When I was growing up our family was so fractured that I can only remember one Christmas with fondness. We gathered at my paternal grandmother's house for dinner and after dinner the older kids were dropped off at a local theater and the adults drank and watched football. All of our holidays were celebrated with lots of drinking and often erupted into fights and slights and recriminations. Today I have no traditions to pass on to my child. We do have Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner although with our legacy of fractured families, everyone is obligated to be elsewhere including work. Several years ago when my FIL was still alive, my husband would travel an hour (both ways) to pick him up for dinner at our house. As soon as we finished eating, he wanted to go home, the kids had other places to visit or my daughter had to go to work. They landed like a swarm of locusts and two hours later the house was quiet, Carl was on his way to his father's and I was usually left with the mess. And that's how our Chili Christmas was created. The day before our holiday (which could have been up to a week before or after the 25th depending on our Christmas trip to Florida and the kids' schedules), I would make a huge crock pot of chili. Then it didn't matter when people showed up or how long they stayed. The mess was relatively simple to clean up and the chili was hot all day. Easy Peasy.
That worked well for several years but this year before Thanksgiving my daughter mentioned turkey. Turkey? Oh, no, not that again. My FIL is no longer with us but the other problems remain - work, other obligations. Still, I purchased two turkey breasts, lots of Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes (much better than any I can make), a couple of cans of corn, I made Green Bean Casserole, slid some Crescent Rolls into the oven and baked a Marie Callender's Pumpkin Pie. Easy Peasy. I sent one breast home with the kids and still had enough for sandwiches. The pan I cooked the breasts in was covered with foil - easy clean up. I cooked the potatoes in their pans. I actually had to use a casserole dish for the green beans and a small pan for the corn but the cookie sheet for the rolls was covered in foil. I only had to load the dish washer once and everything was done. Easy Peasy.
It worked so well at Thanksgiving, we're doing it again for Christmas Eve. My SIL is requested at his parents on Christmas so we'll be eating dinner and exchanging gifts on Christmas Eve. We've always believed that Christmas is in your heart, not on a date; we could have Christmas in July and none of us would mind. So, I'm serving a spiral sliced ham (ordered from the local butcher already cooked), Bob Evan's yummy potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, rolls and pumpkin pie - all with the easy clean up. Now, I just have a house to clean, the rest of the presents to wrap and stocking stuffers for my husband to purchase. Ladies: what does Santa put in your husband's stockings - I'm looking for ideas.