The holiday season is fast approaching
Monday Nov 19th, 2018
Is it just me, or did October drag on too long while November is passing us by at lightning speed? With these November days dwindling it means the holiday season is almost here, and that means parties, holiday functions, baking, family events, school plays and recitals and the list goes on and on. In order to cope with the seemingly neverending schedule of events that December holds, time management skills are key. Having a well stocked supply of wine also helps. While I'm not a certified expert on time management, I like to think my skills are pretty formidable. Hopefully some of my tips resonate with you and will help make your life a little easier as the calendar becomes more a lot more hectic.
1. Meal Prep
From what I understand, dinner is generally not optional for most people, especially those with children. For me, the month of December is full of holiday lunches and festive dinners, whether they be with colleagues, friends, family or a plethora of other social groups. As such, time for grocery shopping is at a premium and time to cook is virtually non existant. A great way to ensure you family doesn't suffer from malnourishment or start resenting you for relying too heavily on pre-packaged, flavourless and non healthy foods, the time to prepare is now. Batch cooking meals and freezing them for delicious, nutritious and easy meals during the busy December days is a great option. Casseroles, stews, soups, pot pies, chili and meat sauce all freeze well and make coming home that much easier when you have a busy schedule. It ensures there is always something on hand in a pinch and you and your family will be thankful for that.
Are you always worried about overeating fattening hors d'oeuvres and greasy appetizers at holiday parties? My secret is to have a bowl of soup before I go. I read about that somewhere, so I can't take credit for this tip but it's one I thought I should pay forward. A bowl of soup ensures that you have a base in your belly and really helps you avoid overeating at a holiday soiree and feeling guilty later. We've all been there. A small salad would work too. That way you can go, enjoy yourself and focus more on the company and the festive spirit than trying desperately to flag down the girl with the spring rolls.
In my opinion, less is more. Now, having said that, I don't mean to simply put up a tree and call it a day. What I like to do is swap out a few everyday items such as candles, flower arrangements, a piece of art or 2 and replace them with festive decor. It ensures my home isn't cluttered and it doesn't require hours to decorate and undecorate when the holidays are over. For every item I dispaly, I put another away. Keep it classy and tasteful but also welcoming and joyful. A beautiful wreath on the door is also a nice touch. Don't overdo it, especially when it becomes a chore.
One of the most important things to remember all year round, but especially over the holidays is that it's ok to say no. Sometimes you need to recharge your batteries and have some rest and relaxation. If not, the holidays can feel tedious and you'll be happy for them to be over. Try to prioritize your time so you can attend the events you are excited and spend time with the people you love. If an invitation has you dreading having to go, it's likely one you should decline. If you don't take enough time for yourself, you'll wear yourself out. That's not what the holidays are meant for!
Not sure what to buy as gifts for hostesses, service providers, family or perhaps your boss? It's an ongoing problem. Luckily, there are some ideas that are easy, inexpensive and heartfelt. I always like to pop in to local stores for hostess gifts, gift for teachers and colleagues and perhaps a neighbour or secret santa. I love finding something interesting and unique and have often been praised for my creative gift ideas. I have also been known to gift my baking to friends, hairdresser, house keepers etc. It's a lovely gesture and can be lots of fun if you enjoy baking. You can get some festive tins and liners from a local craft store and deliver some homemade goodies that are always well received. If you know someone well, a gift card to their favourite shop, salon or restaurant makes a nice gift as well. For those who are harder to buy for, consider something charitable. There are many charities that allow you to purchase gifts to help others who are less fortunate and these gifts tend to make people feel the true holiday spirit. Of-the-month clubs are an option for those who seem to have everything. Wine, chocolate, cheese, cake and a great many other things can be delivered on a monthly basis. It's really quite neat! Finally, my last shopping tip is to do all your shopping online if you're able to. Looking for parking, lugging your coat around a mall, waiting in lines and dealing with crowds are not on my list of fun things to do. Shopping from the comfort of your home with a glass of wine (told you'd I'd be back to this) in your pyjamas is a preferable way to shop for sure. This saves time, energy and allows you to take dinner out of the freezer while you surf amazon.com.
Holiday time can be stressful enough without adding in family. While it's lovely to spend time with family, it can wear on you they are guests in your home or vice versa. A solution that I have found helpful, aside from that well stocked supply of wine, are board games that generally create a fun, jovial environment and lighten the mood. Christmas movies are another no brainer. Whether it's the animated Frost the Snowman movie, Miracle on 34th street or the hilarious Elf, or even a romantic Hallmark film, holiday movies tend to draw crowds of all ages. Baking is a great way to entertain kids for a few hours. Sugar cookies are fun to decorate and even better to nibble on. Chocolate bark is an easy thing to make and the varieties are endless. Decorating the tree is controversial depending who you ask, but my family loves to decorate together even if my mom does move things around after. Whatever it takes to cut the tension, remember that the holidays are a celebration of family and loved ones and are only a few days.