Sunday, November 13, 2011

7 Tips for a Perfect Thanksgiving… and every other holiday

Thought a couple of easy would help make your holiday extra magical. And for my readers outside of the US, I think these tips could be great for your next holiday or party.

1. Nothing is perfect
If you take away the drive to have the “perfect” event, you instantly take off pressure and tell your mind to relax a bit. This is a cognitive tool that will free you to enjoy the process instead of focusing on perfection. Those of us who had Bridezilla moments can relate to the perils of seeking perfection in an imperfect world. So, when you find yourself stressing over perfection, remember, nothing is perfect – and that’s okay.

2. Time out
My gym gives its participants a little gift. It is open briefly on Thanksgiving morning. One of the employees, Pat, “gifts” a couple hours of her time to the members as a reminder to take time out for ourselves even on our most busy of days. So, even though you will find yourself resisting, take a little time alone. 15 minutes to read your favorite book, even a half hour to change before guests come while you catch up on a favorite TV show. Doesn’t matter what it is, just something you can do for YOU.

3. Backwards clock
Yeah, yeah, nothing is perfect. But you STILL have a lot to do for Thanksgiving. Try this tip. Write down everything you need to do, either the day before (or 2 days before if you are having lots of guests) or in the morning if you aren’t hosting or have a smaller crowd. After that, create a backwards clock timetable. Back up when you want things to be done cooking, when guests are coming, when the table needs to be set, etc. Back it up and assign it a time/ day. This can be your master planner for the holiday.

4. Double time yourself
Before you write your schedule in Sharpie, double time it. Add time, plain and simple. Think the potatoes will take ten minutes to peel? Please. Give it 20. What does this do? Prevents us from creating the all-too-common time bottleneck that comes from OVERESTIMATING our speed and efficiency. And a secret benefit? You will have extra time when some of those things on the list DON’T take twice the time you planned (see step 2).

5. The Lay Out
I have been using this simple trick for years. A couple of hours out, I pull out all the dishes AND servers I will need for the dinner/ appetizers. I personally hate the chaos of searching for a bowl when I have some item on the stove ready to go. I pull out the servers and put a tiny slip of paper in each of them, telling me what I am using them for (carrots, rolls, etc.) I have the memory of a gnat and this keeps me from walking around in circles when the heat is on. Works like a charm.

6. T-T-Triggers
We all have our triggers, the things or PEOPLE who set us off. Well, let’s think, 2-3 generations of family together, possible alcohol consumption and 4-6 hours confined together in a small space? Good Lord. Anything can happen. Consider what and WHO triggers you and WHAT you are going to do about it this year. Tired of getting drunk and spouting off or holding it in and being a punching bag? Forget it. Think about WHO or WHAT gets to you and do something different. I have this relative who used to drive me nuts. My best solution? Avoiding contact. I stopped getting into heated discussions because they led us both down a trigger filled path. We were both a lot happier. I just decided to stop falling for my trigger. What trigger can you do different?

7. The Big T
No matter what goes on this holiday, if you are buried in guests or in a small crowd bereft of family, or even flying solo, no matter what, take a minute to figure out what you are grateful for. Take a little bit of time and talk, write or think about all the good in your life, all that you are thankful for. And, I suspect, if you have internet and a computer, that means you have electricity, a home, probably more than so many other people on this beautiful planet.

After all.....He who sits by the fire, thankless for the fire, is just as if he had no fire. Nothing is possessed save in appreciation, of which thankfulness is the indispensable ingredient. But a thankful heart hath a continual feast.
W.J. Cameron

Here are some great Thanksgiving quotes!

1 comment:

  1. Backwards clock sounds good to me. I always end up running late no matter what. I think this might help!