Make the Holidays Happy for Yourself

Christmas is only 10 days away. The stores are busy, the parking lots are worse. We’re reminded of goodwill towards all, but stress levels are high and many are in a perpetual state of panic. Every year I share these ideas of how we can make the season more manageable. I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to save enough time for yourself to have a cup of cheer and maybe linger under the mistletoe.

Freeze leftovers, starting now. If that casserole or cornbread you made today is only half-eaten, pop it in a freezer-safe container and squirrel it away. When the family is running in different directions to shop, attend parties and visit friends, it may be difficult to prioritize grocery shopping and cooking. But if you have a few meals already prepared and in the freezer, you can get some grub in a hurry.

Give gifts that create an experience. Many parents will suggest that gifts for their children come in the form of annual memberships (e.g. Science Centre, zoo). Cinema gift certificates, or tickets to a specific show or event are also well received. Sometimes people have a long bucket list of things they want to do, but never get around to researching or blocking the time to have the experience. Your gift can give them that nudge to do something they’ve always wanted to experience.

How about a group outing instead of a gift exchange? True, there won’t be a physical item in shiny wrapping paper to open, but you get the gift of spending time and creating memories with the special people in your life. In this fast-paced world, it may be just what your family and friends value most at this time of year.
Embrace catering. Just because you are hosting an event, doesn’t mean that everything has to be prepared from scratch. Ordering a dessert, hors d’oeuvres platter, side dishes, or savoury pies is perfectly acceptable.

Rent dishware. Party rental companies will rent out full place settings. Your order can be delivered to your door or picked up. The best part: when the meal is over, you just have to stack the dirty dishes in their respective crates to be picked up. No dish-pan hands for you!

Ditch the cleaning, sort of. I’m not suggesting that you let the dirt and grime build up. Instead, I suggest that you hire someone to clean for you. It’s not uncommon for people to hire someone to do a one-time cleaning. Maybe you’d like help before a big gathering; maybe you’d rather have someone clean up after the gang has left. And even if you’re not hosting a group of people, you may just want to hire someone to do the housework that has fallen to the bottom of your list of priorities – when there’s so much else going on!

Whatever you’ve got happening between now and the end of the year, remember to enjoy yourself!