If you are reading this, then you just survived the first of the holidays this season … Thanksgiving! Now that it is over and Chanukah is in full gear, you can get ready for the end of the year. So, now comes the December onslaught of Festivities, Food, Family, and Friends! Oh and we still need to maintain our regular scheduled activities of work and life as well … uh oh!
Here are some tactics to help get you not only through it, but to actually enjoy it:
• Make a list for everything you need to do between now and New Year’s Eve … gift purchasing, baking, wrapping, card addressing, and so on.
• If you are hosting a party or special event … PLAN, PLAN, PLAN! You know what events typically happen and what is generally needed this time of year; procrastination will do you no good. You can easily pull off a fabulous party or two if you write down everything you need to do in steps and then decide on which day you will do each step. It makes the preparation stress-free and, dare I say, enjoyable, which is the point of the holidays: spending time with friends and family and enjoying their company.
Plan the entire menu to start, next create a shopping list of all items needed. If you need to go to several places to acquire all items, break it up to be included in your regular shopping routine over the course of a week.
Next create a list of each action needed, such as “wash lettuce, defrost turkey, bake cookies,” and divide the tasks over a couple of days. Anything you can prepare and freeze in advance should be done. Gather all platters and serving pieces a day or two in advance and put post-it notes as to what will fill the dish — keep the menu in front of you all the time so that you don’t forget to serve something and later find it waiting in the back of the fridge the day after the party.
• If you are attending a party — know what hostess gift or exchange gift you plan to bring, wrap it, and have it ready well before the event. Keep all the gifts labeled with tags or stickers and place either in a basket or around your holiday decorations.
• Figure out the clothes you plan to wear, and make sure they are in good repair and cleaned at least a week before so that you don’t stress out over not having something ready to go. Eliminate the need to run around last-minute to either clean the item or purchase something.
• Remember the “reason for the season,” and don’t buy into the “hustle and bustle” of the holidays — many people actually find this time to be slower, allowing time to spend relaxing with loved ones — which is the point. You can have fun with projects with the kids, make cute things for the family, do all those things you haven’t been able to get to all year.
One final tip: Don’t start anything major in December that you don’t have to. Say “no” to extra commitments that you cannot fulfill to the best of your ability. You know what your limit is, so honor that.