GETTING READY FOR DECEMBER HOLIDAYS

If any time of the year needs planning ahead, this is it. Here are some basic suggestions to keep you from driving yourself (and everyone else) crazy. I hope you’ll find at least one or two tips that will help you during this hectic season.

HOLIDAY GREETINGS:

There are greeting cards to send out. You have that all organized, right? Every year you have a printout of people’s names and addresses of cards sent. Maybe if you send out a newsletter, you even have a code on the list to indicate which people received it. And you mark who sent you cards last year before putting them away or discarding them. If you were wise you bought cards on sale after Christmas to send this year, and you know where they are. If you don’t enjoy doing the cards, just plan to do a few a day until they’re finished. Take a break from something else and address and sign some, then go back to whatever it was. And if you don’t enjoy standing in line at the post office, you can buy stamps on-line, as well as order packaging materials. There’s even a calendar to show you when to order. You can print out a shipping label and order a pick-up of your parcels. Once you set up an account, the following years should be a snap to do any of this:

https://www.usps.com/

DECORATING

Most of us have lots of stuff to put up or out or on a tree, something for the front door, yard, roofline and so forth. I hope you have everything organized in boxes from years past. If not, make a vow to do that when you put everything away this year. My only real advice here is not to over-decorate.

FOOD

See tips for Thanksgiving prep:

http://www.janchristensen.com/lets-talk-turkey/

This is the time of year I love to try out new recipes. Only on the family though. Anything I take for a potluck or other meal, I’ve tried at least twice in the privacy of my own home. You know why.

ENTERTAINING      

Ask for help. Have everyone bring something to eat or drink because you’ve been frantically cleaning house, decorating, shopping for supplies, and making a few dishes yourself. Right?

GIVING GIFTS

Lots of people recommend buying them as the year goes by. Great advice. Be sure you have a designated spot to put them, and make sure you label them somehow (sticky notes are good). Also be sure you keep a list in your purse or on your smart phone of what you’ve bought and for whom. If you haven’t done all this, and you love to shop, have fun. If you haven’t done this because you don’t like to shop, I recommend you do it on-line. You can even have the items gift-wrapped and sent to out-of-town people. You can also buy stuff you need for entertaining on-line. Clothes to wear. The possibilities are endless!

What great tips do you have for getting through the holidays? Let’s have them in the comments. Remember to take care of yourself, get plenty of rest. Now is not the time to start a new project or take on anything extra. Treat yourself as well as you’d treat a beloved friend. You deserve it.

LET’S TALK TURKEY

This is the time of year to make master lists and schedules and do some major planning. Today let’s talk about Thanksgiving.

With this major holiday coming up, wouldn’t it be great to have a shopping list you’ve refined over the years so you have everything on hand if you’re making the big meal, or even a dish or two to take to someone else’s celebration? If you don’t have one yet, make one. I like to do this on the computer so I can make changes when needed and print it out again so it looks neater. You can also rearrange the items by where they are located in the stores more easily using your computer. And if you have a smart phone, you can do the list on there and not forget and leave it at home.

Of course, all your decorations, special place settings and so on are in one box. Right? If not, this year buy a special box just for Thanksgiving.

  • Make a list of what you’re going to serve for Thanksgiving dinner if you’re preparing it.
  • Make as much ahead as you can and freeze it.
  • Set the table the night before.
  • If you can afford it, have a cleaner come in a few days in advance.
  • Buy prepared veggies and other food from the grocery store. The bakeries make really wonderful breads and desserts nowadays. Look around and see what you can use to fill up the table with no-to-little work.
  • Use other devices besides your oven to keep things hot if you run out of room. Use the crockpot, thermos containers, or even buy one of those new buffet warmers or smaller triple crockpots. Anything cooked ahead can of course be warmed up in the microwave.
  • Be sure to include some cold dishes that just have to be placed on the table. For example, Waldorf salad, a layered salad, a macaroni salad or coleslaw.

Now, get a good night’s rest, relax, and enjoy the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!