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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday Tip

Get a head start on your holiday meal planning. I have a confession to make. Although, I love the holidays and entertaining, the menu and meal preparation part of it...well let's just say it's my least favorite aspect. I prefer the decorative parts. Making the table look good, coordinating which platter and serving pieces go best with which foods, trimming the tree...that sort of thing.

The goal.
This admission would come as surprise to many of my friends. Try as I may, I am no Martha Stewart. I can't do it all, look flawless (or even decent) and maintain my holiday spirit. What I can do is fake it quite well by exerting a good bit of effort,  planning ahead and taking help when it's offered. Just as long as the help is served on a pretty platter! The other help comes from my double ovens and 6 burner cook top. I worship these two appliances every holiday seasons.

The reality.
I use a notebook with pockets to start collecting possible contenders. Be sure to add
a few pieces of paper for notes as well as a place to start the grocery shopping list for ingredients! 
I've already started combing through holiday recipes for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. I'll rely on favorites, but always feel compelled to try a few new things every year. I pull recipes for every possible scenario from dinners to brunch to impromptu get-togethers. It makes me feel in control, like Martha.

RX for holiday planning. It's important to feel relaxed don't you think?

Extra Tip:  No one enjoys being at a party where the host or hostess appears frazzled or distracted and unable to mingle with their guests. Seriously, stay out of the kitchen as much as possible!
And, be sure to have fun at your own party!

Your family will also enjoy the holiday season more if you're enjoying it with them. It took me many years to get a system down and figure out that if I tackle the holiday "chore" that stresses me out the most, everyone benefits including me!


  1. Like how you think, please do share and elaborate on how you manage to stay out of the kitchen because somehow I tend to be there a lot ( on second though maybe I am doing that on purpose..haha) I do agree there is no such thing as plannig too far in advance, the more in advance you plan the better you are, including setting your table, polishing silver, etc...and agree about trying new recipes, its always great to try at least a few, keeps everyone guessing!
    I am trying to muster my energy and strength for not only the holidays but now moving too during the holidays.....ugh, Calgon take me away.

  2. Great advice R, and you are so right, when the host or hostess are stressed it just brings everyone else down.

    Kat :)

  3. Totally agree!! I do as much as possible ahead of time and my girls love helping me set the table and choose the platters and serving containers. We are a very traditional holiday food family so my meals are now on auto pilot - very easy. The only things that change are the hors d'oeuvres and occasionally the desserts!!

  4. Totally agree Rebecca and thanks to blogging a lot of the styling is done, comes right off of blogs. Our family thinks I'm really creative and really what's the

    Enjoy your day!

  5. I agree-no one likes a tressed out hostess--I like to get as much done before as possible--who wants to be in the kitchen when everyone is having fun in the other room!

  6. The older I get, the
    more important the
    mantra "Keep it simple" decorating
    and in entertaining. I
    discovered Martha as
    a newlywed and tried
    desperately to copy her
    style ~ until I read her
    biography and realized
    that there is no way that
    one person can do it ALL
    on their own. I try to
    do as much ahead of time
    so I can be part of the
    fun on the big days : )
    Thanks for these reminders!

    xx Suzanne

  7. Rebecca we come from the same mold. I am a planner, no surprise there!!! I too, would rather set a pretty table and decorate than cook, but I love good food so I do my best in that area too. I just pinned a fun poached pear recipe I want to make for the Holidays. I am going to try it this week to see how much time it takes and if it is really as good as it looks. It sounds simple in theory, but you know how that works sometimes!! I like your idea of pockets to slip recipes and notes in!! Great idea!! Kathysue

  8. Ah, there's only three of us, I don't know the meaning of stress at Christmas time.

  9. I so wish I was like you...I'm such a dreamer and not planner. Actually I need to start a new mantra because I think it's just so easy to fall back on my old. My new mantra is: Plan Ahead. And today I hope to change. Great advice, luckily for me my mother hosts Thanksgiving most years because the rest of my family have pretty small homes. We all bring a side and she does the Turkey and stuffing. Can't wait! Hope you and your family have a wonderful wonderful Thanksgiving!

  10. I'm with you. I plan, plan and re-plan to make sure all my ducks are in a row before a party. It takes all the burden of last minute racing around off my shoulders! I am your newest follower!

  11. One of the great fallacies out there is that we should all do it all ourselves, everything from scratch, everything perfect. It makes complete sense to me to prepare and freeze food ahead of the holidays, as you write. I'm also a big fan of buying prepared foods when entertaining. Also, these days we only entertain with someone on hand to help out for the evening, that way we can actually enjoy spending time with our guests rather than being sequestered in the kitchen. It is the best hundred dollar investment that I know of...

  12. I am sure your entertaining will be spectacular.

  13. I'm with you, Rebecca. I would much prefer to decorate the table, the house and the front door with seasonal touches than worry about the food. I don't mind the cooking....just love the other more!

    I love your notebook - I'm sure that helps a lot.

    This year, we'll be visiting Texas for Thanksgiving. Though my sister-in-law did ask me to cook the turkey. (Wish I was in charge of setting the table instead!) :)

    xo Elizabeth

  14. I've been to some of those gatherings where the hostess was stressed out and you're so right, it makes guest uncomfortable, unwelcome even. One of the nice things about the holidays is that tradition is a big element that makes them special. If you can perfect a few elements, like a special dessert, including them just once a year at the holidays makes them special, something for you and your family and friends to look forward to.

  15. My notebook is out now. And I'm combing through recipes. Love this preparation time!

  16. I always have a hard time with the menu too. I can't believe the season is already upon us! Thank you for the wonderful tip!

  17. Great hostess advice! And I love that little drinks table image - it has inspired me to try and invent a Thanksgiving cocktail for our family get together.

  18. Rebecca,
    What a great post and a very true look at how many of us feel! Great advice!!!!
    I am a new and long overdue follower! I have added you to my blogroll!


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