Ever since Martha Stewart burst onto the scene, the holiday season seems to have taken a turn for the crazy.  What used to feel like a standard family gathering can now feel like a competition for the most involved centerpiece or best twist on traditional turkey recipe.  And with all this increased effort to create the "perfect" holiday comes increase stress.  So, I am here with planning tips to help you minimize your holiday stress and (hopefully) maximize your enjoyment with your family.

  1. Make A To-Do List  The more detailed the list, the better.  Start with what needs to be done...plan the menu, shop for groceries, make centerpieces, get dishes out of storage, etc.  From there, break down to-do's into steps to get them done.  For instance, once you've planned your menu, figure out what items you need to make what you will serve.  
  2. Create A Flow Chart  Not only is it important to know what needs to be done, but it helps to know when it should be done.  It is not necessary to give everything #1 priority.  Prior to the holiday celebration, figure out what the order of importance for you to-do is.  Create a separate flow chart for the day of the celebration to figure out when things need to go in the oven, when the table needs to be set and when it is time to drink that celebratory glass of champagne (maybe that should be first.)
  3. Ask for Help  This step is hard for many of us who love to plan and host holiday gatherings.  We stress ourselves out because we love to prove we can get it all done.  But take it from me, after planning and serving almost Thanksgiving dinner for almost 30 people while 6 weeks pregnant last year, when you ask for help it is WAY more enjoyable.  Farm out the cooking duties or at least the hors d'ouevres, beverages, etc.  Assign tasks to your immediate family such as setting the table, clearing the table and doing dishes.  
  4. Relax & Enjoy  Sometimes the less perfect, the more enjoyable.  Be sure to spend time with your friends and family rather than creating the perfect radish rose by yourself in the kitchen.
Creating the perfect holiday for your family may not mean that everything needs to be perfect.  By taking time to plan what needs to be done ahead of time you can achieve your best possible holiday with the least stress possible.


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