Coping With Impossible to Plan 2020 Meal Plans...

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AuntJamelle

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Anyone finding planning meals for 2020 holiday events an exercise in frustration? I feel like I am chasing my own tail! I know others are feeling the same!

Thought it would be nice to organize the venting - maybe do some brainstorming - see what others are thinking...

For example, for Thanksgiving we are HOPING to visit family in a nearby town - it would be the 3 of us and the 4 of them...I usually bring a couple appetizers and dessert. HOWEVER when I think about this year I see 3 scenarios:

A.) We go down as planned
B.) We know ahead of time we are on our own at home (i.e. lock-down again)
C.) We find out at the last minute that someone in either group is sick or has a confirmed exposure, or lock-down is called at the last minute

So in theory, I would need to prepare for - and do long term shopping for - all three scenarios.

o_O

I'm working on plan - still tweaking! What are you guys struggling with?
 

PamelaG

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Thanksgiving is just Sophia and I - a small turkey roast with mashed potatoes and corn. I'll make stuffing for me, she's not bothered. We'll have lots of leftovers to package up for the next few days. Sophia will most likely come Wednesday afternoon and leave Friday afternoon so she can work the weekend.

Christmas, will Vic be here or not? I've already decided to cut down on the menu - Vic and Sophia both requested the baked ham and salads buffet which means lots of leftovers. We can change things up with grilled ham and cheese, ham and eggs, and the ham bone for bean soup. I'm going to place a small order at the British food store and in the worst case scenario, I'll send some of those items to Vic as a Christmas care package.

Any plans for an open house or an ornament exchange gathering have been cancelled for this year.
 
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Lori K

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That's the struggle here, too. Do I plan for a full table or just a few? My mom is usually in TX from Oct. through April, but will be north this year, due to high Covid numbers in her Winter Texan community (a "hot spot"). Will I need to go get her (2 hours away) and bring her to my place for a week? Will a sibling step up? If I include my siblings and their family, are we risking too much? The friends where we usually celebrate Christmas Eve will not be hosting this year (wedding on Jan. 2, so it's a timing issue for them and I totally understand). So, our plans for Christmas Eve will change, too. Add in Covid and then try to plan ... and also throw in a little family drama ... Everything's in such flux. I think I"m going to plan for a crowd and if it turns into 3-6, there will be leftovers, with the potential for additional cans for the local food bank. If flexibility were ever a virtue, this is the year for it! I do think I will stay up on New Year's Eve -- and maybe even throw a party. Pop that champagne cork high, while yelling Good Riddance 2020! Welcome 2021!!!!
 

Holiday_Mom

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I decided a few weeks ago to not host Thanksgiving this year. Last year, three of the five guests got sick after being here for dinner. The three sat next to each other. Thinking about hosting was causing too much stress for me. Would they catch COVID-19 from my college age dc or would we catch COVID-19 from them? I will cook for the seven of us.

As for Christmas, I'm probably going to cancel hosting parties this year as well. I've mentioned it to dh and dc but I haven't formally announced it.

My dilemma lies with dh's side of the family. No one invites us to parties because we are a large family. The only exception is dh's sister at Christmas. However, dh's side of the family are anti-maskers and won't social distance. I really ticked them off earlier this summer for bringing my own food to eat and wearing a mask inside and distancing myself from them. After that, I'm not sure we'll get an invite to their house this year. :D
 
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sweetpumkinpye

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Thanksgiving here is not an issue, we don't celebrate.
Christmas.....we are planning a business as usual approach. Because it is hot weather here our meal comprises of cold meats and salads. The meats will be bought in the next few weeks and placed in the freezer. Salads will be made on Christmas Eve, we will do a big shop then and stock up. We already have some tinned products in the pantry so will be OK for those. We will assess a bit closer to the day and make changes if needed.....Plan A and B.
NYE has always been Chinese food and I don't think that will be an issue. I will start buying drinks in the next few weeks and store those.
Numbers here are OK, there are only 7 in my family and DD and DFSIL share times with his family so at the most there will be 5 of us. We don't invite any extras. If we do catch up with people it will be in the weeks leading up to Christmas so should work out OK.

Am comfortable with what I have planned but am able to change if needed.
 
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halimer

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Thanksgiving is a big question mark. Usually DH's side of the family congregates in Syracuse where DMIL is in assisted living. I asked DSIL, who hosts, what was happening and she said "IDK". Don't know if DMIL will be let out for the day. Will DNiece and DNephew and wife come in from CA? For DH and I and DSL and DDIL it's a 5 hour car trip, a 3 day hotel stay and boarding the dog. I would just as soon stay home and host DH, DS and DDIL and possibly a BFF.

