Share with Aunt Bessie’s why family gatherings are the best - chance to win £300 NOW CLOSED

(296 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Nov-17 11:10:27

We all know family gatherings can sometimes be a bit stressful but that in the main they are a great way to catch up with loved ones. The team at Aunt Bessie’s would love to hear how you make your family get togethers work for everyone - from the youngest member to the oldest. What role does food play in your gatherings - who does the prep (and who washes up)? What about location, do you like to visit your MILs or do you like hosting yourselves? How often do you get a family gathering on the go - once a year at Christmas or every week?

What’s the best thing which has happened in your family gathering and what memories do you have of gatherings when you were a child? Do you have any traditions you have stuck with or new habits you have come to enjoy?

Aunt Bessie’s say “a proper family gathering is about more than just food – it’s the shared experiences and the bringing together of loved ones that turn a simple meal into something truly special. So we’d love to hear your stories and traditions!”

Add your story for great family gatherings below and you will be entered into a prize draw where one person will win a £300 Love2Shop voucher.

Thanks and good luck

Standard Insight T and Cs apply

OP’s posts: |
NauticalDisaster Mon 13-Nov-17 12:08:58

My family gatherings are not stressful! We take turns hosting, everyone helps cleaning up, and I have never seen a problem with anyone being kept out.

Children are always watched by all adults. Teens are engaged by older generations. The elderly are respected and made comfortable first off.

We are pretty drama free, no grudges or I'll feelings so that helps a lot.

We just like getting together to natter and eat. I love seeing my family!

DarkPeakScouter Mon 13-Nov-17 14:29:28

We have some difficult characters in my family. Helping prepare the Christmas meal keeps them from flaying each other verbally. Pre prepared options like ready to roast potatoes also keeps us from going mad with too much prep and let’s us dive into the wine and nibbles

MummyBtothree Mon 13-Nov-17 16:58:05

Unfortunately I am estranged from most of my extended family, it's just DH, our three DC and his Mum so we tend to get together often and we have her over Christmas too. I really enjoy time together although she is in her eighties now and have to grit my teeth sometimes grin

TheKnackeredChef Mon 13-Nov-17 17:14:17

Despite the fact that the DCs' father and I are now divorced, we still make an effort to sit down and eat all together as often as we can. I find sharing a meal can be a great vehicle for communication and I really feel it's helped us to co-parent in what could potentially be quite a tense situation. Last Christmas, it was me, my DP, the DCs, him and his new GF round the table. We all got along remarkably well and actually managed to have a lovely time!

sharond101 Mon 13-Nov-17 17:18:13

A big night time buffet sticks in my mind. All our favourite things to nibble on and lots of laughter make family the best.

ErinSophia Mon 13-Nov-17 17:31:29

Because it gets the whole family together and we can share delicious food and catch up.


misskatamari Mon 13-Nov-17 17:43:01

We live far away from family, but when we do get together we’re very lucky that they’re not stressful. They’re mostly chilled out affairs, nice food and good company smile

AWholeLottaRosie Mon 13-Nov-17 18:25:04

I like to host our family gatherings. I figure my parents and in laws did their fair share over the years so now it’s time for them to sit back and relax.
I plan early and like to make lists, not just for the shopping but also the timings.
I always buy Aunt Bessie’s parsnips, and we’ve just discovered her apple pies too. MIL makes the best gravy ever and likes to think she’s needed so I’m pleased to give her that role.
I don’t mind clearing up by myself, things are soon thrown in the dishwasher, and I don’t expect guests to lift a finger, I’d rather they sat and chatted while I get ten minutes peace wink

FridgeCut Mon 13-Nov-17 18:26:29

We love a family gathering, it is always a bring and share affair and everyone chips in. If an invite is made the first question is "what can I bring?". We love sitting together with no distractions and chatting and eating, a meal can last hours!

Timelass Mon 13-Nov-17 19:17:37

Ours changed 2yrs ago.
DD calls to say children are awake.
We then drive round (20mins) to DD to see DGC open presents In the dark lol.
We all have croissants for breakfast.
Then at about 11am drive back home to pick up a prepared Christmas lunch and take to my mother in law.
At about 3pm we return home sit down to a lovely M+S seafood platter.
We have our turkey dinner after a long boxing day walksmile

MoreProseccoNow Mon 13-Nov-17 19:46:15

With my family, everything is shared & flexible and everyone contributes. It works well, so no-one is lumbered with all the work. Someone will bring dessert, another the starter etc. We have a family WhatsApp group & communicate about get-togethers that way, so everyone is in the loop. Works perfectly.

DP’s family on the other hand, are the opposite: lack of communication, behave like restaurant guests & expect the young children to have French table manners. I find it stressful.

