The holidays are a wonderful time of year but they can also be very chaotic. Since we are now entering the week before Thanksgiving I thought I would share some tips to help make this holiday as easy and stress-free as possible.
One of the best ways to keep your sanity is to ask for help. While we all want to believe that we can do everything, that’s just not realistic. Consider asking family members to bring a dish to help cut down the amount of cooking needed. Appetizers and desserts are great to assign to folks and it takes it off your plate!
Get the kids involved with the cleaning so you don’t have as much to do before your guest arrive. My boys are great with a vacuum and fantastic dusters! I can give both boys a can of Pledge® and a cloth and challenge them to see who can bring back the dirtiest cloth. That little bit of sibling rivalry can get my house looking good in no time flat!
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Stay tuned for more tips tomorrow and remember, you can stock up on all your favorite SC Johnson products in preparation for your holiday fun and get a Publix gift card with your purchase. You’ll earn a $5 Publix gift card when you purchase $20 in participating SC Johnson products now through 11/23.
Getting your gift card is very simple. All it takes it three easy steps!
- Purchase $20 in participating products at Publix.
- Snap a photo of your receipt.
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- What are some other things you get help with in order to make your holiday less stressful? I think the readers would love to see all the ideas…I know I would 😉
I do as much preparation as possible in advance so that I can be relaxed and enjoy the holiday with my guests.
I buy the desserts from a bakery.
Prep in advance and get kids to help out
I ask everyone to bring a small side dish. But my stroke of genius happened when I get everyone to take a small bag of trash home with them. It may sound crazy but my house is mostly clean by the time everyone leaves and all I have to do is vacuum and do the dishes.
I am compromising this year. I am buying my pies and cakes from Publix. We will be having 6 sides instead of 12. I bought frozen Parker House rolls. As we have lost family members over the years, the holiday has become more stressful due to the enormous amount of cooking. This year we will focus on being a family. We need some new traditions and who knows what my crazy children will come up with. I am thinking a movie marathon and lots of great snacks. Board games and drawing names for Christmas. We also will be sharing our favorite memory of mom and each sibling.
I order few pies from a neighbor who is just a master pie maker and that’s how she supports her family. Win win!
I have someone clean my house.
Cook and serve as much of the meal in my crock pot hookups.
I set up a liquid refreshment/snack area on my enclosed back porch so that people can socialize a while before the meal. Then I get out my 4 small crock pots and 2 larger ones that I can put some of the prepared meal in them to keep them warm. I buy my desserts from the Publix Bakery; put out several folding chairs and small tables scattered about on the back porch; gather several serving trays along with plastic plates, cups, etc
I prepare casseroles 1 to 2 days ahead and cook them the day of dinner. I ask others to bring desserts.
Chop and Prep as much as possible. Many dishes can be made ahead of time. We have a diner near us that makes great pies Holiday Pies. It’s nice to pick up a fresh pie from them.
To make the holidays a lot easier I get help with my cookies. Or rather the dough. We pick a day and my daughters come over. We make the cookie doughs up ahead of time and put it in Ziploc freezer bags and freeze it. We make enough for all of us. Then I have fresh cookies through all of the holidays. Company coming ??? get some dough out and make a tray or two of cookies. The house smells warm and inviting. Last minute plans??? Get some dough out and take a plate of freshly baked cookies.
We’ll go out to dinner before a holiday so I don’t have to be stressed cooking the night before and can concentrate later on making the sides and anything else ahead of time for the holiday meal. Sometimes we will just pick up something quick and easy like rotisserie chicken and have that for dinner. Also I always buy store bought desserts. I used to do homemade but now I don’t really want to devote time to that and guests always still rave about the desserts. I pick up a chocolate cream pie and a pumpkin pie.
I write down recipes in a notebook and watch each week for sales items to keep my cooking costs down.
I get coworkers to help me make the Santa tags and store presents at family member’s houses and at work. Makes it easier t keep things a surprise 😉
Divide meals with another family. Take turns cooking for each other. Keeps it from becoming boring.
I enlist the help of family members and try to prep as much as possible ahead of time.
I make a map of the buffet table and place a sticky note where each side dish goes so those who bring them can place them in the right spot and let others do the dishes if they offer so you can enjoy and relax a little.
Get my list out (keep my list from previous years, just make a copy of) has everything broken down, also has recipes
A massage from Massage Heights always helps!
Lots of lists. Cant live without them.
