Welcome to the third week of the holiday season! My simple holiday strategy is to focus on one main task each week. Remember this: when you focus, you finish! I hope you have been able to devote some time to the tasks of the other two weeks — gifts and cleaning.
Sometimes we tend to think that an abundance of extra time is going to magically appear just because it is the holiday season! Guess what? Not true! Real life is happening all around us. Maybe we are able to carve out about one extra hour each day for these extra preparations and activities. So do not panic! I will suggest the focus for the week and what needs to be done. The goal is that you will have more peace of mind and not feel overwhelmed or exhausted.
The focus for this week is food! Perhaps you can already imagine the delicious aroma of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. I must admit that I have already enjoyed a tasty pumpkin pie! It is my favorite fall treat. Let’s break down what needs to be done this week.
DAY #1: CONFIRM YOUR GUEST LIST BY PHONE OR TEXT
It is hard to know how much food to fix if you don’t know how many people will be sitting around your table. Please do not be shy about asking your family and guests to bring something for the dinner. It could be a side dish, a dessert, a snack, a bag of ice, or some drinks—whatever is appropriate.
DAY #2: CREATE YOUR WRITTEN MENU ON PAPER
It is so easy to fix too much food! Of course you want to have enough for all of your guests, but often we just randomly keep adding more dishes. We end up being frustrated by the amount of work, the abundance of dishes, and the lack of space. It is easier to be more realistic when you see it all on paper. This may not be the best time to try out an assortment of exotic recipes! Take into consideration your budget, appliances, and space: oven, stove, microwave, crockpot, and refrigerator. Respect those limits.
DAY #3: CREATE YOUR SHOPPING LISTS
Take the time to check your recipes and supplies you already have on hand. Again I suggest making written lists. This not only helps you to estimate costs, but it helps you to stay on track in the store. You do not want to just meander around picking up anything that looks good! Everything looks great at this time of year. ☺
DAY #4: BUY THE TURKEY & THE NONPERISHABLE ITEMS
I recently read an article by Debtproof Living expert Mary Hunt about buying turkeys. She interviewed a butcher who advised looking for the cheapest, plumpest frozen turkey regardless of the label. He advised that the safest way to thaw it is in the refrigerator in a pan to catch the drips. There will be a better selection this week. You should be able to get the size you want. If you have extra freezer space, you could also buy an extra one to cook in January. If you also buy the nonperishable items on your list this week, you will have a much shorter shopping trip next week!
DAY #5: BAKE YOUR DESSERTS
The written list will rescue you once again! Think about which desserts could be baked ahead of time and stored in the freezer. My mother, two daughters, and I often enjoyed baking days! Sometimes we mixed up several cookie doughs one day and baked them the next. Other times we simply had an assembly line set up with each of us measuring, mixing, baking, or washing dishes! It is so handy to divide up your cookies or desserts on paper plates, slip them into a ziplock bags, and place them in the freezer. Then you can take out just what you need for dinner or for a hospitality gift.
Focusing on these activities and finishing them this week will set the stage for truly enjoying next week!
I am curious to know what is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert:
Pumpkin Pie / Pecan Pie / Apple Pie / Another choice?
Please write your favorite choice in the comments below!