MrsFrTedCrilly Mon 13-Nov-17 20:04:22

We share the tasks, someone makes pudding someone makes the main and we all help out with serving and cleaning up. It’s a relaxed affair with no one getting too fussed about appearances or anything else! We live far apart so it’s always a joyous occasion to share a meal and catch up grin

asuwere Mon 13-Nov-17 20:51:15

In the past few years our only family gatherings have been funerals, and I guess that doesn't even count as children aren't there.

As a child, I remember my gran had a big meal every new year - her 4 DC, their spouses and their DC. The adults sat at one table while the kids had another. My gran did all the cooking, my grandad was in charge of drinks. It was great, thinking back, it must have been loud chaos but I only remember it as fun!

stealthemoon Mon 13-Nov-17 21:11:00

We had a Mexican themed one dish party recently with all my aunts and cousins. Just love the feel of sharing ,talking and laughing.

foxessocks Mon 13-Nov-17 21:18:56

Don't invite too many people at once and keep any food simple! If you're stressed other people pick up on it and then it's stressful for everyone!

ClashCityRocker Mon 13-Nov-17 21:23:58

I enjoy getting the whole family together. It feels even more important than ever as we've lost a few members in recent years and for a time it felt like we were drifting apart.

It's always good fun and great to see all generations spending time together.

CMOTDibbler Mon 13-Nov-17 21:36:37

We don't have them. When the rest of DHs family had small kids it was all the time though and the best ones had buffets so the kids could choose what they wanted to eat, no one was stressing about everyone sat to the table, and as the youngest adults we didn't get stuck supervising the kids

FlukeSkyeRunner Mon 13-Nov-17 21:38:22

I love hosting family get together, i love coming for people and having everyone round the table. Happily our family her on very well so it's usually fairly stress free! We keep things informal, but have proper sit down meals. Lots of rounds of tea keep people happy. I prep the food as much in advance as possible and generally have some craft activities for they kids to do.

del2929 Mon 13-Nov-17 21:39:32

we have regular gathering for birthdays and other religious events. theyr always full of food and jokes.

its a stress free environment where the kids are let loose lol

StepAwayFromCake Tue 14-Nov-17 07:52:38

Jewish family = regular family gatherings, heaps of good food, cries of delight/despair at the same traditional dishes being served, cries of delight/horror at any new dishes being served, laughter and arguments about how we should be doing things or how we did them last year. Utter bewilderment from guests at what looks like chaos to them but makes complete sense to us. Complete joy when guests from another tradition (Jewish or otherwise) dive in and bring their own traditions and flavours into the mix.

A sense of community.

A heck of a lot of washing up.

TerracottaPreservationSociety Tue 14-Nov-17 10:14:54

I love big family get togethers. I ignore any dynamics or drama, make sure there is plenty of food and drink, and avoid too much organised fun. Although there are adults in the family who do not get along, I take the approach that, as they are adults, they should be able to put their differences aside for one event (e.g., dc birthday) or choose not to come if they feel unable to do that. So far, everyone just gets along, and I think not pandering to the decades old transgressions of both mine and dh’s divorced parents has brought all of us closer.

Sammyislost Tue 14-Nov-17 11:29:34

We love a family gathering, but the ones with food are the best. The kids laughing across the table, Grandma falling asleep as soon as she's done eating, it's about fun and making memories too. We love to play games too, or have teams and have challenges to complete.

Usually, the adults all play a part in the food. Some start early and prepare, and while they have a break, others peel veg, or turn the potatoes. Some bring dessert from home, someone clears the table and others wash up and load the dishwasher. Of course, we still need to watch the children, so we take it in turns to make sure they're all having fun too!! It's great when everyone is involved because it shows real family spirit of working together and making something worth remembering.

We only really do a HUGE family gathering once a year, at Christmas, but sometimes we have smaller ones, like BBQ's or birthday parties (still revolving around food!) during the year too.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Tue 14-Nov-17 13:39:08

Some of my happiest memories of my late mother-in-law are around family meals with her - especially watching the changing dynamic between her and our sons, as they grew up.

On her last visit to us, only a few months before her death, we went out for a lovely meal with her and all three boys, and it created a beautiful memory for us all, to set against the sadness that was to come.

For me, feeding people is a great way of showing love - and then you get to spend time with them around the table, laughing and talking.

YorkieDorkie Tue 14-Nov-17 14:05:50

I don't find family gatherings stressful at all! I have wonderful memories as a child sitting with our family up in Scotland and West Yorkshire. We traveled far and wide to see our very dispersed relatives and it was always a joy. There was no other option but a roast dinner with all the trimmings. (Aunt Bessie will have made a few appearances I'm sure!) We sat for hours on end and the grandchildren were always the focus of the conversation and I remember reciting things I'd learned at school or reading a story I'd written.

As an adult with a family of my own, I always make time to have a big dinner for all our relatives a few times a year. They are the best and most relaxing days filled with warmth and love. We are blessed.

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