Holidays should be a time of joy accompanied by family and friends. There is really no need to stress over the details. It’s a time to be thankful and celebrate peace. We can eliminate most of the busyness of the holidays by simply planning ahead, and not taking on too many major projects. Here are a few tips to help in your holiday planning.
Think Ahead: Start by planning out the menu your family prefers for the holiday. Choose only one item for the feast that will take up a good portion of your time on that day. The remainder of the menu items can be prepared a day or two in advance or choose items that are easy to put together that morning. If you have volunteers, take advantage of the opportunity to delegate responsibilities to other family members. You’ll also want to keep in mind a head count so you can prepare accordingly.
Decorating: Beautiful decor is a reflection of natural elements mixed with a touch of the unexpected. Keep things simple. Find one item to use as inspiration. Shop from within your home and expand upon the colors, texture, and theme of the inspiration item.
Entertaining: You can make your guests feel extra special with just a few warm tokens of love. Using something as simple and easy as a name card at the table will show your guests that they were thought of beforehand and thoughtfully considered when it came to preparations. Other small things such as placing a candle, hand lotion and mints in the restroom will help the guests to feel at home.
Baking: Cakes, cornbread for dressing, cookies, and pies can all be baked and made one to two days before the feast. Gather all recipes 3-4 weeks ahead of time and purchase all ingredients 2 weeks prior. Schedule a baking day and get the majority of your baking out of the way.
Chop, Dice, Measure, and Store: Vegetables and fruits can be cut the day before. This frees up so much time and will prevent having to do so much cleaning the day of your dinner party. Some tips I’ve learned over the years are to brush fruits with a bit of lemon juice and soak potatoes in water to prevent oxidation. Chop up onions, garlic, bell peppers, celery and other seasonings and freeze or refrigerate for use later. If a recipe calls for a specific list of seasonings, measure it all and store it together in a plastic baggy or a food container then label it. This will save you hours of prep time on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day.
Don’t get so caught up in the details that you forget the bigger picture. Remember what the holiday is really all about and reflect on that. Spending time with loved ones and catching up on life’s recent events is much more memorable than the holiday turkey that was or wasn’t a hit.
Lord, I’m ready to create a “to do” list of joy and peace. I lift up my needs to You and trust in You. You calm my fears. You guide my steps. You lead me to Your presence. I am rejoicing in You! Amen.
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