The holidays are upon us. In part, I’m disgusted. The big chain grocery store has put up Christmas decor before Thanksgiving. There’s no need to rush unless of course we’re pushing for record retail sales. For some the holidays bring a certain measure of stress – a certain measure of how can I possibly get everything done and make this seem effortless like it was in my youth. First tip, this is not our youth.
So, here are ten things that might make it go a bit smoother:
1. Eat healthy first thing each morning. If you start your day with something very healthy like a green smoothie, you’re much more likely to eat healthy the rest of the day. I know this is true. And it will help us to avoid the addition of 5 – 7 lbs that are supposed to be the norm during this time of year.
2. If you’re having a party or other event, use evite. I just used this online service for the baby shower and was pleased with the range of invitation design choices and the ease of the reservation system. No mailing. No fuss. Green. Complete understanding about who would be here and who wouldn’t.
3. Make it a date. If you’d like to do some baking, then invite a friend or two to join you. Pick your recipes ahead of time. Split up the grocery lists. It cuts down on the cost, provides help and you can get in a good visit while you’re at it.
4. Have a signature appetizer that is really easy. Mine is blue cheese and figs melted inside a baguette that’s been swiped with olive oil. (I add prosciutto for the meat eaters) It’s always a hit, terribly easy and I can conjure it up in no time to go to a party. Find one you like and get comfortable with it.
5. If you’re planning for a party or to do the big dinner, do some mind mapping. It’s a fun and easy way to make sure you have your bases covered. I planned our entire chili cookoff this way with great success but if the mapping is too random for you, then Word has a wonderful outline feature that allows you to brainstorm as freely.
6. Fill a large bowl with seasonal fruit and veggies for a handsome centerpiece. This is really easy and nothing goes to waste. Color coordinate with your meal or you holiday or some other theme.
7. Do a read around. This is especially effective if you have kids at your meal but could be equally fun amongst adults. Pull out a seasonal kids book or a poetry selection and ask everyone to read a page and pass it around the table.
8. Hand out the tasks. Ask your brother to open the wine. Let your nieces and nephews set the table. Offer to take on tasks if you’re eating in the homes of others.
9. Ask your family what they want. Certainly it loses an element of surprise but if you are like me, it totally eliminates the stress of having to decide what to buy and if you don’t live close enough to know what they need, it’s very helpful.
10. Save the holiday cards and especially the ones with photos. Put them in a basket near your dinner table and each evening find one person or family in there that you can pray for. It keeps the spirit going all year long.