I was recently invited to a special pre-Christmas event by Ford Canada which included a luncheon speaker to help us all on the “Road to Wellville” this season. She had these great suggestions to ease the stress in preparation for the holiday season:
- Make sure that your vehicle is in top working order so that it always starts, you never run out of gas, your gas line never freezes and you never get stranded on the highway.
- Have a family meeting to prioritize events and divide up the task list. Agree to due dates.
- Always have healthy snacks available while shopping and running errands to avoid eating unhealthy fast food.
- Stay healthy by eating extra portions of fruits and vegetables.
- If your vehicle is equipped with blue-tooth or a voice activated feature, make arrangements via phone while driving.
- Use the time while your car is warming up to take a few deep breaths and consciously relax.
- If you send cards, create a spreadsheet of addresses for future card sending.
- It is okay to say “no” over the holidays.
- Have an appetizer exchange instead of a cookie exchange with friends and family. Appetizer ingredients are more affordable when purchased in larger quantities. The time to make six dozen is not a great deal more than a single dozen. Baking off larger quantities is also more energy and cost efficient.
- Grocery shop in the early mornings when there are no checkout line ups and there are clearance stickers on many entertaining items like dips and pate. Immediately place these items in the freezer when you get home. When unexpected company arrives, defrost in the mic, place in a fancy bowl with some crackers and voila!
- Attend bake sales at community clubs and churches. You will be supporting your neighbourhood, save time and you can buy a variety of hand-baked items.
- Stick to tried and true recipes so that you never experience a culinary disaster and have to waste food. My siblings and our families even have a traditional menu for Christmas brunch so I always know that I will be providing the sausage rolls, so I can shop and cook in advance.
- Mix up spicy cocktails with apple or cranberry juice and spices, that can be quickly heated up. The taste is extravagant even though the ingredients are not. Prepare sangrias and punches so that guests can pour their own and you are not running back and forth to the fridge.
- Prepare some old school treats like nuts and bolts or peanut brittle instead of purchasing expensive alternatives. Bowls of popcorn and dried cranberries make a pretty and healthy treat.
- Shop for your turkey early. Prices can go up just before Christmas when demand is high. Use every single part of the turkey including saving the carcass to cook up for soup stocks.
- Plan your dinner menu in advance, then when your guests ask “What can I bring?”, you can be specific and assign a dish from your list. This also saves your guest stopping at 7/11 to buy you a box of Turtles that you don’t really need.
- Get everyone involved in the clean up. You can assign duties by pulling tasks out of a hat. In my husband’s family, the guys do all the clean up complete with their annual tea towel flicking fights.
- When you think that you are getting tired of your left-overs, swap yours with a neighbour. You’ll get to taste someone else’s cooking and the tastes will be new for everybody.
Use the time that you save to reflect on the meaning of the season and take the money that you didn’t spend and pay it forward, you will be richly blessed.
Kath’s quote: “I don’t like the turkey, but I like the bread he ate.” A three-year-old’s reaction to her Christmas dinner.
Love-that is all.