The we always host a Hanukkah party - will wait and see.

Christmas Eve is usually a movie and Chinese food - will wait and see.

Usually go to friends for Christmas Day dinner. The ball is in their court!
 
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AuntJamelle

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So many variables for all of us. Hardest part I think is when you don't know what decisions others will make and thus are at their mercy, so to speak, when planning!

I think I have a decent plan now for Thanksgiving:

Plan A (We go down as planned): Shrimp Cocktail, Deviled Eggs and 1-2 Cheesecakes (I'll make those ahead and freeze)

Plan B (We know ahead of time we are staying home): Thaw a roast or small turkey, Small amount of Deviled Eggs, Mashed Potatoes (From freezer or made fresh), Small Green Bean Casserole, maybe a small Hominy Casserole, Rolls

Plan C (We find out at last minute we are staying home - i.e. no time to thaw anything big for main course): Turkey Breast in Marinade (from freezer, thawed in microwave then roasted), Shrimp Cocktail (if I'd already started thawing the shrimp) + Same items in Plan B
 

missjane

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We never have the big Thanksgiving or Christmas that we had years ago when my grandparents were alive. It was always at their house. It included my mom and dad, all their children and grandchildren along with my uncle, his children and grandchildren, and all of our spouses.

Once the great-grandchildren started marrying (and divorcing :(), it created such a conundrum to try to plan around everyone's having to be at in-laws (and out-laws) houses, we all started breaking off into smaller family unit gatherings. Now, I host my children and two grandchildren along with my mom, if she wants to come - she always does.

Of course, our situation is different this year because I have a sister who has moved back home (she's divorced from her SO), Dniece#2 who has moved back home and DNiece#1 who are more like daughters to me than only nieces. DNiece#1 moved back home last year and celebrated the holidays with us rather than my sister.

It's a weird family dynamic. I have four nieces who are my middle sister's children (two by first DH, two by second DH) who are world's apart in their lifestyles. The two younger nieces don't really associate with us much, but the older two do a lot. They're the ones who moved into our old house. I'm not sure how we'll handle all of it this year.

DH, Dson, DDIL, and DNiece#2 all teach school. DNiece#1 attends college. DD27 works in a clinic. DsonIL is still working from home, but may be returning to work in the office beginning November. DD24 works in a daycare, and I work in a doctor's office. Of course, DGSs attend school, which puts Mama and Dsis at risk if they're around us. They spend time with us occasionally, but who knows????? We're all very cautious about monitoring for symptoms or who we've been around that may have been diagnosed so we can stay quarantined from family members if we think we need to. It's a real quagmire of questions, isn't it? DH's side of the family never celebrates together as a family, so that doesn't have to be considered at all.

I suppose extras can always be frozen before we actually cook it if plans have to be changed at the last minute, and we've prepared more of anything than we needed. Instant freezer meals!
 

Ahorsesoul

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Anyone finding planning meals for 2020 holiday events an exercise in frustration? I feel like I am chasing my own tail! I know others are feeling the same!

Thought it would be nice to organize the venting - maybe do some brainstorming - see what others are thinking...

For example, for Thanksgiving we are HOPING to visit family in a nearby town - it would be the 3 of us and the 4 of them...I usually bring a couple appetizers and dessert. HOWEVER when I think about this year I see 3 scenarios:

A.) We go down as planned
B.) We know ahead of time we are on our own at home (i.e. lock-down again)
C.) We find out at the last minute that someone in either group is sick or has a confirmed exposure, or lock-down is called at the last minute

So in theory, I would need to prepare for - and do long term shopping for - all three scenarios.

o_O

I'm working on plan - still tweaking! What are you guys struggling with?

Plan on making your appetizers and dessert. You can use them for all three. Maybe cook a turkey the weekend before to put in the freezer. Then you will have turkey if needed for the Holiday or leftover turkey for yummy leftover recipes.
 
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rabble

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No Thanksgiving here, but Christmas we have half-plans in place.

DH is definitely off, so work-wise that's all good. Christmas Eve usually consists of a mahoosive breakfast to keep us ticking over until we order Takeout for dinner - MINIMAL COOKING FOR ME!!

This year we're having Indian curry on Christmas Day: I've been threatening it for years (I LOATHE roast dinners), and I do not get excited about spending all day checking on a turkey. So food wise, we're sorted.

