sometimes the holidays bring stress to a family. always, they bring opportunities to make magical memories that get passed down to the generations. as we are gearing up for the holidays in a new home, away from old family and friends, i’ve been thinking about some of our best holiday memories, and what made them so. i thought maybe you, too, could use some thanksgiving tips to help you in planning a stress-free holiday.
laugh. a lot.
no words needed. (it helps if you are married to the funniest guy on the planet. or at least the funniest guy in your family.)
take advantage of memory-making.
holidays often mean the opportunity to share space with generations and friends and family we don’t often see. being in a new place this year means we won’t be with family or old friends. we’ve been graciously invited to join new ones, and that makes past memories, as well as the new ones we will make, all the more dear. challenge your kiddos, and yourself, to be intentional about conversation during the time you share. does nana have a favorite potato recipe or tip for the most moist turkey? let the kids learn it, and make sure to write it down!
have goodies on hand for snacking during prep time.
nobody likes a grumpy chef/host. put out some yummy snacks that you and your guests can enjoy while waiting for the main event. (click here if you would like tips on creating this pretty cheese platter!)
have something for little hands.
our a-girl likes to look up, and create, pretty folds for napkins.
make it pretty. but keep it simple (and a gift doesn’t hurt).
our dishes were dwindling and our budget was small last year. we picked up some simple white plates from a big-box store and added small details like tea lights and pretty paper straws. then we used pretty cupcake liners to tie up new tealights with twine, and those were favors for the guests. the table runner was inexpensive burlap that we didn’t even hem. i love the rustic look we got for very little effort, don’t you?
welcome guests into the kitchen. (aka: all hands on deck!)
i remember a few holidays growing up where the host felt she bore all the weight of making everything. this led to stress for her and guilt for others. even if it makes for a bit of crazy, welcome help in your kitchen! i read once that true hospitality says, “come in. help out. enjoy the fruit of our labor with me.” i love this mindset, and it helps the work get done faster, too!
roll with the punches.
with two sets of hands in the kitchen, sometimes things get a bit scattered. when my sweet mom-in-law joined me in making some yeasty rolls, we got a bit carried away, and ended up with giant-hamburger-bun-sized “rolls.” do you think anyone complained? nope. more surface area for warm melty butter.
sit down. eat. enjoy.
am i the only one who’s tempted to keep working to make things perfect? the only one who’s ever dined with a host who couldn’t settle in and enjoy? don’t be afraid to relax and soak in the bounty. you deserve it, and your guests will relax even more!
what are your best tips for hospitable hostessing? i’m always looking to get better at the craft, so i’d love to hear from you!