The holidays are a cherished time for family, food and celebration, but they can also be prime time for losing your mind – if you’re not ready for them! Before you sit down to eat this year, go over your plans one last time. Here are a few things you won’t want to forget.
Whether you’re going across the country, across town or across the street, make a list of what you’ll need. Being prepared with a few items can make even dinner at a friend’s house go more smoothly. Think you might need containers for leftovers, medication, books or toys for the kids or an overnight bag just in case? It won’t hurt to have it ready in the car, and the earlier you start priming your holiday plan, the more possibilities you can anticipate.
This one’s important if you’re the one prepping the feast this year, or if you’re working in tandem with other chefs. No matter how many times you double check, there always seems to be two more trips to the grocery store. Naturally there’s only one solution: quadruple-checking! It really does help to write everything you need down, and write it in one place where everyone involved can see it, check it, and make additions, if necessary. When you do go grocery shopping, try to take at least one first mate, or tag along with whomever’s playing captain.
Have a game plan and let everyone in on it. When it comes to preparing large meals, division of labor is key. Make sure each player knows what they’re responsible for preparing, bringing, buying and baking.
Know who is going to be expecting a call from you this weekend and have their numbers ready ahead of time. Write it all down or plug it into your Palm and take it with you if you’re moving around this Thanksgiving.
Even if you’re not planning on exchanging any, it’s always helpful to have a few back-pocket gifts. You never know when someone will surprise you with unexpected thoughtfulness, and you don’t want to be caught empty-handed or have one more shopping item tacked onto your to-do list. Collect a few nice but non-specific items that you can have on hand. If you don’t need them – excellent. There’s another gift-giving season around the corner.
If you are planning on shopping on the busiest shopping day of the year, make a game plan and solidify it before Thanksgiving. Decide on your company, which stores you’ll hit and in what order. Make sure you check opening times, which are usually earlier than usual that day, and plan your route accordingly. And don’t forget to schedule time for meals!
Review everything with everyone…again.
The secret to keeping it together (and enjoying what’s supposed to be a holiday) is being prepared. Of course, that usually means everyone else is prepared and in the know, too. Make sure everything is clear before you get started: who’s eating with whom when, who’s bringing what and who’s sleeping where. No matter how ready you think you are, one more run down your checklist can knock out a few last-minute surprises. Once that’s done, you can put the lists away. It’s time to put this plan into action!
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