Dh invited his mum over for Christmas day. ONLY his mum (problematic family). When we told her we're having curry the response was "Urgh, no thanks", then half an hour later she was on about how she hardly eats anyway and she's sure DBIL will eat curry. So in her head she's already invited other family over! She told us she'd let us know within two weeks what she's going to do. Well that was back in July, so I've put my foot down and told DH that her three months of silence IS the answer and she isn't coming. It's really not the year to be messing people around when you can help it, and I have a dreadful feeling that if she and whoever else family members she drags with her come here I'll end up cooking two separate meals. Which is not happening :cool:

All that being said, I'm near 100% certain we'd all be good with a 'whatever' food situation on the day.
 

AuntJamelle

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What about baking????

Is everyone planning on baking as normal? Have you had discussions with anyone you normally gift food to about whether or not they are comfortable with it this year?

I would happily take cookies and cinnamon rolls into DS's school - the staff is there even when students are not - but I don't see how they would want that this year? I mean, they SAY that COVID isn't spread via food, but still...

If I cross off school, after school care and co-workers from my baking list - that almost cuts what I need to make in half. IF I'm cutting all of it.
 
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Holiday_Mom

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I'm planning on baking the typical cookies and breads. I'll just bake half the amount. We usually bring cookies to Christmas dinner and serve the rest at our holiday parties.

We don't gift our baked goods and no one gifts baked goods to us. However, if I did receive baked goods as a gift from people I know who are particular in the kitchen, I'd probably be fine with it. In my eyes, it isn't much different than picking up muffins, cookies or donuts from a bakery.
 

Lori K

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Baking will likely be the same. It's a tradition and my daughter comes over and we bake together. Most gifts that include baked goods are shipped, so that will remain. I may invite my Mom to join us for a day of baking, since it is highly likely that she'll be returning to her "Winter Texan" home in the Rio Grand Valley this year (still a "hot spot" from what I'm hearing). Will just have to watch the weather, as Mom lives in SW Michigan and the highway around the Lake can get icy.
 

AuntJamelle

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In my eyes, it isn't much different than picking up muffins, cookies or donuts from a bakery.

Good point! I guess I will just do an informal "survey" of the places I usually take or ship baked goods to and see who is still comfortable. And then base my plans on that...
 
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Holiday_Mom

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AJ -If your school goes virtual, will the staff still be there? Maybe you could make some baked goods earlier than normal and drop them off at school while school is still in session.

Today was the second day of in-person classes and I sent in small gifts for the teachers. Last school year the teachers stayed home when we went virtual. I'm not sure how long we'll be going in person before the virus takes off again.
 
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AuntJamelle

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If your school goes virtual, will the staff still be there?

Our school IS virtual right now - and staff are going into the building and doing their classes from there. In a few weeks students are supposed to be returning to in person classes (if they chose that option) - DS is remaining virtual for first semester.

But, yes, I agree - if staff are there - one way or another - they may very well be open to my dropping off THE GOODS.

Makes me sad, this is our last year at this school and we love everyone there so much - missing so much this year! :( Sigh....
 
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Minta

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Anyone finding planning meals for 2020 holiday events an exercise in frustration? I feel like I am chasing my own tail! I know others are feeling the same!

Thought it would be nice to organize the venting - maybe do some brainstorming - see what others are thinking...

For example, for Thanksgiving we are HOPING to visit family in a nearby town - it would be the 3 of us and the 4 of them...I usually bring a couple appetizers and dessert. HOWEVER when I think about this year I see 3 scenarios:

A.) We go down as planned
B.) We know ahead of time we are on our own at home (i.e. lock-down again)
C.) We find out at the last minute that someone in either group is sick or has a confirmed exposure, or lock-down is called at the last minute

So in theory, I would need to prepare for - and do long term shopping for - all three scenarios.

o_O

I'm working on plan - still tweaking! What are you guys struggling with?

For Thanksgiving I would have a turkey ready in the frig and if you do go to family for Thanksgiving you can cook the turkey the next day and have plenty of left overs.

We are still planning on hosting Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas day dinner with extended family we are regularly see. The guest lists can change if anyone gets sicks but either way I am still cooking at home as there are 5 of us here.

Still plan on baking and handing out cookie platters to the family and close friends that we always give to but I will check with them a head of time to see if they still want the cookie platter.
 

Holiday_Mom

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Makes me sad, this is our last year at this school and we love everyone there so much - missing so much this year! :( Sigh....

I can relate. We had three virtually graduate high school in May. Our youngest graduates grade school this school year. I'm sure it's going to look different than planned.
 
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