We’re entering into the holiday season, a time filled with family and friends and joy . . . and often, for those of use whose schedules are already busy, even more stress than usual. This week we’re going to look at some steps we can take to minimize the stress, and maximize the joy, of the holiday season.
Tip of the Week: Gather your expert consultants when it’s time to prepare a big meal. Assemble and keep handy a list of hotlines or websites where you can find recipes and help with last-minute questions about your holiday preparations. (How long does it take to thaw a 30-pound turkey?) I’ve got you started with the Butterball hotline/website and several others, listed at the end of the show notes.
Tool of the Week: Cozi.com, an app and web-based organizer for busy families. Available for iPhone/iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, and Windows tablet. According to their website, if you sign up by December 1, 2014, you’ll get a “Black Friday Goodie Bag” full of savings for your holiday gift list.
Topic of the Week: Get Organized for a Low(er)-Stress Holiday Meal
- Decide now to control the only thing you can control: your own attitude.
- Decide what kind of event you’ll have, and who’ll attend.
- Decide on the menu.
- Plan your grocery list.
- Check your table linens, candles, centerpiece ideas, etc.–do you have everything you need, or will you need to buy or borrow items.
- Consider asking guests to contribute to the meal.
- Decide what time you’ll eat.
- Plan a cooking timeline based on the planned mealtime and post it where you can refer to it on the day.
- Print your recipes and tape them to the cupboard doors, or put them on your tablet.
- Cook some menu items ahead of time.
- Prepare the house.
- Get set up the night before.
- Get an early start the day of.
- Don’t forget to enjoy the day!
What do you think?
Are you planning any big holiday events this year? Do you have any secrets for putting a holiday feast on the table without losing your mind? Share your questions, challenges, and ideas in the comments.
References & Resources:
- “6 Strategies to Take Control of Your Attitude and Stay Positive,” by Joe Wilner.
- “How to Organize Holiday Meal Preparation,” by Andria Scott Hurst at SouthernLiving.com.
- “Easy Organizing: Your Thanksgiving Table Settings,” on GoodHousekeeping.com.
- “Big Meal Doesn’t Have to Equal Big Mess,” by Lea Schneider at WhatsCookingAmerica.com.
- Holiday Menu Planner from OrganizedHome.com.
- “Thanksgiving Calculator: How to Organize and Cook Holiday Dinner for a Crowd Using Spreadsheets,” by Canida at instructables.com
- YummySoup recipe management app (& more).
- Beyond The To-Do List podcast, episode 29 about goal-setting and episode 56 about priorities, both with Crystal Paine, from MoneySavingMom.com.
- Check out Crystal Paine’s book: Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life
- Jawbone JAMBOX Wireless Bluetooth Speaker – Black Diamond – Retail Packaging (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Holiday Hotlines (for those last-minute questions):
- USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline: 800.535.4555
- FDA Center for Food Safety: 888.723.3366
- Butterball Turkey Talk Line: 800.288.8372 or www.butterball.com
- The Reynolds Kitchen Tips Line: 800.745.4000 or www.reynoldskitchens.com
- Fleischmann’s Yeast: 800.777.4959 or www.fleischmanns.com
- Betty Crocker (General Mills): 888.275.2388 or www.bettycrocker.com
- Nestlé Baking: 800.637.8537 or www.verybestbaking.com
- Ocean Spray: 800.662.3263 or www.oceanspray.com
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Candra Creason says
We are a dog family and all family members’ dogs are always welcome at family gatherings. Unfortunately pets sometimes don’t act like we would wish and accidents happen. We refer to last Thanksgiving as “The Great Stuffing Debacle of 2013!” … We had several crockpots of stuffing sitting on a card table and one one dog was chasing another dog and they ran through the room with the card table and got tangled in the cords and down went the crockpots! Needless to say we had no stuffing but we have a great story!
Laura McClellan says
That is a priceless story, Candra. I guess it sort of goes to my last point in the podcast episode: sometimes when things don’t go as planned, the best and longest-lasting memories are made.
Thank you for taking the time to share that story. I’ll be smiling all afternoon, picturing it!
Oops! Meant 2013!