I don't know about you, but I feel like am totally behind the eight ball with Thanksgiving and Christmas. Perhaps it's the fact my family is doing Thanks-mas this year…You know Thanksgiving and Christmas all in the same day. The main reason is because we can't all be together this year for both holidays so we are combining the two. In August it seemed like a good idea, but today my family is having a bit of a panic attack trying to get everything done.
So how do you plan for the holiday season without losing your mind (or in my case hair)? Over the years I've collected a few do's and don'ts when it comes to getting ready for the holiday season and I thought I would share them with you. I like to call these my Rabido's and Rabidon'ts…It might be a corny play on my name, but it works!
Rabido - Take a deep breath, get a pen and paper or, if you're tech savvy, get out your tablet. No matter what, start a list. I always do when I'm planning a party or prepping for a holiday. It helps me think clearly and stay organized.
Rabido - When creating your list write out what you want your menu to be. This will help you stay focused so you don't end up with too many carbs and not enough proteins. Could you imagine forgetting about the turkey? Good Lord that would be a smack down if I ever saw one!
Rabido - Use your list to "shop at home". I always do this…I first shop my cabinets to see what food items I have and what I need to get. Living in a New York apartment doesn't afford me a lot of space so I don't have room to over purchase ingredients. I then write down what I need (or don't need). This saves on time in the grocery store and most of all it saves on money! I then shop for platters, bowls, glassware, napkins etc.
Rabidon't - Do not purchase new glassware, plates, silverware or other table top items! Mix and match what you have. It will make your table eclectic, save you time and again save you money!
Rabido - Use what you have at home. Anytime I am looking to decorate my tabletop I look around and use what I have at home. I work to use items such as vases, candles, etc that can be reused from holiday to holiday. For example, do you have burgundy candles from last Christmas? Use those for Thanksgiving and then keep them out for Christmas this year. Or do you have glass vases you can fill with cranberries and acorns for Thanksgiving and then fill them with ornaments and peppermints for Christmas? Reusing what you have saves you time and money.
Rabidon't - If you're in a time crunch and you are already on the cusp of panic mode, when creating your list and menu don't try new décor ideas or recipes. The last thing you want is a décor idea that takes too long (and flops) or a recipe that doesn't come out right. If you're inclined to try something new do it weeks before your party. This way you can work out the kinks…
Rabido - Get organized! Lay out all your platters, bowls, and dishes and begin labeling them with sticky notes. Turkey for the platter, mashed potatoes for this bowl and green bean casserole for that baking dish. This way you can see what you have and what you might need to borrow or purchase. Trust me…it sounds crazy, but you will be relieved at the end.
Rabido - Don't be afraid to delegate. So often we want to come out like the hero of our own dinner party only to find we are just barely staying above water. Asking your guests to help out in some way shape or form will greatly reduce stress, time and money. But remember, when you delegate be specific and don't be afraid to ask someone to bring the wine, pie, mashed potatoes or whatever. Chances are your guests are going to want to bring something so why not assign what they should bring. This keeps things organized and it prevents too many bowls of mashed potatoes!
Rabidon't - By all means if something goes wrong in the kitchen or if someone spills wine on the couch take a deep breath and let it go. Often I find myself ready to explode, but when I take a deep breath, laugh and stay relaxed I find my guests do too and they enjoy the party that much more.
Rabido - Clean up as you go. Sounds simple, but I always clean as I go when I cook. This way when it comes time to sit for dinner I know I don't have a mess to clean up after. Again, this saves time…and we all know time with guests is the most important thing.
Rabidon't - don't go crazy with cleaning your home before guests arrive. Give it a quick dust, vacuum and wipe down the powder room. You'll end up doing a deep clean after guests leave anyway so why go nuts before they arrive?
And my final Rabido - be a guest at your own party. Relax, smile and enjoy!
I hope you find these holiday prep tips helpful and until next time - Happy Holidays!