Time is flying and Thanksgiving is two weeks away. It is easy to get overwhelmed when there seems to be so many things happening. Some of us will be guests elsewhere. Some of us will be hosting loved ones in our home. No matter what your situation is, you can do a few things that will make Thanksgiving more Joyful and Joy filled for you and your family. To some extent, joy is a choice and is not based on circumstance. However, over scheduling and the chaos left in its wake can steal our joy. So, take some time to choose and prepare for joy!
5 Ways to Joyfully Prepare for Thanksgiving
1. Preliminary Considerations
Are you hosting or will you be a guest? If you are hosting will guests be contributing? If you are hosting and quests will be contributing, will you be making assignments or will it be potluck? Consider a simple menu of foods you can make ahead. Are there items your children or husband can help make?
If you are going to be a guest, what are you contributing? Even if the hostess is handling it all, it is a nice gesture to offer to bring something and to assist in the kitchen, even for clean up. Also, it is nice to gift the hostess with a flower arrangement or a beverage.
Once you can answer these questions you will have a better idea of how to plan. A plan is a Master Actualization Plan or MAP of what you want to do. A map shows where you are, your destination, and the possibilities. Like all maps it is a plan. A plan is a guide, it is not a straight jacket. Put the must haves in red, they are your priorities. Other things can be negotiable when life happens.
When you have your answers and make your plan, consider what can be made ahead, frozen and reheated. What can be in the slow cooker or cooked in a pressure cooker, freeing up the oven. Pies can be made the night before or can be bought frozen and baked while everyone eats dinner, or they can be bought fresh. Rolls can be made and rising while the turkey is finished being thawed and prepped to cook. You can also buy the rolls already cooked and just reheat them. Salads can be made the day before.
What about timing? For things that must be cooked on Thanksgiving Day, consider the time they need to cook to be served hot and schedule backwards. When considering the cooking time for the turkey, add time for it to rest before carving when it comes out of the oven.
2. Schedule with Care
Look at your current schedule. What are your "must do's" and "want to do's?" By all means do a few "want to" activities, but do not let them drive your life and your schedule, especially if you have young children. Make sure the schedule reflects your core priorities.
To prepare is to make oneself ready, its essence is to do what you can in advance. What can you do in advance to prepare at a smooth pace? If you are doing the 90 Day Ditch the Stress Victory Challenge, do not drop your 30 Minute Power Clean. It is a way to daily prepare to have a deep cleaned house when the big event arrives. This is fare less stressful than having huge days of deep cleaning.
4. Focus on Memory Making
Focus on memory making rather than focusing on activities. More and more places offer enticing activities. It is a good rule to avoid scheduling several back to back activities in one day. Choose one. Be careful about scheduling an activity each day, as well. Running from day to day can feel like a drag and can stress children and adults, as well.
Focus on creating simple family traditions that can recenter you each day. But keep them simple. It can be as simple as a Thankful Tree or each person mentioning something they are thankful for, before saying grace at the meal table.
Take time to debrief. To debrief is to discuss what worked, what didn't, what you want to continue as a must do, what you are ready to let go of, and what you want to do differently next year. The best time to do this is as close to Thanksgiving when the memory is fresh. This will help you not repeat mistakes in the future. This would be a good time to pencil in a light plan for next year!
As we do these things, I am confident that we can find joy in the journey through the Thanksgiving season.
Enjoy the Journey!
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This week's newsletter will be available via email through Monday, 14 November 2016, when the next Newsletter is scheduled to be released.