Welcome guest blogger, Linda Samuels of Oh, So Organized!…
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays to host. The house is filled with the wonderful scents of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie along with the loving energy from our family and friends. Gratitude graces the day. It’s also a holiday that can make us feel more disorganized and frazzled than usual. Below are some tips to help you decrease the stress and increase the joy.
- Review Thanksgivings past. We’ve all had Thanksgiving mishaps and successes. Before doing anything else, reflect about these. What worked? What didn’t? What would have made the holiday flow better? One year our turkey caught on fire. It tasted fine (a bit smoked), but it ruined our oven. We made some adjustments the following years – new oven, less basting. The incident became part of our Thanksgiving lore, which always makes us laugh.
- Work the list. Whether you like paper, electronic, or auditory formats, using lists will help keep you focused and more organized. Customize according to your style. If you like sticky notes, use those. If you like voice reminders, use them. I prefer to use two simple lists stored on my computer that I revise and print out each year. The main list has the overall plan for the day, which includes guest count, foods guests are bringing, menu and to dos. The second list is the shopping list. Crossing items off as they’re completed is satisfying and visually turns my attention to the next action item.
- Accept help. We often prefer to do it all. We shy away from delegating and refuse offers of help. Consider that family and friends want to participate. They like to help by bringing food, clearing tables, refilling ice buckets, cleaning dishes, serving dessert, taking out the garbage or putting back the furniture. Learn to graciously say “yes.” Your guests will feel more comfortable and you will feel less stressed.
- Practice self-care. We can work ourselves into a frenzy of activity while hosting a big event like Thanksgiving. Remember to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, nutrition and hydration before and after the big day. Good self-care will keep crankiness at bay and increase your ability to enjoy the moments more fully.
- Slow down. It takes many hours to prepare a Thanksgiving feast. It has always amazed me how quickly it gets eaten. Instead, as writer DeeAnne White says, practice “the elegance of slow” by pacing the meal. You will enjoy more leisurely conversations and appreciate the delicious food.
- Take a gratitude break. Especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the Thanksgiving whirlwind, just stop, breathe and take a few moments express gratitude. Are you thankful for the time with your family? Are you grateful to have enough food to share? Identify something and pause to acknowledge it.
I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful, organized and joyful holiday. What is your favorite Thanksgiving tip or story?
Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® is a compassionate, enthusiastic professional organizer and founder of Oh, So Organized! (1993), author of The Other Side of Organized and blogger on organizing and life balance. She has been featured in The New York Times, Woman’s Day, Bottom Line Personal, Westchester Magazine and Everyday with Rachael Ray.