Monday, October 10, 2016
Leading Up to the Holidays
Don't get upset at the title! I know it isn't Christmas yet. I'm just as irritated as you when I walk in the stores and see Christmas trees up and carols playing when it's still 92 degrees outside. I have put out my fall decorations, but it's certainly time for that! My post today isn't so much about decorating though. I love to organize and plan so I just wanted to give you a few tips now to begin prepping for the holiday season so things won't be so stressful over the next couple of months.
1. Plan your dates and times. It never hurts to get things on the calendar. Sit down with the other people in your family or group that help make the plans. Mark the calendar for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other other traditional get togethers. We actually picked our dates a couple of weeks ago.
2. Now that your dates and times are set, start inviting people. I do a mixture of invitations. Some people get phone calls, some get texts or Facebook messages. I printed out some cute invitations for my kids to make out, but we haven't gotten started on those yet. You can always find free printables online if you want a more traditional invitation style. Make sure to let guests know if you'd like them to contribute to a meal or gathering with a food item, gift to swap, or other thing. Getting the word out early about your gathering will give more people an opportunity to give it priority. We don't do our Thanksgiving gathering on Thanksgiving. We found out years ago that doing the Saturday before or after means more extended family and friends can join us. We also work around those who may work on the actual holiday.
3. Plan your own menu and shopping list. I looked at free printables online but ended up making my own printables for Thanksgiving. I included a guest list, menu, and shopping list. While I am asking guests to bring a side, dessert, or 2 liter, I want to have a basic meal plan for the meats and dishes my mom and I will prepare. I make my shopping list really early so I can pick a few non-perishable items up each shopping trip. That saves me from having one huge trip right before the gathering. It also makes the holidays a little easier on the budget!
4. If the gathering is in your home, take a few hours to work in each room leading up to the holidays. Since Thanksgiving is here this year (2nd annual! WOO!), I have already started this process. I've cleaned out cabinets and rearranged some things in my kitchen to make it more efficient. I've also started considering extra table placement based on what worked and didn't work last year. I have an eye on making the day smooth so I can enjoy it myself! While some folks in my family laugh at my early preparations, I know that time will fly! By working now on house preparations, I will be able to focus on cleaning and cooking when time comes for our family meal.
5. Get the kids involved! We just started a fun Thanksgiving Unit Study (can't wait to share the review with you!), and the kids have been helping with some of the details already. We did a purge to get things ready for an upcoming consignment sale. They've also been helping me rearrange things in the house. They will help with decorations and planning as we get closer to Thanksgiving. Apple made Wassail for our meal last year and is planning to do so again. I'm going to be working with Speedy to find some food item he can prepare and contribute as well (even if it's just the relish tray or some cookies!). Getting the whole family involves teaches them about all the work that goes into a big family meal. It also helps solidify those traditions and memories!
Are you a planner like me or does a list like this make you break out in hives? Have you started any preparations for the holiday season?