Here we are in week two of November… otherwise known as the month of holiday stress. On the blog this month we are focusing on strategies for breaking down all those tasks we need to tackle to help make the big day also a bit more relaxing.
Week 2 is all about making a strategy and taking care of those tasks that can be done ahead of time. It's still too early for making food, but there's lots of little tasks that can be done now so that during food prep time, we can focus only on the cooking.
Now is the time to make sure you have all those recipes you are wanting to use - you don't want to call Aunt Doris the day before asking for her stuffing recipe… you are asking for stress. If you don't have some good go-to holiday recipes to pull from, there are a lot of great online sources. Take the time this week to troll through those and find the one you think will be just right for your family. Print it out and gather those together so you'll be ready for next week when you can begin some of the cooking.
Need some recipes? I have a pinboard just for holiday meals on Pinterest - it has some of my very favorite recipes that I make every year. You can find those here.
You may want to order a couple items [or event the whole meal] from your local specialty store or grocer. This is a great idea, but go ahead and order now. You never know how many orders they can take, so you hate to wait until the last minute. Make sure you know when and where the pick up will be - and anticipate that if it's the day before Thanksgiving, it's going to be a long line.
I think ordering some of the food is a great way to relieve some of that cooking stress, but I only recommend ordering food if it's a big item [think: turkey] or if you are getting several things. I'm not sure you'll find it worth your time if you are only ordering one small carton of mashed potatoes - waiting in line for an hour on that Wednesday will not feel like you saved yourself any time or stress.
Now, I'm not saying you need to have a fancy spread with centerpieces and candles - that's your call. But, if you are planning on using tablecloths you need to drop those at the dry cleaners… even if they are already clean, did you know you can just have your dry cleaner give them a press for you? [I'll do anything to avoid an ironing board.] It usually just costs a few bucks and saves your the headache.
Also, if you are wanting a centerpiece for your table you either want to make it this week if possible or you are using fresh flowers, make sure to place an order with your local florist. Don't save this for your grocery store run if you can - your cart will already be loaded down with food plus you never know what might be left in those flower bins. Again, avoid the stress when possible.
That's it for week 2. Next week we'll focus on our third week and start talking about what we be ready to start with some of our food prep.