The holiday season is in full swing, and you have more things to do than time on your hands. Everything’s due yesterday, and you’re desperately running against the clock. Trying to remember to defrost the turkey on time, buy the ingredients for Nana’s favorite dessert, and get the kids looking human in the process.
For many working parents, the time before Thanksgiving spells the start of the holiday race. As the end of the year looms near, obligations at work continue to pile up, to-do lists seem to never end, and family and office gatherings have us running like chickens with our heads cut off.
But there’s good news. There are actually some pretty simple principles you can use to prep for holidays without losing your mind, your cool, or your edges:
Yes, you may be rolling your eyes at having more stuff to plan. But the better (and earlier) you plan, the more you can minimize the stress factor. So log off Facebook, and log in to your Google calendar instead. Set some dates by which certain tasks should be completed as well as reminders to keep you on track.
Schedule activities and to-do’s ahead of time, and pace yourself in the process. It may mean reserving an hour or so on evenings to plan your holiday menu. Or make frozen dishes a day or so earlier. Whatever you can plan ahead of time to shave as much as possible off your to-do list, go ahead and save yourself the headache.
Speaking of planning ahead, there are plenty of tools and apps out there that can help you prep for the holidays faster and more efficiently. My absolute favorite is Pinterest, which is full of great recipe ideas. And while you’re at it, it can even help you put the best outfit together for that family gathering you’ve been kinda dreading.
Looking for holiday-focused recipes? Try the Butterball Cookbook Plus app, which offers hundreds of delicious turkey recipes, along with a cooking calculator, how-to videos, conversion and substitution charts to make sure your turkey is right on point. Thanksgiving: A Bon Appetit Manual is another app you can use to get 101 turkey recipes, for all levels.
If you happen to be a vegetarian, the Green Kitchen app app is perfect for you!
Oh, and what about all those to-do lists you’ll be carrying around? Download apps like my personal favorite Evernote, or AnyList, which makes it easy to create, manage and even share grocery lists.
Make time for the fun stuff.
This is a time of celebration. Which also means despite everything you may have to do, if fun is not on your to-do list, you’re missing out. In between prepping the menu, making sure the house looks halfway decent, and mentally gearing yourself up for a whole evening with your aunt Martha, take some time to treat yourself.
My favorite pre-holiday treat is a massage at my favorite spa. It’s just a quick and sweet reminder that this is, after all, a time to enjoy. So in the midst of all the planning and hustling and bustling, schedule some time to unwind, enjoy one of your favorite activities, and add some personal fun to your busy calendar.
Done is Better than Perfect.
It can be tempting to over-prepare before the holidays. Just remind yourself that done is better than perfect. Your pumpkin pie may not be exactly like Aunt Martha’s (nobody’s is). You may be running late on the day of, and may have just overcooked the left leg of that poor turkey.
Make peace with the fact that nothing is ever perfect. That you don’t have to run yourself ragged to get everything under control. The beauty of the holidays is in leaving some room for those imperfect moments we can all laugh about in a few years (and that includes the overcooked left leg of the turkey).
How do you prep for the holiday season without losing your mind?
Bio: Solange Lopes is an author, blogger and CPA. She writes about career and lifestyle topics for women at work in her blog The Corporate Sister (www.thecorporatesister.com). She’s also the author of Girl, Take Back Your Career: 7 Steps to Reclaiming Your Work.
Joanne Mahoney says
Looks like you have your priorities in order. Years ago I thought I was going to make the “perfect” holiday for 20 guests. I thought I would be the next “Martha Stewart” (at least for one day). Big mistake. I was a wreck… Even though the day went well for my guests, I was so tired. It was not enjoyable at all.
Trying to achieve unreal expectations is not healthy!!
Good for you. I’m sure your day will be wonderful, and blessed.