I order a turkey from publix deli! I make simple/ cheap sides and I ask a few people to bring a favorite/new desert and to write recipe on a card to display next to it. Save the time from doing turkey to spend with everyone and loving getting to see what kind of deserts others like (ps one of my favorite deserts to share are Oreo Ball truffles-amazing!)
Prep, prep and prep then toss everything in oven the day of
I usually assign someone for door duty. I also find someone that’s willing to monitor the drink station. That way I don’t have to constantly answer the door or try to offer someone a drink or refill the drink station . The person answering the door for me directs people with dishes of food to the kitchen.
It’s nice to have some make-ahead dishes and helpful kids 🙂
I always have my daughter and husband help me with the table settings, last minute clean up, greeting guests at the door, etc. Since I can’t be in several places at once it’s a big help to me. I also make a lot of lists and time out the different parts of the meal so that I can stay on track. Happy Thanksgiving!
I get help straightening up from my mother-in-law before everyone arrives. What a blessing, I love her!!
I cook and freeze in advance. I save bits of left over cornbread and freeze and if more is needed for the holidays, I cook in advance and freeze. I then make enough dressing for Thanksgiving and Christmas and freeze. I pull out one pan, defrost and cook.
I also cook and mash sweet potatoes in advance and freeze for sweet potato casserole. I also mix all casseroles day or two before the holidays and put in the fridge.
I make pumpkin and chocolate rolls and make well in advance and freeze. I put in fridge night before as they cut better when real cold.
I say cook as much as possible in advance and freeze. We cook beans and turnip/collard greens and freeze and then all we have to do is defrost, heat and eat. It is not unusual for me to be cooking a little at a time the first of November.
Purchasing all my food and baked goods from Publix bakery and deli.
BEST stress reliever ever..my family and I observe our gratitude every day and choose not to celebrate commercialized holidays. Bonus…we don’t offend indigenous people.
I prep and chop my ingredients the day before..Cook cold served foods the day before.
Do as much prep work the day before.
My husband and split the menu. I’ll do the desserts such as cookies, and rice cakes while he does the main dish. If we have guests we make sure that they have a take home box.
Help with Prep & Clean Up….many hands make light work!
My husband and two son’s help set tables and chairs up the day before Thanksgiving which is a huge help. My husband and I start shopping for everything needed for thanksgiving dinner about a month in advance in order to get the best deals and it keeps me out of the crazy holiday shopping.
Cook ahead and freeze some things that will be fine defrosting and then cooking.
I purchase all my bakery products already prepared. Nobody beats Publix bakery, so why even try? I save myself a lot of time and stress by getting it pre-made.
everyone brings a dish or two for Thanksgiving
Everyone coming to the Thanksgiving feast brings a dish. Also, I make and freeze the sweet potato casserole the week before so I can spend more time enjoying the family on Thanksgiving.
Get my desserts and sides from publix
Prepare ahead of time. Keep the menu simple
I make my “to do” lists
Red red wine!
I buy and prepare as much as possible in advance. Publix’s pie sales are great. My husband is a wonderful help for carving meat and setting the table. Things are almost ready for guest so we can eat and just enjoy the company and “the traditional football game.” He and I do cleanup together.
The blessing outweigh the stress!! 🙂
I have my house cleaned
In our house, we give our children a daily chore. This starts the day after Halloween and continues through the new year:)
I do some things in advance such as grocery shopping and decorating tables. Some bring a vegetable or potatoe side , we coordinate with meal in advance. My kids and grandchildren make cookies and deserts a few days in advance, we love to bake with my mother so we can spend time together and it is so much fun having 4 generations of family together , we really look forward to this! . It’s so special and on the day of holiday the. grandkids can say they help made deserts. They actually pick out deserts they want to make in advance to go with the holiday theme. Also I have help with clean up from daughter.
As a single mom on a limited income I like to spread holiday shopping out as much as possible. I pick up things on clearance throughout the year.
I use my pressure cooker to make a couple of cheesecakes the day before thanksgiving. They come out perfect every time. Happy Thanksgiving!
We get the cooked ham 😉
I start cooking the sides & desserts a couple of days ahead of the big one, so I’ve only got the turkey & gravy to worry about on the big day.
I buy frozen pies. Especially ones on sale with coupons!
I buy desserts from the Publix bakery.
I like to make lists so I’m sure I have everything I need.
I try to get as much done ahead of time to cut down on last minute stress!
Everything doesn’t have to be made from scratch! Semmi-homemade works in our home and saves stress, time and money.
