After thinking I was off the hook, cooking-wise, because pa-in-law had announced he was doing all the Christmas meals himself, he called up about an hour ago and said he wasn't up to it after all, and could I "help" (meaning Do It All). So I immediately sat down here and started reading all those threads I'd been ignoring or skimming, like How To Cook A Standing Rib Roast etc.
And all I have to say now is: what a swell, smart bunch of hot-cookin' sweethearts you guys are! Sure, I could've just hauled down a few dozen cookbooks, and I will do that too, but following a thread of dialogue adds the very important dimension of feedback, which does not exist in cookbooks (except for scribbled, "This was really good!" in the occasional margin).
So, from someone who thought his holiday chores would begin and end with a little baking and then found out they emphatically wouldn't, thanks for helping to save my bacon!