It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
It’s not like any of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes are very complicated, it’s the sheer quantity that make it such an ordeal. When the kids were little, we assigned each of them an easy dish that Steve and I helped prepare. We each took 2 of them and figured out how to coordinate mixing, and cooking times. It sounds like some sort of child labor abuse, but they actually enjoyed it. They always made sure we knew which dish they had prepared when we sat down, as if we had mysteriously forgotten, and waited somewhat patiently for us to comment on how wonderful it was.
Now they choose which dish they want to make and we coordinate it all so everything is ready on time. A few years ago I wrote it all out on my ipad, including my shopping list and the schedule for when to prep and put each dish in the oven. The next year it dawned on me that I could just use the previous year’s list and tweak it as needed based on how many we were hosting and menu changes. Apparently I was too tired to realize that the first year.
7 Sanity Savers for the Holidays + 1 or 2 extras
1. Smoking turkeys saves room in the oven and they taste amazing too.
2. Mixing and freezing dishes ahead – like dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole and squash pie ingredients – leaves more time and energy to enjoy the company.
3. Using a crock pot and roaster oven frees up space in the oven.
4. Accepting the offer of local guests to bring their favorite Thanksgiving dish insures that even if it isn’t their usual menu, they have at least one familiar dish to enjoy.
5. Making a list of which days to complete specific tasks, like cooking potatoes or chopping onions and celery, reduces exhaustion when the big day arrives.
6. Picking up some festive paper goods is actually okay for some occasions.
7. Searching the Internet provides great inspiration for recipes and decorations, but don’t make it the standard for measuring a successful Thanksgiving. It’s an idea list, not a master.
… and a bonus…
8. Allotting a specific amount of time (1 hour, or 9 pm or whatever works for you) to work through the to do list and then calling it done can be very freeing. It helps us prioritize, de-stress and have energy left to enjoy the true purpose of the day.
9. Spending 30 minutes to an hour de-stressing (reading, soaking in the tub…) after #8 is a great way to slow down and savor the moments ahead.
So what tips and secrets do you have for de-stressing these days of celebration?