For many of us, the week before Christmas is a time to place other concerns on the back burner and to shift focus to the people in our lives who really matter. Celebrating the holidays looks different for everyone, and for one Midwestern family, Christmas gatherings are deliciously and marvelously collated.
On Dec. 12, writer Khalid El Khatib shared a tweet that has garnered a ton of attention — and envy. In it, he shares an email his mother sent him regarding his upcoming visit to the family home in Dubuque, Iowa for Christmas week, and boy, oh, boy is it organized.
“My mom’s annual ‘home for the holidays’ email to me and my siblings just dropped,” reads Khalid’s tweet, which includes a screenshot of his mother Janet’s email. “An incredibly thorough, detail-rich look ahead at how it’s possible for me to gain 15 lbs in one week.”
Looking at the email, you see what Khalid means: Each day’s food is meticulously planned and hunger-inducing, from arrival snack plans of “puffed popcorn, Chex mix, and various candies available for grazing throughout the day” to Ina Garten’s mac and cheese, and Culver’s ice cream to manicures and lunch at a winery followed by a taco night with “chicken and beef hard and soft shell with taco dip, quac, chips and salsa and margaritas.”
Not everything on this itinerary is set in stone, though. Janet asks in her email her family’s preferences for several parts of the week’s festivities, from the restaurants they should visit during their day trip to Galena (which she calls “the Hallmark of the Midwest”) to whether or not anyone wants to do a post-meal bourbon tasting.
At the end of the email, which Khalid shared in a subsequent tweet, she asks which flavor cheesecake Janet’s longtime companion Bill should bake on Christmas Day: Snickers, raspberry or blueberry?
“For those you asking, here is the rest of the absolutely unhinged Christmas Day menu (a day in which I always slip into a food coma and then my mom yells at me for falling asleep and ‘wasting Christmas’),” Khalid tweeted.
With a full Christmas breakfast complete with mimosas and snacks served afterwards including (but not limited to) “taco dip,” “Smokies wrapped in bacon,”“Smokies wrapped in crescent rolls,” “Spinach Artichoke Dip” and a butter board, one probably can understand why Khalid — or anyone really — would slip into a food coma.
It’s no wonder this deeply delectable-sounding and militarily precise email has struck a chord with folks feeling the holiday spirit. Khalid’s post quickly went viral, with hundreds of thousands of likes and hordes of people either begging for an invite or just inviting themselves over to the El Khatib household for the holidays.
“Please tell her she is the embodiment of my husband’s goals in life,” tweeted one person in response.
“Holiday mom goals,” replied another.
“Making this detailed schedule for all my kids 20 years from now is truly all I have ever wanted in life,” Chrissy Teigen said in a retweet. “This is very much exactly exactly it.”
“You’re welcome to come to Iowa to get some tips for 20 years from now — but know she will put you to work assembling candy and cookie trays (and you aren’t allowed to eat from them in the process),” Khalid replied to Teigen, showing off a truly impressive spread of candies and cookies and treats.
Other folks just decided that the El Khatib household would be their new Christmas destination, invite or not.
“I just want to marry into the family and will travel with my own whole set of cutlery and a plate too,” wrote another Twitter user. “This mother is a national treasure. Feed me. I am ready and willing.”
So many people asked to come over for dinner or to attend the manicure day that Khalid later tweeted the only two ways one can score an invite to what is now the hottest event in the Midwest.
“My mom’s Christmas email made it around the world faster than Santa, and now everyone wants to come over,” tweeted Khalid. “There are two ways in: if you’re Ina Garten or by marrying me (my mom and both my sisters are taken).”
Since it’s always been a part of who they are, the El Khatibs are surprised that their proclivity for planning has gone so viral.
“The response was so overwhelmingly positive and it was really heartening, especially in a time when the news is mostly negative,” Khalid tells TODAY.com, adding that he posted the itinerary right before getting on a plane, and when he landed, he had thousands of notifications on his phone.