The first year I hosted Easter dinner, I was excited. I like entertaining and cooking for people, mostly because that the only thing I usually have to interact, with, socially, is a turkey. Generally, it's a pretty one-sided conversation. It also doesn't mind if I have between four and eleventeen beers or force bottle of beer inside of it with the excuse that "the recipe told me to do it." Turkeys are very accommodating like that.
Little did I realize what it involved.
Our house is relatively small, made even more so when 12-15 people attempt to gather and do anything but stand in a line face-to-face like the beginnings of a conga line. There's nothing like letting part of you slip over onto a relative to really get that "bonding" experience with your in-laws. However it's a palace compared to the farm house where we used to gather for these events. When everyone walked outside after dinner I'm sure it looked a lot like clowns exiting one of those tiny cars.
It's like trying to cram too many potatoes into a Tupperware container and trying to shut the lid eventually you have to kick Kevin out (I call the food that falls out of my Tupperware "Kevin." My wife says to "Use a bigger container." But she doesn't understand the joy of devouring all the Kevins).
At a small house during a large family gathering you have the added benefit of playing the delightful game, "Try Not To Squish The Babies," a game where you try and maneuver around small children without stepping directly on their heads. Get enough people playing and it looks like the calmest, most deliberate mosh pit ever.
I found determining where people sit to eat when there's not enough seating to be another wonderful tradition. Nothing makes you feel better as a host as offering people the floor to sit on or a wall to lean on. Suggesting family members might feel more comfortable at home will earn you a look from your wife.
As much as I enjoy cooking for people, my kitchen is about as functional and spacious as a 9-year-old's treehouse. This year, my wife told me we didn't need to have a turkey. In retrospect I suppose I feel bad about squirting her in the face with a water bottle, but I'm pretty sure not having a turkey at Easter is sacrilegious. I mean, I don't think Jesus would've come back three days later for ham.
Jesus: "Yea, I have returned. Rejoice and bewhat is that, HAM? I'm outta here."
[Jesus leaves, walking back up to Heaven on white poufy cloud stairs while muttering angry sounds about the ridiculousness of serving ham]
To make matters worse, she thought we could use an existing ham we had, and not special giant Easter ham.
"Honey," I said, gently. "This ham is four pounds. We have somewhere between 12 and 47 people coming over, depending who you all invited from your family. We will have enough for everyone to have about one bite unless this is a Hunger Games thing where we place the ham in the middle of a table and everybody fights to get a piece."
"Oh, it's fine," she said, obviously expecting Jesus to make an appearance and magically make the ham serve everyone. "Stop stretching, you're not going to fight my family for meat."
She always takes the fun out of family gatherings.
This, of course, got me to thinking about how to Jesus-up your Easter.
Have the kids look for Easter eggs. After an hour of searching and coming up empty, they'll ask where they all are. Reply, "They're gone, just like our Lord who died for your sins." Stare at them judgingly.
Instead of taking children to see a giant mall Easter bunny, give them the movie The Passion of the Christ.
Instead of ingesting Peeps, burn them because PEEPS ARE THE DEVIL.