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Tips for the Holidays

Plan Ahead: Bake and Freeze

I make my yam casserole  and cranberry salad  in early November and freeze them to be ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I freeze the yam casserole in plastic ziplock bags instead of baking pans to take up less room.

I bake cookies early for our annual cookie exchange with the neighbors or to be ready for unexpected guests and unplanned events. I freeze them in labeled containers.

I gift my husband’s offices banana bread, cranberry nut bread, glazed lemon bread, pistachio bread, poppy seed bread, or zuccinni breads. I use small loaf pans so each office employee can receive an individual loaf. I freeze the bread ahead of time and label the containers.

Shop Early and Online

I avoid crowds. It takes the holiday spirit out of this shopper when f I have to fight traffic and deal with too many people. Besides, I like getting packages brought to my door.

I make sure to stock up on little gifts to have on hand for overlooked people or unexpected guests that might come during this time.

Keep it Simple

Christmas lights cover lack of decorations. A cheery flickering light can take the gloom out of a dark corner and make thoughts happy.

My boys do not enjoy decorating the Christmas tree so I don’t make them. I just have a semi-decorated tree, or what I call a ‘rustic’ tree.

Placing ornaments in a vase adds color and is very simple.

Elaborate crafts and projects at holiday times makes for a crabby me. I allow crafts for the boys who enjoy them, but keep it simple. Gingerbread houses that I must make are not fun for anyone.

When things get too complicated, I get crabby. I remind myself to just do the next step.

Don't Over-Schedule

Learn to say ‘no’. When children or their parents are overtired, nobody enjoys holiday events.

Slow down. Savor the moment. Don’t rush to the next event.

Sleep makes for happy people. 

Eat Better

Holidays are eating time. We eat more with friends because we eat without thinking--much of our eating, especially during the holidays, is habit without thought. (Do you really like pumpkin pie? Or do you just eat it because it’s the season?)

Use smaller dishes, they make portions look bigger.

Eat slowly. I grew up with five sisters, if I didn’t grab it all the first time, it was gone. I still wolf down my food, especially watching my boys eat.

Make seconds hard to get, for you.

You don’t have to try everything. You don’t have to try a lot of everything. You don’t have to try a lot of everything now.

You don’t have to eat what others eat. (I learned early in our marriage that my husband’s metabolism runs high. If I tried to eat what he ate, I wouldn’t be able to get through the door!)

Give your body a chance to feel full before you feel sick. If you forget, mint tea helps!

Use Common Sense

Remember why we have the holidays. Christ will still be found in the holidays when you shine His light and reflect His peace. 


What tips do you have to share to make the holidays more enjoyable?

Good common sense, which unfortunately is not so common! People seem to forget that the holidays are to enjoy and to worship, when we lose that we lose it all. Thanks for the reminder. (And see you soon I hope!)

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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