In an ideal world, the holiday season would be a joyous time for us to spend relaxing, reminiscing and celebrating with friends and family. But in reality, you’ll have to be organized if you want your holidays to be stress-free. In this two-part post, I’ll share some tips to help you get through your holiday vacation or stay-cation, with lots more smiles and far less stress.
With less than two weeks left until we ring in the New Year, you may think it’s too late to plan, but you’re wrong! If you’re entertaining at home, a little creative scheduling will go a long way to preserve your holiday cheer right up until your company arrives. Try these tips to get ahead of the crunch:
1. Drop the vacuum and pick up the phone. When company is coming, you want your house to look its best, but if you don’t have time to clean, running around shoving things into closets or under beds will not relax you, it will just breed anxiety. This year, set an appointment for a reputable cleaning service to come and thoroughly clean your house from floor to ceiling. Let them scour the baths, Swiffer the bookshelves, or polish the stemware, while you focus on crossing other items off your To Do list. Your guests will be impressed and you’ll have saved a lot of time and aggravation.
2. Forget snowballs… make dough balls! If you think serving your guests store-bought cookies is akin to putting coal in their Christmas stocking, then you’ve probably set aside an entire day to bake your signature treats. Make sure you don’t run out of time by preparing your dough the week before and stashing it in the freezer. Having frozen dough on hand means you’re minutes away from warm, fresh-baked goodness, and you’ll have one less mess to clean up before your guests arrive. This works all year long, not just during the holidays.
3. Call in reinforcements. Ask a few choice people to arrive a bit earlier to help manage the last minute crazies. A good friend or sibling can field phone calls and keep the kids occupied while you put the finishing touches on your meal or decorations. Just think carefully about who to invite… remember some people can make your life easier, while others will distract you and drain all your energy before the party even starts. Have the right people there early and you can share a glass of wine, wrap up the final details and by the time the rest of your guests arrive, you’ll be a festive and happy hostess.
The most important tip to enjoying your holiday gathering is not to expect perfection. Accidents will happen; gravy spills, uncles get drunk, and children will cry if they don’t like their presents. The way to prepare for these unexpected hiccups is to practice smiling right through them, because at the end of the day, it’s not about being perfect, it’s about being together.