The holidays can be a bit stressful sometimes.
With all the preparations for Thanksgiving day.
The gifts to buy before Christmas day.
It is a lot and can be stressful.
If you feel that way, I am there with you.
Over the years, I have learned a few tricks to help make the holiday go from stressful to peaceful.
And I want to share with you some tips on how to alleviate stress during the holidays.
Tip #1: Ask for help.
There is nothing better than when there is a team effort to get something done.
If you need the house cleaned before Thanksgiving or Christmas day, ask the family to contribute 20 to 30 minutes to help clean the bathroom, sweep the floor, and pick up clutter, for example.
So much is accomplished when many hands are helping.
If you need help financially for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, ask to have different family members bring a dish or two.
This year is financially difficult for many of us.
Expenses are up, and everyone feels the pinch at the grocery store.
If guests are local, this is a fun way to distribute the expenses by letting them bring something.
Give them ideas about what you will need.
Like dinner rolls, a pie, a salad, and a favorite dessert, for example.
My mother-in-law makes the best lemon pretzel bars.
She loves it when I ask her to bring that.
Maybe there are traditional family recipes that would be a joy for your guests to make.
This makes them feel included.
Tip #2: Prepare in advance.
Our home is usually the place our family gathers each year.
We have had many family dinners around the table.
Each time I have learned a few things, and I want to share them with you.
Set up areas for visiting.
Before guests arrive, you will want to have your living room or gathering place ready with plenty of seating.
Create a circle with chairs, sofas, and/or loveseats.
This makes it easy for guests to see each other while conversing.
Tip #3: Lay out your table setting.
One of the biggest hurdles I’ve experienced is ensuring there are enough utensils and plates on Thanksgiving or Christmas day.
Preparing before the big day makes it less stressful.
Have two forks and two plates for each guest to make the transition from dinner to dessert seamless.
If you don’t have enough utensils and plates for this, have some disposable ones.
Photos below are links to Amazon Fresh.
Now, that is easy!
Tip #4: Prepare the sides the day before.
This was a game-changer!
Making the mashed potatoes beforehand with all the wonderful heavy cream and butter.
Or, however, you love your mashed potatoes.
Put them in an elongated casserole dish with pats of butter on top.
Cover the dish with foil and put it in the fridge overnight.
An hour ahead of dinner, pull it out and put it in the oven.
Other dishes that can be made the day before:
- Green bean casserole
- Candied yams
To name a few.
By doing this, the only thing you will need to focus on is the turkey.
That has made Thanksgiving day much more peaceful for me.
It releases me to visit with family members.
Which is the best part of the holidays that I love the most.
Tip #5: Clean these 3 areas.
I learned the hard way the essential part of preparing for guests is to focus on these three areas of the home.
Not only does it alleviate stress during the holidays but it saves from embarrassment.
There is nothing like realizing the toilet wasn’t scrubbed or there is no place to put coats.
So, I want to help you from such moments.
Here are ideas to think about:
- Bathroom – scrub toilet, clean sink, empty garbage, have backup toilet paper, clean hand towel, and fill the hand soap.
- Coat closet – ensure there’s a place for guests’ coats and shoes.
- Dining room – clean chairs (from cat hair or kid messes, etc), sweep under the table, have place settings ready before guests arrive, and label cups with a name tag to keep track of whose is whose.
Another tip: Light a candle 20 minutes before guests arrive. This is a trick to make your home smell clean and fresh. A great way to welcome guests.
A couple candles from Amazon Fresh that you can get right now. Photos are links.
Tip #6: Exchange gifts.
Instead of getting gifts for everyone.
Have each family member buy one gift.
Now, this will alleviate stress during the holidays for everyone!
Gift exchange ideas:
- White elephant. Put the gifts under the tree. Gather in a circle. Each person will pick a present and open it in front of everyone. They can keep it or take a gift that has already been opened by another family member. Do this until the end. It’s pretty fun.
- For the men. Each man can buy one gift for another man in the family. Who better to find the best Christmas gifts than another man?
- Same idea for the women of the family. Each woman will buy one gift for a woman and exchange it at the Christmas party.
- On Thanksgiving day, you can draw names. Take a bowl with each name written on a piece of paper folded up inside. Pass it around the table. Have each person draw a name. Not sharing whose name they drew. They will keep it secret until the day of the exchange.
- Buy each other a gift that is under $10.
- Only exchange gift cards. Everyone will bring one gift card.
- Exchange homemade gifts. A simple idea is to write a letter. Who doesn’t love to read loving words spoken that will ring in their heart throughout the year? I treasure my husband’s handwritten words of how much he loves me more than his gift. Another homemade idea is to make cookies or a savory snack like flavored popcorn or homemade kettle corn.
This will be less stressful for everyone.
Being responsible for one gift is doable.
I hope these tips give you ideas on how to alleviate stress during the holidays.
For more tips and inspirations, go here.
Thanks for coming by Victorian Lane Farms.