Planning for the holidays

Love the holidays. The smells and sounds. They bring back the magic of childhood. But it can also be a time of stress.

One of the things I have done over the past few years that has been a huge help is have a kitchen binder. My binder is like the file cabinet in my kitchen. I imagine one day I’ll move into being hip and do this on the computer but for now my three ring notebook works for me.

In my binder I have sections for recipes, menu planning , take out menus, and at one time I had a section for coupons, pantry and freezer inventory. The meal planning sections are great. I always marked the planners on the days I knew I had a busy day so I knew the meals for that day were fast and easy to cook. This is great when I need to sit down and plan out a menu even now. I can flip through when I have what I call a cooking block, to get ideas.

This menu planning idea came to really help me when one year I wrote down what I was going to cook for Thanksgiving. I wrote out the menu and where the recipes were. I then wrote out a shopping list for the menu and then, took it a step further and wrote out when I needed to do what. I don’t always cook the same Thanksgiving meal so I use this planning for each of the holiday menus I’ve done. It works out great.

I know this sounds overly simple but it really is a huge help if you’ve got other things going on. Also having this sort of organization is helpful in a way I only discovered last Christmas, when I had an accident in the kitchen on Christmas Eve and it prevented me from really being much help that night or even the next day. My family was able to pick up right where I left off. It was great.

Here’s a few more of my keep your sanity this holiday season tips:

1. Ask for help.
This can be hard to do sometimes but sharing in making the holiday meal can be a great way to bond. I can’t imagine Thanksgiving without my youngest daughter making her cranberry relish.

2. Keep it simple.
Don’t get caught up in crazy expectations or fantasy holiday ideals. We’ve all done it to some degree.

3. It’s ok to say “No”.
It’s ok to not do everything or accept every invitation. Do what makes you comfortable.

4. Take time out for you.
Get a massage, workout, go look at holiday lights , have a date night with your spouse, whatever it is you need to do to recharge yourself do it.

5. Give to charity.
When we give, we also receive. If your able to donate time or money to a local charity I know you will find you will get so much more out of it than you ever thought.

So what are some of your holiday stresses and how do you handle them? I hope something I posted today can help you enjoy your holidays a little more this year. I am off to go look through my Thanksgiving menus and figure out which one I want to cook this year. If your interested here’s what we did last year.

Till next time!



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