Stress-Reducing Holiday Tips; A Recipe for Planning Success
Organize, Plan and Conquer.
Creating a plan on paper will help reduce the stress involved in planning any affair. With these holiday tips, you'll be well on your way to enjoying time with your family stress-free. Before doing anything else, put all thoughts on paper and meticulously creating the necessary checklists. Just as you would when planning a wedding, begin as early as possible in order to account for everything you'll need to accomplish. By the time the big day rolls around you will know that all the tasks and potential problems have been thought through.
Start in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving by creating a detailed ‘to-do’ list to include menu planning. Additional lists include shopping lists, seating and serving arrangements, plans for décor. Also, nail down your event timeline and a back-up or recovery plan for any cooking mishaps and other potential predicaments. And take note, plan to try on your outfit long before Thanksgiving Day so you don’t feel like the stuffing in the bird or experiment with a new recipe well in advance, so the turkey won’t be dryer than the chardonnay. Anything that will prevent needless stress in the 11th hour should be tackled way in advance.
Employ others, so you can enjoy yourself.
Since the point is to enjoy your loved ones, think of ways to reduce your personal stress and evaluate the elements that take up most your time. High on the list of my holiday tips might be ordering a catered meal or asking others to each bring a dish. Equally stressful might be serving the meal, mixing the drinks or cleaning up afterwards. If you like the idea of being able to interact as the hostess with the most-est, but the work seems more daunting than enjoyable; consider just passing hors d'oeuvres or glasses of wine, while hired help does the bulk of the chores.
Lastly, employing a florist to decorate the table or other areas of your home may not save money, but it may certainly save your sanity. Perishable products like fruits and flowers are often hard to do in advance and many aspects of decorating can be time-consuming. If you do decide to do it yourself, it is essential to start well in advance and keep it simple.
Think strategically about the guest list and the seating arrangements.
While I do advocate making sure that your guests are comfortable, I don’t recommend spending all your time worrying about potential conflict between certain guests. Assigning seats may help but think about the comfort level of your guests as you do so, so that older guests have adequate space to move around or having children seated within easy access of a restroom, so as not to disturb others when exiting the table. You may want to consider seating kids close by to their parents, for any needed attention or alternatively in another room altogether, to keep down the noise level. If your preference is a more casual affair, opt out of assigned seating, but still be mindful of guest needs. If your space is small, you might need to rearrange the furniture to make the most of the space you have to work with.
Make sure there is something for everyone.
It is perfectly okay and rather thoughtful to ask your guests about their diet regimens. Find out in advance if they have any dietary restrictions, especially when serving a plated meal, so you can plan the menu accordingly. If you aren’t sure what those that have a restriction are able to eat, politely ask them what they are accustomed to eating is a considerate way to handle the situation. If you prefer not to have to ask, plan a buffet meal that consists of items that can also accommodate Vegetarians, Vegans, Gluten-free, or other Allergy-sensitive guests. When it comes to ensuring that all your guests have a good time, it might be helpful to create a timeline for the flow of the evening, just as you would for a wedding. Consider an ice breaker activity to include guests that do not know anyone, as well as activities for teens or kids such as games or a movie set up in a nearby room.
Holiday entertaining may not be easy, but it can be rewarding. Consider my holiday tips when planning your gathering this year. Don't underestimate the planning required for a holiday celebration, take a wedding planner’s approach and give it the same attention to detail that you would give to a planning a wedding. A well thought out and structured plan, similar to that of a large-scaled event will ensure a successful and less stressful event for its host. By incorporating these helpful stress-reducing holiday tips, you’ll be much more relaxed and in honor of Thanksgiving. You will likely be truly thankful you did!