of cake to make mashed potatoes and packaged gravy and packaged stuffing during commercials and halftime! Also, in this day and age the football game can be recorded for anything that might have been missed.

I am sorry to be so harsh about this subject but your boyfriend must be in his 60s or 70s, unless he was a really, really late life oops baby, and irregardless I simply can't understand why he has no empathy for what might be his own mother's last Thanksgiving! And, as other posters mentioned, Thanksgiving is to give thanks for the bounty shared with love ones! Oh what I wouldn't give for another Thanksgiving (or Christmas or Easter for that matter) with one who has been gone 22 years and died at 56 years of age! I wish I had the luxury of reliving that last wonderful Thanksgiving that was 'shared' and possible opportunity that would have been wonderful to share until 100!

November 13, 20100 found this helpful

Just to add my two cents, spend the holiday with her.

November 13, 20100 found this helpful

I am in the same situation as you with my Mother in law. What we plan on doing is having Thanksgiving on Wednesday and doing our own thing on Thanksgiving day.

Hope it works out for you.


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November 13, 20100 found this helpful

Is there other family for mom to spend the holiday with? If not, you can't just leave her alone on this family day, especially if you have established a tradition. How wild could a day be with one 93 year old woman and you two, who must be well over 50? Now, if there is a bunch of other family, and you two have always been the only ones to prepare a dinner for 20, say, that is another matter. If mom has other children who could step up to make the dinner or to have mom over to their home, then it is up to you to make sure that someone picks up the slack here. If it is not a matter of mom being alone, but a matter of other family members pitching in, then I would say that you have every right to choose to do something a little different on Thanksgiving.

Here in Canada, we have our Thanksgiving in Oct, but when I was working, especially when my kids were small, sometimes it was very exhausting just to manage to get everyone organized to go eat the meal at someone's house. Once in awhile I just wanted to stay home and rest for the long weekend. And once or twice, we did stay home. However, it was never a case of anyone else being left alone.

November 13, 20100 found this helpful

Holidays are the most lonesome day without family. You will learn this when you grow old. It seems like a long way off, but trust me, it's closer than you think.


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November 13, 20100 found this helpful

Why not make Thanksgiving dinner the night before and have her over then? We are having it the night before so we can relax the next day. I cant wait. A day off work, stay in my jammies and just be lazy and eat left overs. :)

November 13, 20100 found this helpful

Ask her what her plans are. If she has none, how lonely it would be not to spend it with those she loves and love her. She may not have a lot of energy at 93 that maybe you and your mate do, so maybe you do not have to spend hours and hours with her, just a nice meal and clean up time, with a bit of time just chatting.

Why not fix an elegant but simple dinner and have it at her home so she does not have to travel and if she gets tired, she can go rest without needing a ride home. Make Thanksgiving somewhere between 11 and 1 DVR your game. At 93, she may just want to spend quiet time with you, have a bit of good food, and then relax.

I lost my beloved Grams five years ago on the 22. I miss that beautiful woman. She died of Alzheimer's, a horrible disease that robbed Grams of that beautiful spirit, sharp wit, and amazing strength, grace and faith that made her so awesome. I think of her every day and miss her every moment.

I just think you should just put her first for Thanksgiving. Are you going to leave her alone on Christmas, too?

I understand you're tired and want to just relax. We all have heavy loads these days. Thank GOD you have youth, health, and the capacity to be coherent. You may not always. If she is able to, ask her about some of the most memorable Thanksgivings of her past. The depression, WWII, or maybe before kids came along. Sometimes reliving memories can be interesting through another's eyes.


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November 14, 20100 found this helpful

Big time selfish! You can be with your boyfriend all year long by yourself! And, you'll have many, many Thanksgivings alone after she's gone. And you'll wish, beg and plead that she was still alive!

November 14, 20100 found this helpful

Sorry, but I have to agree. My ex-sister in-law did this to our family for 16 years. We lost so many precious years with my niece and nephew. If it is only 1 person just bring her over or take her to dinner, even if it's just for an hour. Most of the time if you feel guilty about something then there is a reason you do. Wishing you a happy holiday. Relax, you will do the right thing. =-)


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November 14, 20100 found this helpful

Please don't be shelfish. This could be her last thanksgiving! I can't believe you and your boyfriend would even consider not spending the holidays with her including Christmas. This is my first Thanksgiving and Christmas without my dad and it hurts so much. I wish I had my dad back to celebrate the holidays with.

November 14, 20100 found this helpful

I'm 27 and I have to agree with everyone that it is selfish not to spend Thanksgiving with her. Make it fun, do some decorating and enjoy family. How would you feel if you were 93 this year without family? What goes around does come around. I know it's not your intention to hurt her, but it would.


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November 14, 20100 found this helpful

At 93, she just might like to have a short visit with you and her son. And have lunch early, something easy, instant mashed potatos,canned turkey or chicken gravy, either a pre-made turkey breast or drumstick, and a boxed dressing.And her favorite veggie. A microwaved sweet potato or a frozen pumpkin pie. Not a lot, She will be happy and you kids can eat while watching the game later.
Tape the football game so you don't miss it, if it is that important to you. But I agree , please, don't leave her wondering what she has done to be left alone and forgotten on this holiday.
You won't be sorry in the few years ahead.
One other thought, How about taking her out for brunch? You would still have a good visit with her and still get home for the game.If the holidays have always been a big deal in her life and your boyfriend's You might as well go along with it a few more years. Great Granny Vi


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November 15, 20100 found this helpful

She may not want a big production. My mother is 93, we are going to my brother's and will have most of the day there with various family members. Mother would rather have lunch and a nap. She's had lots of Thanksgivings. Yours may be different. Ask her if she'd rather you came to visit for a half-hour or so and bring her a Holiday meal...the championship dog show is on TV middle of the day. You could fix her meal and stay with her while she eats...chit-chat and all, and then leave and have your quiet Holiday time. Now, this is what my mother would welcome. If yours still wants all the fuss, then I don't know how you can get around it.

November 16, 20100 found this helpful

Boy! That sure fluffed your feathers, you didn't read it right. Or maybe I wrote it wrong. No way would we leave her alone! We just wondered if we could spend some of...never mind. You can all rest assured. All the other family is too busy for her that day, so we are fixing all the trimmings and stay with her till bedtime. I have had several medical issues, it will be hard. Sorry you thought I was so cold hearted!

November 3, 20160 found this helpful

Don't leave his Mother out, that would be very selfish. No one wants to be alone on a holiday, I've been in that situation and it really hurts.

November 29, 20190 found this helpful

Very very selfish! Imagine if you didnt have your boyfriend or anyone to spend Thanksgiving with? To leave an older person alone for Thanksgiving is cruel.

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