As long as it’s not the way Sandra Lee does it! 😉
Everyone in the family is responsible for certain “family favorite” dishes that they cook and bring to the gathering.
Prepping and chopping in advance is a great way to save time. I also ask friends that are coming over to bring some appetizer so people can mingle and eat while the meal is ready
I stopped making pies long ago and buy them from the Publix bakery. The pumpkin pies are only $3.99 and and are delicious.
It is only my husband and me, no family here in Florida. I have finished my shopping my house is clean and on Thanksgiving put my turkey in oven and set the table prepare all side dishes and later in the day have a wonderful meal.
With 3 boys (and a hubby) I need all the help I can get . Tee hee! Public pies are the best.
I like to buy sides and focus my time more on the main dishes and desserts.
I like to do as much in advance as possible, especially house cleaning! Then we can all relax and enjoy the holidays together.
To help my Better Half…I’m in charge of bathroom cleanings!
I use prepared gravy (heinz).
To make the holidays less stressful, I like to shop online for gifts. I have gotten so really terrific deals and been able to do more with my limited budget than I ever thought I could.
Only my husband and me (and maybe one son), so stress is at a pretty low level really. I still like to have the house nice and clean and prepare as much of the food in advance as I can.
I get a head start on cleaning. Arranging the menu and trying to see if anyone can bring a desert or side dish.
Like most…. I like to clean and make as much as possible ahead so it will mainly be pop the turkey and sides in the oven on Thanksgiving day.
I prep my pies and freeze them. My two boys r in charge of vacuuming and picking up their toys. My husband will take care of the showers and the toilets. So I’m free to go crazy cooking in the kitchen! Which they benefit from too!
I set the table way in advance. I prep as much as I can ahead of time. When guests ask if they can bring something, I take them up on it!
Have everyone in the family pitch in. As they say, “Many hands make light work.”
I do as much ahead of time as possible (clean, decorate, side dishes, etc.) and then just have to cook the turkey, all guests bring certain dishes (desserts, casseroles, etc.) to help out as well.
I try and plan in advance for food and prepare as much in advance as possible. And ask for help when times get stressful!
I plan the menu a couple weeks ahead and shop as I see things on sale. I enlist help before and after from the family and prep as much ahead as possible. The pies get made a couple days ahead.
This may be a bit beyond what you were looking for but my boys are 17, 18 and 21 and I let them go online and shop for themselves for Christmas. That way they get exactly what they want and I don’t spend hours trying to figure it out for myself.
I like to prepare and freeze as many dishes as I can ahead of time and my guests always bring a dish of their choosing.
We do our prep-work a day two ahead of time so all w have to do is assemble our fav foods’ and coke them.
I try to prepare any side dishes that will keep well, ahead of time. It cuts down on prep and cooking time for the actual holiday.
I make pumpkin rolls several weeks in advance, my husband job always ask for these for their dinner. My daughter gets one too!
We pretty much have a pre-planned menu and eat foods we consider to be traditional for our thanksgiving. They are a mix of foods everyone decided they liked from their old thanksgivings before we were all together. This allows us all to have something we loves and take advantage of any specials.
Then we split the meal up between the entire family because it’s too hard to make all those dishes fresh in one day for one person and we wont do reheated sides unless we are having leftovers…. so we all pitch in. My mother-in-law has a corn dish she usually makes and then she orders fresh rolls and pies from the Publix Bakery to pick up the day before. My sister in law makes a couple of green bean casseroles. I usually make the turkey, stuffing and potatoes, although with a lot of food allergies (no cow dairy, no gluten, no eggs and no almonds, I also make myself side dishes that are allergen free like potatoes made with a substitute butter and coconut milk and a steamed veggie. I still haven’t found a substitute for the stuffing or a roll that tastes like real bread that is also egg free, but I keep looking! I did find a pie crust and have managed to make a apple pie for myself that works.
We also split up the chores with the kids. They are old enough to make a difference now, so they are required to help.
It just helps make it easier on everyone.
I stock up on bogo items for the holidays, so I usually all I need.
I try to prep as much as I can ahead of time.
A list is a must it helps me stay organized. I try to pre-bake alot of items ahead of time, I make gift purchases year around I catch them on sale and I wrap them and tag them when I get them so I’m not over loaded around the holidays
Anything I can make ahead and freeze takes a lot of work and stress away from the actual day. Also some foods are served for both Thanksgiving and Christmas so I cook once and freeze for both.
I cook ahead as many dishes as I can and enjoy my day off
My husband and I are always out of town for Thanksgiving and Christmas so we make sure we have hostess gifts for whomever we are staying with and make ourselves available to help in any way we can.
