Are YOU caught up in the holiday Chaos?
The holiday season comes but once a year and for most Moms out there, it’s a good thing. While the holidays are a wonderful time that bring family together in joyous celebration, if you’re anything like me, the holiday season also brings on enough stress to be crushed under! So, this season, instead of stressing, let’s focus on some tips to
STOP the holiday CHAOS!
As much as I’d like to deny it, most of the stress I experience during the holidays has nothing to do with outside sources. What I mean by that, is that most of it comes from my anxiety over wanting the occasions to be “perfect“. There have been very few time that another person is the source of my holiday madness. So, the easiest way to mange that stress is to plan ahead. If you tend to freak out during the holiday season, join me over the next 2 days to see if some of these tips can save your sanity this holiday season.
The first category I want to talk about is
Dinner and House Preparation.
If your plans for the holidays are to travel to another person’s home or another location, then these tips may not be necessary for you. However, if you’re like my family, though we travel for the holiday season, we may also have a small gathering for our immediate family and/or friends. And, these tips are helpful when hosting ANY event in your own home as well!
In my case, the first stress I have when hosting in my own home is cleaning. Though your house may be clean (most days, if I’m lucky, lol) and well kept, there is a special kind of clean when hosting a party. I call it “Deep Cleaned”. For me it means scrubbing base boards, washing windows, dusting things I don’t usually dust and basically scrubbing every surface of my home. When it’s holiday season, however, you usually have a lot more on your plate and cleaning seems to be the biggest and most tedious task.
My first suggestion: Hire Someone.
Don’t be shamed into thinking that hiring a local maid service to deep clean your home is not an option. I know a lot of Moms out there who are hesitant to hire someone because of the stigma of
A) Not being able to do it yourself, B) That it must mean your house is disgusting
and/or C) That you are a snob or lazy.
For one, if I had the money to hire someone to clean my house ALL of the time, I would. There is nothing wrong or lazy about allowing someone to clean your house. Plus, there are many Moms out there who are in the business of cleaning houses. That makes it a Moms helping Moms situation! But especially hiring someone to deep clean your home before you host an event is just sensible. By taking that pretty big task off of your plate, you make room for doing the things that you can’t necessarily hire someone to do. Consider it an investment and breathe easy! To help find a maid service near you try Care.com
However, I know times are hard and money is tight already, not including the holiday extras, so if you need to cut the cost, hire a kid. It could be a friend’s kid, the baby sitter or a youth from Church or the neighborhood. By hiring a kid you cut your cost, but you also allow a kid to make money for their holiday season!
My second suggestion: Ask for help.
If you’re a Mom to a child basically 5 and up, you already have one volunteer for cleaning! lol But seriously, let your child(ren) help with the cleaning. Give them a task at a time and reward them with something they will enjoy for every task completed. You can even make certain tasks that may be harder or take longer worth a larger reward. And don’t be afraid to ask your family and/or friends to help you either. Find that friend, sister, brother or cousin that wouldn’t mind rolling their sleeves up for a nice dinner and/or movie. Then you get help, plus some bonding time with the person!
The next stress that I have is with the food. Good cook or bad cook, either way, most Moms out there do not have just a TON of experience organizing, preparing, cooking and serving LARGE meals. Sure, we may cook for our family of 5-8, we may make very intricate and detailed dishes and we may have served food plenty of times. But doing all of it from top to bottom for more like 10-20 people can be a daunting task.
My first suggestion: Keep it Simple.
If you’re like me, the holiday season is the reason for new recipes, as well as old favorites and traditions. For example, one tradition/old favorite I have developed over the last couple of years are cheese balls. I began doing it one year and have since perfected 3 recipes and thought of about 15 more. So for me, every year, it’s about making something that is better than the year before as well as bringing back the favorites collected over time. But when you’re hosting an entire meal, it’s a different story. Time won’t always permit you to do ALL things bigger and better. So, keep it simple with some of your dishes. You still have specialty dishes, but make them special. Not every side needs to be an intricate affair. It can be refreshing and exciting to have simple sides, with just a few specialty dishes.
My second suggestion: Plan Ahead.
Cooking several dishes, several additions and a large hunk of meat can be overwhelming. However, there are ways you can plan ahead that can help you keep your dinner running smoothly.
For instance, prepare your table ahead of time. Set out plates, bowls, cups, utensils, etc. Have it all done before you even begin to cook, that way even if you happen to need more time on your turkey or ham, you can allow guests to sit and begin on salad, rolls or even sides. For suggestions on easy holiday food, check out “25 Tips for an easy holiday” from www.Food.com.
Another tip is to prepare as many dishes as possible a day in advance. Many dishes that are served during holiday season can be made and stored over night. Then all you have to do is put them in the oven the next day for heating. For this, I suggest buying the disposable aluminum pans. They come in just about every shape and size, most often with lids for storing and they are obviously, oven safe. And, you don’t have to clean them afterwards!
My third suggestion: Ask for Help/Hire Someone.
Now, there are two ways you can ask for help with preparing the holiday meal. One way, is to just ask a friend or family member who will be attending the party to come early and help you with the food. If you don’t have anyone that can be available, try hiring someone to be your Sous Chef. Basically, a person that can do the more tedious aspects of the cooking, like stirring and mixing. You could, again, hire a teenager you know or you could place an ad on CraigsList. There are MANY chefs and/or caterer’s that would be willing to help for a few hours for extra cash.
Hopefully, you found at least one tip that can help you eliminate some of your holiday chaos!
Join me tomorrow when we talk about the second category: Presents and Gift Giving. Where we will discuss ways to minimize spending and eliminate gift-giving stress!
Until Next Time,
Wild Mommy MC