Ready, set, go. Holidays, here we come! From Thanksgiving to New Years, we will be in a constant state of cooking, shopping, and party-hopping. Tis' the season for celebrations! Fun, yes, but this constant state of doing can leave you feeling like a grinch. Trying to cook gourmet meals, finding the perfect gifts, and trying to make an appearance at every party can zap the fun right out of December, especially when you pile that on top of an already busy work and family schedule.
So, how do you find the perfect holiday balance? Well, everybody's perfect balance will be different but there are some general guidelines you can follow: cook simply, give the gift of time, and say "No".
There is truth to the old saying, "less is more". Simply cooked foods are delicious. Think of a pork tenderloin seasoned with fresh rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper with a side of roasted asparagus. Something like this can serve a lot of people, it allows the flavors of the ingredients to shine, and it can be prepped ahead of time. A dish like this allows you to enjoy time with your guests instead of being buried in the kitchen. Also, never try a new recipe on the holidays. This will put unnecessary stress and pressure on you. Your guests care more about spending time with you than they do about trying exotic recipes.
Too many times we make ourselves batty trying to find the perfect gift. We spend hours thinking about the right color, the right size, if an item is age appropriate, if they already have one, and the list goes on. It makes me tired just thinking about it! You know what your family will love? They will love the gift of your time. There is nothing more special than making time for people. It is the most sought after gift. Plan a day to take your kids sledding or ice skating. Plan a date for your spouse. Plan a spa day for your mom. To make your gift more tangible, create a hand-made certificate to wrap and put underneath the tree. Be sure to include what you are doing, the date, and any other details. That is a gift they will remember for years to come.
Last but not least, learn the power of saying "No". Say it with me, "NO, NO, NO." It is hard to say "No" when we live in a "Yes" world. We want to make everyone happy and attend every party, but this ends up leaving us feeling exhausted. Pick and choose the holiday parties that you will truly enjoy attending, for the rest, kindly send your regrets and thank them for the invitation. The simple of act saying "No" will make your holidays more enjoyable in the long run. Don't take my word for it, try it out for yourself.
Take these simple steps to make sure the holidays don't get the best of you. The main focus of the season should be spending quality time with your loved ones. Don't get too caught up in preparing the perfect meal or finding the perfect gift. Cooking simply with a lot of love and giving the gift of your time is the best way to show your loved ones how much you care about them. Happy start to the holidays everyone!