Dear Abby: Thanksgiving host expects me to do much of the cooking

By Chicago 5 Min Read

DEAR ABBY: For the last six years, my partner and I have hosted family Thanksgiving dinners. I always spend more time and energy than I have to make it beautiful and successful. This year, I have neither the budget nor a desire for the stress. I made it known early that we wouldn’t be hosting this year.

Surprisingly, my little sister volunteered to host, and she sent an invitation to the usual crowd. The next day, she called me to tell me that although she would host, she couldn’t possibly be expected to do all that work, and she told me to bring the turkey.

She said I was free to cook it at my place or “come a bit early” to cook it there. Shocked, I told her absolutely not, because avoiding this responsibility was the reason I’m not hosting. I was planning on bringing a side or dessert as is usual for guests, but not the main dish. She got mad and said I was ruining Thanksgiving.

I feel a growing responsibility to help her out, even though I don’t need the stress in my life right now, and I know once I start, I’ll take control (with her encouragement). She has no idea the amount of work that goes into this meal every year, and I think it will be a mess if I don’t help her cook and prepare.

Am I being selfish? Should I go early and teach her how to cook the turkey (and do everything else) for the sake of rescuing this dinner, which everyone has come to expect meets a certain standard? The thought is making me miserable, but I feel myself caving to my sister’s tantrum. — NOT FEELING THANKFUL

DEAR NOT FEELING: Tell your manipulative sister you will come to her place early and show her how to properly cook the turkey, but you won’t be bringing anything other than the side dish you already plan to bring. (This may be a way to teach her some independence.) If she needs more outside help, she should contact the other guests and tell them what she wants them to bring.

You are a generous and caring sister, but enough is enough. Your Thanksgivings will be happier if you share the responsibility with other relatives. Also, remember that there are easier ways to manage holiday dinners than cooking all the food yourself. Many people buy a bird or a ham already prepared, and the same is true for the side dishes.

DEAR ABBY: Recently, my wife suggested I write my own obituary (I am almost 80) as her parents did. Because I remember dates and places she didn’t know, I drafted the document. Everything in it is accurate, but I emphasized the positive and omitted the negative. Previous marriages? My wife thought mentioning them seemed like I was bragging, although it is factually accurate and the way I would like to be remembered. We haven’t been able to settle our differing views. What do you think? — ACCURATE IN THE WEST

DEAR ACCURATE: Not everyone wants to advertise the fact that they have had multiple marriages, but facts are facts. If this is how you wish to be remembered, it is YOUR obituary. You have the deciding vote, and your wife should refrain from making any more editorial comments.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

  • Ismael Perez advice column: Someone in Chicago wonders whether their partner is invited, too

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