Hey hostess! Want to actually enjoy your Thanksgiving/Christmas gathering this year? Early preparation is the key! Sounds simple, but so few actually give themselves this break. I host lots of gatherings at my home. Here are a few tips I use to pull it together without pulling out my hair.
Lists: Here are the three lists you need: 1) Your menu 2) Your "to do" list, and 3) Your grocery list.
Start early: Hit one of your "to do" items every day about a week before. Bread, pie crusts, fudge and divinity (cut your candy before freezing) all freeze very well! Make them super early. Don't forget to take your turkey out a few days earlier than you think you should. It can sit fully defrosted in the fridge for several days and be quite happy. Chop all the onions, garlic and peppers about a week before and freeze them in plastic bags. You will glad for prepped veggies when it is time to make your dish. Sweet potato casserole can sit in the fridge overnight and be popped in the oven the next day. Cornbread dressing can also be made ahead of time. I set my table days before. Go shopping for your canned/frozen items early. Stock up for Christmas cooking items during your Thanksgiving shopping. The grocery stores can be crazy. You will have to go a few days before to get your fresh items. Try going to the store super early in the morning. It is a sanity saver during the holidays. I don't recommend going late at night. Although, it is quite interesting.
Share the love: Have attendees bring their favorite dishes. Even attendees who don't cook can bring chairs, pickles, olives, chips, ice, and beverages. People like to help. Let them!
Prepare yourself: Try and put your feet up for about 10 minutes about an hour before the guests arrive. You will have to force yourself. Keep a paper and pen nearby so that you can jot all of the things down that pop into your mind while you are resting. It will help you not get up to quickly do what you thought of. Wear comfortable shoes prior to your guests arrival. You can always slip into your cute shoes right as the doorbell rings. Sit down and do any tasks when you have the opportunity. Ask yourself, "Can I do this sitting down?" It will save your feet! Go to bed early the day before. Do your hair and makeup the next morning. Don't wait until right before your guests arrive to get pretty. Invariably, you will get busy and then have to rush off and abandon your guests as you slap yourself together.
Enjoy the holidays with your friends and family this year with a little early preparation. It is a great gift you can give to yourself!