According to a survey done by Butterball, preparing the Thanksgiving meal has turned into a group effort. No longer do mom or grandma to cook the entire Thanksgiving dinner. Of those surveyed, more than 50% of Baby Boomers (adults age 45-64) are asking their guests to bring a dish. This trend spans generations, although 60% of Millennials (adults age 18-30) will ask their guests to contribute a dish to the meal. This is more than are than Gen Xers (adults age 31-44) and Baby Boomers, reflecting a change that has been occurring for many years.
Entertaining has become more casual. People no longer mind having others contribute to the meal. I think this change is also seen in the rise of pot-luck dinner parties that have become common in recent years. 93% of people, across the generations, will have a job to do in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner, whether it is contributing a dish, cleaning up (78%), or contributing financially to the cost of the meal (70%).
The study reflects my family. I do the majority of the food preparations, but all the guests will bring at least one dish with them. I welcome unique foods that I might not consider making and usually tell my guests to just bring whatever it is that feels like home to them. We may end up with three different types of stuffing, or dressing, as it is called in the South, but that is how we end up with new favorites and get to experience the culture of our friends. And who knows, we may just abandon one of our family recipes for a new one.
In my house, the post meal clean-up almost always falls along traditional lines. The women do the majority of it. I am fairly certain that this is not a sexist thing at all, but rather a tradition. It is the way things have always been done on the holidays. And if nothing else, the holidays are slow to change. We take comfort in the familiar, even if on regular nights the chores are not gender specific.