Growing up, I loved the holidays. Thanksgiving was exciting and Christmas, well…Christmas was in a wonderful world of it’s own. It reigned in my heart as the best holiday of them all. In the middle of all the holiday chaos, was my mom. She made sure the house was clean, rooms were decorated, treats were made and gifts were bought. Since she is the expert (in my heart, at least) I am turning the blog over to her today. Take it away, mom!
10 Things to do before the holidays
1. Make Chex Mix: this is always the beginning of the holidays for my family. In fact, I must fend them off as long as I can or I’ll be making it in June. Now that I live in TX the date of my first batch is subject to the first day the windows are open. No point in heating up the oven for an hour or more while the air conditioning is on. I will divide the cereal and pretzels into premeasured Ziploc bags so the prep is easy. When it’s done, I put it back in the Ziploc to store.
2. Contemplate: think about what is most important to you about the holidays. It might be spiritual significance, relationships, making memories, extended family, holiday traditions, or relaxation. What do you and your family most anticipate? Those things should be your priority-make time for them. Realize that you cannot do EVERYTHING, so discuss that reality with your family and pick the best over the good. Remember, the important things may change from year to year.
3. Strategize: Take your list in the order of importance and break it down into manageable tasks. For example, write down what you are going to serve or bring to holiday meals and make a grocery list and a timeline. If you are hosting, invite early because calendars fill up quickly during the season. Plan a timeline for your preparations. Depending on the size of your event, you might have a schedule for a few hours prior or your schedule might cover a week.
4. Schedule: put the date of events on the calendar immediately when you accept an invitation or settle on a date. Don’t forget to schedule necessary chores, such as regular cleaning, appointments, and meals. Also, schedule special tasks for the holidays such as decorating, baking and shopping. If you utilize the calendar it may turn out to be your best friend.
5. Stockpile: Do everything you can ahead of time. Plan your meals and holiday baking for the family and put as much as you can in the freezer. Some cookies may be frozen for weeks with no loss of quality. Other cookies do better freezing the dough and then defrosting overnight before cooking. This is also true for pies but, at the least, you can make the crust and freeze it. There are so many casseroles and soups that will freeze well. Put your preparation on the calendar.
6. Consider: Why not use holiday decor that can transition from autumn to winter with a few tweaks. Lanterns, string lights, grapevine wreaths, twigs, birch logs, baskets-all of these are able to go from September through January with a few adjustments.
7. Clean: Before you decorate, do a rigorous cleaning. Those decorations may be up for 3 months and getting underneath and around them can be problematic. So, make sure the locations you typically decorate are clean before you start. Go put it on your calendar.
8. Shop: Everyone has a favorite way to shop for gifts. Some look forward to the huge sales (like Black Friday-yikes!) and wouldn’t dream of missing them. Others won’t buy anything if it is not online. Others pick up great buys during the year and store them somewhere. (Write down where, you’ll thank me later.) Shop the way you like, but try to avoid the last minute crush that tends to create a lot of stress.
9. Stash: Wrap gifts as you accumulate them. This means you will need to have wrapping paper. (Put it on your calendar. Or know where you saved the wrap you snagged at the after Christmas sales.) The advantages are: you will not be rushed, little prying eyes will be unable to see inside, and you won’t be up all night Christmas Eve. Use a Sharpie to write the name of the recipient on the tape at the back of the wrapped gift. All you have to do later is add the ribbon and the tag.
10. Savor: Enjoy the season. Take time to rejoice and be thankful. Keep an open jar next to a notepad and pen and have the family write things for which they are thankful or joyful. Spend some time reading them together. Think of someone who may be alone during the season and remember them with a heartfelt note, plate of cookies or an invitation. Purposefully schedule time to be with your spouse and children. (“Schedule” means: put it on the calendar.)
In the midst of this crazy, wonderful season, make sure you take time to do the last one. Savor each moment, it goes by so fast!
What would you add to this list?
What is something from this list that you need to make sure to do?