Ever since Halloween was approaching – way back in October (how time flies!) – I wanted to write this post about the holidays. The sometimes “dreaded” holidays that are supposed to be happy times, but can be so stressful with all the errands and the events and the parties and the pressure 🙁 Let’s not even talk about getting the house cleaned before and after, decorating, organizing and shopping for dinners and all the other stuff your guests don’t see or won’t know about.
It’s very tempting to take a 4-week vacation in December or to go into hibernation, but with some careful planning it doesn’t have to be that bad. This planning applies to parties and dinners, but also to your survival of the holidays without throwing your healthy eating habits to the wind.
Give yourself enough time to get organized and start planning at least two-three weeks (or months for the type A’s) in advance. I use idea/mind mapping, mini-lists and my calendar to help me stay sane and enjoy the holidays too.
For your dinner or party:
- Make your guest list and send invites by mail or email
- Break up housecleaning tasks in small, daily chores so you will not be overwhelmed.
- Set up your menu (be flexible because things may change), starting with the main entrees, adding the sides, appetizers and desserts.
- Build your shopping list from the menu items.
- Enlist family members to bring a dish to take some pressure off yourself, because you will have enough with hosting the event and cooking.
- Create a list of items you will need, such as tablecloth, napkins, plates, etc. It will keep you sane in a hectic time and you will not forget anything.
- Make a list of party games or activities if you plan to entertain.
- Assign a “clean up” crew of family and friends if you don’t have a cleaning lady.
- Keep track of all this on one sheet with your own mindmap, yes it will all fit!
For gift giving:
- Make your list of recipients.
- Add a gift to their name of something that you know or think they would like. Not knowing what to get adds stress to your shopping.
- Stock up on gift wrap and ribbons.
- Buy the gifts off-season or during the least busy time of the day if you can.
- Collect all gifts in a room or closet.
- Wrap as you go (don’t forget to label the gifts) or dedicate one day for gift-wrapping.
To find more organizing ideas: Get Organized Now!
- Select which ones you will attend. Yes, it’s okay to be selective and decline invitations if it means you will be stretched too thin!
- Mark your calendar.
- Find out what the proper attire is, whether you are bringing a gift, etc.
- Go shopping to get what you need at least 1-2 weeks before the event. Or go closet-shopping. There maybe something in there you have not worn yet.
- Schedule your hair and nail appointments at the salon or at home.
- Give yourself enough time to get there, because traffic can be awful during the holidays.
- Best way to survive holiday eating is to relax and avoid “all or nothing” thinking. There is no point in punishing yourself by not eating some of the food you really enjoy; a small piece is better than nothing.
- Instead of skipping dessert try some low carb, low-cal alternatives like strawberries and whipped cream with a thin slice of angel food cake.
- Tiramisu has mascarpone cheese, a source of protein and fat.
- Avoid chocolate bars, baked goods like cakes, cookies, brownies because they contain lots of sugar and trans fats.
- Dark chocolate (70-80% cocoa) is healthier thank milk chocolate.
- European chocolate is less sweet, but creamier and more satisfying.
- Eat small portions of bread, mashed potatoes and other simple carbs or skip some of them.
- Enjoy a slice of pie, with light cream on top instead of vanilla ice cream.
- Eat some carbs to feel satisfied but in moderation.
You can get these and other tips in the The No-Diet Plan. (sorry, no longer available)
There you have it! My way of beating the holiday blues and stress. How do you handle yours? Do share in the comments section below so everyone can learn.
Happy Holiday Planning!