By Lauren Drzala ’21
Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie: just a few of the elements that help make a Thanksgiving feast for most people. As you all know, Thanksgiving break came to a screeching halt after five days. For me, it was not enough time to recharge my brain. Now we anxiously await winter break, hoping for one or two snow days in between. During this holiday season, family members swarm your house. And in every holiday party, I have realized there are certain categories my family members fit into when it comes to preparing any holiday event: the watchers, the cooks, the cleaners, and the guests.
The watchers. This classification of holiday participants can be described as the little pests who hang around the kitchen, waiting to strike on the innocent mashed potatoes sitting by the hot stove. I, myself, am guilty of this. Spoon in hand, they dive for the unfinished sauces and foods, being stopped by none other than the cook who prepares it. To vanquish a watcher, one must tell them they have to help clean up the mess. After this point, the watchers are nowhere to be seen, saving the remainder of the food they did not get their hands on.
The cooks. The creators of the holiday foods who feel they are the superior beings in the kitchen. They are just normal people who turn into chefs, making everyone wonder where these hidden talents just came from. Suddenly Mom and Dad turn into Alton Brown, whipping out delectable items comparable to those on Food Network. They make us wonder how these hidden talents just appear out of their ordinary lives. The cooks add some thyme here and a splash of a mysterious juice seemingly from the depths of the Amazon Jungle there. Because they are so engrossed in their cooking, a mountain of dishes begins to grow in the sink, much to the dismay of the cleaners.
The cleaners. These are the people I relate to the most. They start off as watchers, unaware of the perilous mistake they have made by sitting in the kitchen. These innocent children meet their parents’ gaze, aware of the pile of dishes in the sink. They try to escape, but are forced to help clean up. Once the cleaning begins, so does the complaining. I am personally guilty of this. “No one helps me,” is usually my go-to, but once someone like my younger sister tries to help, I say, “Get out! You are not good at cleaning up.” However, there are times when the mess is just too much to handle, and that usually leads to me ask for help.
The guests. There are many varieties of guests, including the grandparents, the cousins, the family friends, and those family members you see once every six years. Some guests are people that I have never met before. You think you hear your parents say they are friends of your third cousins, but you aren’t quite sure. There are some guests who decide to help clean up. Although I do enjoy a helping hand (when there is too much for me to handle), I don’t enjoy it when the guests begin to clean up when I am enjoying myself. This leads to a death stare from my mom, compelling me to halt my fun and start to clean up again. I then have to approach these guests and pry the soap and sponge from their hands, telling them to have a good time while I am stuck with the dishes . . . again.
Now, what I have also learned from continuous holiday parties and guest after guest is that hosting a holiday party is a pain, but it is all worth the trouble. Everyone special in your life comes together for one glorious party. Yes, it can be exhausting, but you are doing it for the people that you love. I am very glad to spend my holidays with my family; they really do make me happy at the end of the day, and I do not say that enough. To quote Michael J. Fox, “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.”