The holidays will be here before we know it, and this year I am going to enjoy them. I used to be so organized, and planned every detail out when preparing for the holidays. When the holiday morning would arrive most everything would be done, and I was ready for our guest. I started “winging” it about five years ago, and have been totally stressed out each year ever since.  Let’s just say it has not been fun.

After the holidays were over last year, I swore I was never doing it again. I wanted fun and happy holidays again, and that meant I needed to get back to doing things the way that I used to do them.  If you have not started your holiday planning yet, now is the time. Do not put it off for one more second. I ask that you PLEASE join me and take the vow to enjoy the holidays too. To help us along I have set up a three day series of tips and tricks to “Take The Stress Out Of The Holidays.”


Behind every successful holiday is a great plan, or should I say planner! You know those parties that you go to and the house is immaculate and looks like it could be in Better Homes and Gardens, the food is amazing, and the host is actually sitting and enjoying herself. You know you have asked yourself “wow how did she get it all done?” You can bet that did not happen on it’s own..there was a lot of planning behind it.

You guessed it, it is time to start planning. Start with your menu, and write down everything you will eat for the day.  Don’t forget to include drinks.


Once you have decided on your menu, create your shopping list. I like to break mine down by dishes and then list the ingredients underneath the dish.


Shop ahead of time and purchase all your non-perishable items first. You should be able to check off a majority of your shopping list, so that during your second trip to pick up your perishable and last minute items, you will have to spend a lot less time in the grocery store. Who knows, you may even be able to hop right on the express line. Don’t forget your list, we want to avoid unnecessary trips to the store.


Cleaning! I don’t know about you, but when I start cleaning before company arrives, I start to see dirt everywhere. The more I clean the more dirt I find. Before long I am saying OMG this house is a flipping mess. Does anyone experience this? Never the less, what I thought was going to take me an hour winds up turning into three, or four hours, and this is never a good thing when the company will be arriving at any moment.  Make a list of everything that you need to clean. Go room by room and list everything you need to clean. Once you completed that lovely task, set up a cleaning schedule. Plan backwards from the holiday, listing a few rooms to clean each day. With the exception of having to run a vacuum, and do a little spot cleaning, the goal is to have all your cleaning done a day or two before the actual holiday.


When you start to decorate your home do what makes you happy. Don’t be afraid to change things up from year to year. This used to be a struggle for me because I felt obligated to have all those sentimental ornaments and decorations out each year. By the time I was finishing putting all them out of them out, and on the tree, there was no room for anything else. Decorating is suppose to be fun and exciting, not boring and stressful like it had become for me. If you are ready to take the plunge then leave all those items up in the attic this year and start fresh with your own decorating. Perhaps going   cold turkey is not your thing? Start off slowly and scale back a little each year, while adding your own fun new decorations. Remember that your house is suppose to reflect your personality and make you happy!

Although there is still a lot to cover, I think we are well on our way to singing “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year,” instead of “It’s The Most Stressful Time Of The Year.” Be sure to join me on Wednesday for part two of this series, and again on Friday when we wrap it up.

In the meantime-

-prepare your Thanksgiving menu and create your shopping list

-plan a day this week when you will go shopping for all your non-perishable items

-raid your cupboards before you go shopping. There is nothing more annoying than purchasing something you already have

set up your cleaning schedule

-as you complete your shopping and cleaning, check it off your list, it’s very gratifying

-if you want to add something new into your Thanksgiving decor this year, and have not done so yet, don’t panic!

There is still time. Consider a simple DIY project..something as simple as a vase filled with fresh flowers, and a few scented candles can add a lot.

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