Stress Free Holidays

Are you hosting the holidays at your house this year? Do you have a lot of people coming over? Are your in-laws sticklers for having a clean house? Have you started stressing out over everything that needs to be done? Well, I am here to tell you to breathe. I have your stress free holiday survival plan right here

If you are anything like me, you hate having people over if your house is a mess. It is not that we are messy people, but we are busy people. Family, kids, work, school, after school activities… well, life gets in the way of a clean house.

Everything starts with a plan. I know that word can be scary for some, but having a well thought out plan will help keep you stress free and having fun during the crazy holiday season. Let’s start off with everyone’s favorite food. This can go a couple of ways. A potluck is a great
way to save money and reduce the stress. You still need to plan, but at least you don’t have to cook everything! The people who are traveling the furthest are the ones who bring the snacks, usually nothing that’s required to be kept hot or cold, the mid-range travelers can bring items
that can survive staying warm or cool during the trip, and all you have to worry about are any dishes that need to be served fresh from the oven. That way everyone helps with the meals, and there is less work for you to do.

Now if you’re like me and like being in the kitchen cooking, a holiday meal plan is your bestfriend. Start thinking about what you want to make a few weeks in advance and make sure to write down all the ingredients that you need for

each dish. This helps cut down those many grocery store runs that are bound to happen. If you are having a turkey for the holidays, make sure to give it time to thaw. It takes 4-7 days to thaw in the refrigerator depending on how big it is. No one likes a pretty turkey on the outside and a semi-cooked turkey on the inside, trust me I know. But that is a story for another time. Plan to have your turkey done about 30-45 minutes done before you plan on eating. This for for two reason 1) it gives the juices enough time to get back into the breast meat so it is not dry and 2) gives you time to carve it in advance. Sure everyone like to see the pretty turkey roasted on the table, but do you really want to stop eating to have to cut it every time someone wants more? I know, I don’t. We know there are going to be side dishes. Make what can be done ahead of time. This will also help cut down on the heat in the house the day of ,making everyone more comfortable. I  usually get my sweet potatoes, stuffing, green beans, and pies done the day before and just put the in the oven to warm up while the turkey is resting. This gives me a little time to relax before everyone shows up.

Speaking of showing up, know your guests. If you know your guests are always late, tell them an earlier time so when they show up late it is really on time. That is a little trick I learned one year. And if you have guests that like to be early arrivers let them come, that way you can put
them to work. Get a little extra time and help in the kitchen.

Now let’s talk about everyone’s least favorite part, cleaning the house. This has to be my least favorite part about getting ready for the holidays. Mostly because I hate cleaning. I don’t know many people who actually like it honestly.

DO NOT PROCRASTINATE! You can start this early and be done faster than you think. Walk through the house and start to de-clutter everything first. While you are walking through the house grab a duster and hit the walls and lamps at the same time. These are often areas that are often missed. Make sure to dry and wet dust the house during your walk through. I save my deep, deep cleaning for holidays and springtime. You know those places that tend to get ‘overlooked’ like under the couch, behind the refrigerator, etc. Well it is time to hit those
with the vacuum. We all know a random bottle, toy, or fork is going to end up under or behind it. Tip: clean the coils of the refrigerator. That will help it work better, i.e.: saving you money long term. Clean the main areas of your house a few days before and tidy up the day of. You live in the house, it should look like it is lived in and not from a magazine where everything is perfectly spotless.

Vacuum the carpets and spot treat any areas that have stains on it. Sweep and mop the main areas a week or so beforehand, then do a quick pick up the day before for a perfect house. Don’t forget the bathrooms. We all have those relatives that spend a little extra time snooping
through those medicine cabinets. Get rid of all expired medicines. Most police stations and many pharmacies will take them and dispose of them correctly. Wipe down the mirrors, clean the shower and toilet. Make sure everything is in its place. Tip: keep extra toilet paper by the
toilet in case it runs out at an inopportune time. And make sure to fill the soap up and have fresh hand towels out for your guests.

Now we know the kitchen is the heart of the home. It was where most people gather to talk and spend time with one another. So keeping this area clean is always the hardest. Start cleaning the counters and even those hard to reach corners. If you have counters that need to
be sealed or conditioned now is the time to do it. Don’t forget to condition those butcher blocks and get them ready for everything that is going to be on them.

Before you stock that refrigerator up with the holiday foods make sure to clean it out. Throw away those old leftovers, clean the shelves, and the replace the water filter if needed. Wipe down all the appliances and you are ready to cooking your heart out.

I know looking at the list can be overwhelming. And you might feel like it is too much but I promise do a little everyday and before you know it, it’s done. Your house looks amazing, your food tastes great and you are relaxed and ready to host your holidays at home. And the biggest
thing to remember is to have fun!! Happy Holidays.

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