Thanksgiving: I Hate to Entertain, but Everyone Expects It

Marina Slayton
Marina and Gregory Slayton. |

"Mom Says/Dad Says," an exclusive Christian parental advice column by Gregory Slayton, former U.S. Ambassador to Bermuda and author of the best-selling book Be a Better Dad Today: Ten Tools Every Father Needs, and his wife, Marina Slayton, author of the new book Be The Best Mom You Can Be. The Slaytons have been featured on Fox and Friends, Focus on the Family Radio and numerous other media outlets. They donate 100% of their royalties from parenting books to fatherhood and family nonprofits.

Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman, Governors Jeb Bush and Sam Brownback and Pastors Tim Keller and Luis Palau, among others, have endorsed the Slaytons. In their exclusive series for The Christian Post, both Marina and Gregory will answer thoughtful Christian parents seeking to raise their children up in the goodness of the Gospel and the Glory of God. If you would like to have Marina and Gregory answer your questions, please contact them via

Parent Question: I have a full time job and I really don't like to cook and entertain. But everyone expects me to do all the heavy lifting for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Frankly my home isn't that clean most of the year — but I hate to entertain if the home isn't at least presentable. I feel that I fall short of expectations — especially at the holidays. Sometimes I just feel totally overwhelmed. How can I make it less stressful and more successful — for me and for everyone else?

Mom Says:  We are living in an interesting time: we have a "foodie" obsessed culture but there are less and less people who actually cook. We live in world full of house beautiful TV shows and magazines. But with more women working, keeping our homes super clean is (rightfully) not a priority.

But holidays present a special challenge. Before extended family members or guests come to our homes we want to clean up. No one wants to be embarrassed by the state of our bathrooms and kitchens. And then we must prepare everything. No wonder many of us are going out to restaurants when we want to entertain. But at holiday time the best celebrations are almost always at home.

So what to do?

At the holidays, I think women need to feel liberated — liberated to hire a housecleaner before the holidays and/or get your whole family involved in a "Clean up the house day!" It's expensive to have a cleaner come every week, but having a company come just before the holidays is the way to go; simultaneously, having everyone in the family clean and organize their stuff will give a boost to any mom's — and family's — morale!

At the same time, we moms need to be released to buy pre-made food, have our kids and husbands to help out, and ask guests to bring Thanksgiving themed side dishes or desserts. This is a good way not to kill yourself (and everyone around you). If moms entertain with good spirits then every one else will enjoy the holidays .

As the saying goes "If Momma ain't happy, then nobody's happy."

So feel released to make holiday entertaining a family affair and as easy as possible. Spend a little extra money on cleaning or prepared food if you need to. That's why you've got a job right? And be sure the kids (and Dad) are bearing their part of the load. I'll bet you will find yourself enjoying the holidays much more than before. And your family will too. After all, that's what Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about. Our Heavenly Father gave us holidays to be a blessing for everyone … not a curse.

May these coming holidays be true blessings for you and your family!!


Dad Says: Have you talked with your husband and children about this problem? Do they know that you feel overwhelmed at holiday time?

I hope they respond as a good husband and loving kids should: "Mom, how can we help?"

If they don't, please send them this article. They need to do their part. Holidays CANNOT be just on Mom's shoulders anymore, if that was ever possible. In today's world we must all pitch in: to clean the house, buy the turkey, cook the pies … whatever it takes.

The whole family benefits richly from the wonderful times we have together at the holidays. We all must pitch in to be sure that the burdens of the holidays are fairly shared. Be sure your husband and children understand their roles in making the holidays truly great. It's so much fun to plan, prepare and enjoy together.

Have fun!!


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