Mom of two Mischievous Monkeys: Holiday Helper: Reducing Stress

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday Helper: Reducing Stress

As we near closer and closer to Christmas Day, last minute plans are being made and some are scrambling to finish up shopping.

 I have a few things that I like to do to reduce the time invested in preparing to celebrate during the Holiday season.

For starters I don’t actually cook a turkey on Christmas Day. With just the four of us (who find turkey not worth the fuss), we simply put a chicken in the crock pot in the morning and let it cook away. Then we can simply make some sides such as the usual mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and veggie plus stuffing and gravy.  I know some people that do there big meal on Christmas Eve so that they can eat the leftovers the following day.

Another thing we do is to have appetizers for dinner on Christmas Eve. We get to snack as we enjoy some fun activities, everyone is sure to have something they like and preparation and cleanup is a breeze. Heating up a few things in the oven, unwrapping a shrimp tray and setting out some veggies and dip. Then we simply put the leftovers away and enjoy them the next day for lunch.

Some other great tips:

*Prepare food items ahead of time, especially if cooking a big dinner and having guests over. Vegetables, homemade cranberry sauce and stuffing can be made ahead and kept in the fridge. Pies can be made ahead and frozen.

*Utilize other appliances. Put your crock pot or pressure cooker to work. I like to use my crock pot to cook mashed potatoes, simply filling with broth, potatoes and some bay leaves, garlic. Set to low and allow to cook. This will free up stove and oven space too.

*Manage your expectations. Think of what your overall goal is, and adjust to that. Ideally the focus is on family and friends getting together not whether the food is fancy or (even necessarily homemade). Don't have time to bake a pie or buns, make a stop at the store instead and give yourself a break.

*Make dinner potluck style, asking others who are attending to bring a food item. Or they could bring paper plates or cutlery. Have others pitch in and help out. If you are hosting dinner, make sure to recruit those coming over. 

*Make breakfast prior to the day. Baking some muffins would be a good idea, this recipe for apple crunch muffins would be good. This year I think I am going to try Overnight Caramel-Apple rolls.

Have a very Merry Christmas!


1 comment :

  1. I like the idea of a potluck! :) May suggest to my mom that our family do that this year. My husbands family on his dad's side does this the Sat. before Christmas and it works out great! I have always wanted to make a breakfast casserole on Christmas morning (where you can have it made up ahead of time and just stick it in the oven to bake the morning of) but I haven't gotten around to doing that yet. Can't wait to try your recipes in this post either, they sound yummy! :)