We all know that the holidays are a time for enjoying friends and family – a time to focus on what’s really important in life. Sounds wonderful, right? For many of us, though, it’s hard not to get stressed out.
I use these 10 tips to minimize stress during the holidays. It all boils down to keeping it simple, having a plan and sticking with what you know works for you.
- Don’t drive yourself nuts making a bunch of appetizers. Make one or two appetizers. Supplement with cheese, cured meats, olives, etc. from the grocery store.
- Serve one signature cocktail that can be made in advance or that guests can easily make themselves.
- Say Yes when someone offers to bring something. If Aunt Mary likes to bake, let her bring the apple or pumpkin pie.
- Plan your menu in advance. This will minimize stress and you’ll be less apt to run to the store for last minute items that you might have forgotten.
- Before your dinner or party, do as much food prep as you can the night before. For example, I cut and measure onions and celery and put in plastic bags so all I have to do is saute them the next day for the stuffing.
- Set the table or the cocktail area the night before.
- Make extra ice in advance. Running out of ice is no fun.
- If you aren’t a confident cook, don’t try a new recipe. Stick with what you know works. Why give yourself extra pressure?
- Don’t go crazy cleaning. Put away clutter. Clean the bathroom sink, mirror and toilet. Light candles to set the mood.
- Relax! No one likes a stressed out hostess. It’s okay if things don’t go perfectly. Some of our best holiday stories – like the Thanksgiving Mark’s dad forgot to turn on the oven – are a result of things not going smoothly.
What are your tips for keeping the holidays fun and stress free?