Are you tired of the same Holiday meal year after year? I know I was. It became difficult to come up with a meal to please everyone. Several of my grandchildren, I am sad to say are pretty picky eaters. And after all the planning and executing I was just simply tired of them not eating or even being involved with the holiday. So several years ago I came up with several holiday meal ideas.
With kids, it is so hard to come up with food that everyone would like. Some of my grandkids are really picky eaters. I became really frustrated after all the planning and executing the meal and then some of them not eating a thing. So after a Sunday dinner get together I asked the adults to leave and had a meeting with the kids. I have 10 grandchildren and at that time the ages ranged from 3 to 13.
Of course, it was difficult to get all their attention and the 2 little ones ran around chasing each other. It was difficult really to include them in on the “plan” anyway. But I finally had the attention of the other 8. The plan was that they were to pick their favorite food. They had to do chores at home to earn money to buy that food item. They would pay half and I would pay the other half. They had to cook that food item themselves (with my help). And we all would go grocery shopping for those items. They also had to write down and read what they were thankful for at the meal. At first, they were not so sure about this plan but we continued to talk about it. The more we talked about it the more excited they became. After agreeing I had the adults return and informed them of this grand plan. I have to tell you they were skeptical, to say the least, but they got on board.
The day before the “big event” my daughter and I took 8 kids to Walmart to shop. We had lunch at McDonald’s first. Then our lists in hand we began. They all wanted to get their items first but we decided we would start at the back of the store and work our way to the front. We lost a couple of the boys’ attention because they wanted to go to the toy department. We derailed that idea in a hurry. I have to say that they were very well behaved for a group of 8 kids from age 5 to 13. Of course there were a few mishaps but all in all, it went pretty well. Can you imagine the looks we got from other shoppers? Two female adults with eight kids shopping in the grocery department of Walmart. Priceless!
The Night Before
That night they spent the night at my house. I had kids everywhere. On the floor, in recliners and the couch. A couple of the girls giggled most of the night. I became frustrated because I needed my sleep for the big day. They finally settled down about 3 am. Needless to say that not much sleep was had that night. But girls will be girls.
The Next Morning
The next morning we began. My kitchen is not very big but we got things organized. The baked potatoes got wrapped and put in the roasting pan so that was done and one child out of the way. It did get confusing at times because I was everywhere trying to help them with their menu item. We kept bumping into each other. A madhouse at times! But in the end, it was worth it!
Then came the blessing part of the meal. They all read their pieces with laughter and tears all around and then we began to eat. The menu you ask? It was not your traditional Thanksgiving Dinner!
Baked potatoes with butter and sour cream, corn, chicken legs, green bean casserole, chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, to name a few. Oh, and the adults had to provide the dessert.
The kids got to participate and actually enjoyed it. And I have to tell you that the fighting and bickering that usually goes on with so many kids in the house was actually non-existent. (they were too busy cooking)
And everyone agreed this was the best Thanksgiving Dinner ever!
Not Just For Thanksgiving
Now I have thought about this since then. This would be a great idea for Christmas dinner as well. I know that there are times when you just want a fancy schmancy meal for the holiday. But Christmas is about family and being together. What better way to be together than cook together. Let the children plan and help execute the meal. That way you know they are gonna eat. Make it a truly family affair. You may have a few bumps in the road but really isn’t that what life is all about? The kids will feel included. And instead of having them write what they are thankful for you could have them write a paper of the true meaning of Christmas. Out of the mouth of babes!
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Have a wonderful and tasty day!