Have everybody bring an assigned dish. Saves on cooking and clean up.
I make an attack plan way in advance and divide the shopping, cleaning,etc. over a couple of weeks.
I make lists and organize coupons before I go grocery shopping to make it easier. I set the table the night before Thanksgiving. I also prepare some of the food the night before.
Some things I get help with in order to make my holiday less stressful is with cleaning and if invited guests ask if they can contribute to the meal, I tell them yes!
The biggest help is getting family to help put up our tree and decorations.
This year I am planning on having Thanksgiving dinner at my mother in laws house so I only have to bring 2 side dishes. Big help since we are running a 5k that morning!
We all pitch in and clean and cook with my mom!!!!!
I make as much in advance as possible and make a detailed list of what needs to be done and when!
Using a planner helps me organize all my lists!
Everyone in the family pitches in with cleaning before and after we have guests.
Since we have a large family of 8 children (4 grown, 4 still at home), we have everyone chip in to help. The grown children all have their favorite recipes so they are willing to help cook. We do time our Thanksgiving around the sales – we all go out together shopping after dinner and then usually come home to hit up the leftovers. It’s so much fun, we don’t stress!
I love your idea of seeing who can bring back the dirtiest cloth!
I started buying my pie crust instead of making in from scratch.
I visit the bakery!
I buy frozen pies! 🙂
For gatherings at my m-i-l’s home, each of the 3 children’s families bring 1 side dish and 1 dessert to lighten the load! My husband will usually fry the turkey .. so we buy the oil. That way no one bears the financial burden for the whole meal or the taxing time it takes to prep everything! Clean up, too! Men do the dishes! Love
My entire family always emails out a list of who will bring what about a month before Thanksgiving. That way, one person is not cooking/buying everything. When I host, I always deep clean my house about a week before Thanksgiving. That way, the days leading up to the holiday only require a quick once over, and I’m ready for guests!
Our family all pitches in to bring dishes to complete the meal. Help in the kitchen with clean-up is the best help for me!
We divide the dishes to be made among the kids and my parents make the meats. Plan ahead, and remember it’s fun! We always have so much fun together as a family.
I let Publix bake the pies, so that is one thing less I have to do. I also sometimes will cheat and buy precut veggies if I am short on time even though they cost more.
I don’t make the pies 🙂 and I like to cook some stuff the day before!
Everybody brings a side or dessert and we use paper plates (heavy duty ones) and plasticware so cleanup is easier ,too.
The bakery at Publix is a life saver!
Go to a restaurant instead of anyone’s house. Their employees do all the cooking and cleaning and you can just enjoy each other’s company.
We split up who’s bringing what dishes.
Just don’t stress out as much. It’s supposed to be a nice time to spend with family, not a circus to impress everyone. Take it easy and just enjoy 🙂
I tried to do mostly homemade, but to make it less stressful I will use some plastic ware and buy some delicious Publix pies and cookies, also a glass of wine between all the cooking LOL…….
We also use paper plates and I buy frozen pies . I usually do all the cooking but tell others to bring drinks and paper products
I coordinate with my family as to who will prepare what so that there are no duplicate food items.
I always have to work Thanksgiving week. My local Publix makes it so much easier by carving their delicious turkey for me. I’m able to save so much time, and the turkey gets rave reviews every time!
Try to go potluck when possible
I sometimes purchase store bought cakes and pies.
Entire family pitches in to preclean & cleanup afterwards.
By buying pies and mashed potatoes. Not having to cook everything is a big help!
I get help from family with the cooking and cleaning!
Help from the store since I buy their Thanksgiving meal!
I get help with the post-holiday cleanup!
send the husband out for groceries.
I have my husband help with the shopping and buy a cake from the bakery
Help with cleaning
Start early..I started last Saturday..haha.
My house is cleaned most days..so that just needs tidied up.
I’ve already started prepping and buying things.
I do everything so it’s vital
Have a plan, list and times to do.
I’ve got my fresh turkey.
I make desserts ahead, cut up all veggies..make cornbread for stuffing ahead..dry out bread.
I buy planners, to do lists and post it notes to keep track of tasks and chores.
Having family pitch in, so it’s not all on you and stock up on some essential groceries/household products so at least you know you won’t run out of the necessary things
Potluck meals are great because the host doesn’t have to do all the cooking but everyone can still have a home-cooked meal (unless the people who brought a dish just picked it up at the supermarket deli, which is okay too).