Success! We hosted Christmas Day in our house for the very first time ever .... and have lived to tell the tale! We cooked a turkey for the first time ever and—after a few minor, hardly-worth mentioning-missteps—served it to our family! And they ate it! And, two days later, I've yet to hear that anyone's been taken ill. Yay for us!
I was pretty worried about the turkey. We'd done practice run with the stuffing and cranberry chutney, so I was relatively confident about those recipes. But the turkey—13 lbs of dead bird is intimidating. Luckily, my parents arrived pretty early in the cooking process, so my mom could talk me down off the ledge and explain to me the differences between cooking a turkey in a roaster bag and out. (Trust me, my friends—there's major differences.)
In hindsight, I'm almost glad there was some comical confusion about the turkey. It wasn't easy, but with much help the "goose" was cooked. And the next time I host a major holiday meal (in 5 or 10 years), I'll have the satisfaction of knowing I did it once before. But I'll also invite my mom over early, too. You know, just in case.