Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stress Free Holidays

Christmas is rapidly approaching and it is easy to become stressed as we look at our shopping list and busy calendar. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the Holidays
      Entertaining during the Holidays is my favorite activity.  Each year my husband, Dale, and I have a Holiday Open House for friends, family and associates. This requires planning.
       1. Once you have selected the date and time make your invitation list
       2. I purchase invitations at the end of the season. I save money and eliminate the stress of shopping for invites at the last minute. Then am prepared to address invitations several weeks in advance, mailing them approx. two weeks prior to party
       3. Next plan the menu. Keeping it simple with items which can be prepared in advance.
       4. Make of a list of all ingredients needed and purchase non-perishable items.
       5. Two to three weeks prior to Open House baking of cookies and desserts begins - making items which can be frozen.
       6. Make a schedule: When to remove items from freezer, what items to make ahead of the party - showing date of preparation and I even list time of day to do last minute food preparation.
       7. Early in the week set your buffet table - trays, dishes, centerpiece, plates, napkings, etc.
       8. I write each food item to be served, on a small piece of paper and place it on the tray or dish. This eliminates last minute frustration trying to find the proper tray or dish for the items.  Also, if you have a friend assisting, she will know what your desire is.  In selecting the serving piece, I take into consideration color and type of food - resulting in a decorative and colorful table.
I realize this may sound too detail or organized but you will discover you will be relaxed when the guests arrive, giving you time to visit rather than being in the kitchen.
     During your preparation time, clean up as you go - loading the dishwasher or hand wash equipment and return unused food and items back to their proper place.

      I hope these tips will help you have a most enjoyable stress free Holiday.
      And to you, your family and friends - MERRY CHRISTMAS