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Countdown to Thanksgiving, Day 2: Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

It's Day 2 in Megan's "12 Days of Thanksgiving." On the path of organization, she is focusing on potluck pleasures and family chores.

I never feel bad about delegating, and that's how we do Thanksgiving in my house.

This goes for cleaning, too. Today, I’ll ask my sons to wash the dining room windows (I know they’ve been dying to do this) and my husband will help me do a thorough job of dusting my cabinet of tchotchkes, which everyone seems to look at when they come to our home.

My husband also is hanging new blinds today that will help cut back on reflection and glare on the television when everyone’s tuned into the Lions at 12:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

(Did you make a list? If not, there's time to catch up.)

Today, refer to your list and jot down more specifics on what you’d like everyone to do and bring. 

Carolyn Hefner, owner of in Birmingham, looks at Thanksgiving much as the pilgrims did.

“Thanksgiving is a family gathering, and each family member is like a pilgrim, bringing his or her favorite food to the table,” said Hefner, who will be hosting Thanksgiving this year. She oversees special events for a living and is a whiz at hosting Thanksgiving. 

This year, Hefner is especially excited about her brother Stephen’s artichoke dip, rolled tortilla bites and shrimp cocktail.

“He has great recipes and is an amazing cook,” she said. Hefner said her brother never minds bringing a dish, as he’s proud of his cooking accomplishments and wants to share them with the family.

Before you pick up the phone

Remember to consider some of the challenges your friends and relatives may be facing. For example, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law always work at America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit on Thanksgiving morning and they also visit his family before coming to our house later than the rest of the guests have arrived.

Thus, they’re not the ones to rely on for snacks and hors d’oeuvres or dishes that might be jostled around in the car driving to and from various spots. Because they’re busy, I try to make it simple for them and ask for wine, which can stay in the car for hours and won’t spill.

We used to ask my mother-in-law to bring her famous sweet potato dish, but as it’s getting harder and harder for her to cook, we now have asked another in the family to bring the dish (and, of course, make it as well as Mom used to).

Sometimes, my mother will want to bring something easy, like cash. Really! She has offered to purchase the turkey, which is extremely helpful (these meals do add up, after all. Mom: are you reading this?)

My friend, Kim McInerney of Bloomfield Hills, and her husband and children celebrate with her family on even years and her husband’s family on odd years. The dinner is then rotated within the families. This year, it’s her turn to host.  

The family’s delegation system works like this:  “Whorever hosts does the turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes,” she said. “Everyone else brings either an appetizer, side dish or dessert.”

So get delegating. Remember, requesting various, doable dishes allows people to participate and feel a part of the big feast. It also ensures that you’ll have more time to spend with family. Besides great food, the opportunity to hang with family is one of my top things to be thankful for.

Day 3, Choosing the wine: Discover what types of Michigan wines I’m buying that will go perfectly with turkey … and dessert! I’ll ask some experts to weigh in with their favorite sips.

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