I don’t want to alarm you, darlings, but Hanukkah begins tomorrow, AND there are just a few more weeks until Christmas. In other words, the holidays are upon us. Planning is the key to enjoying all of the festivities that the holiday season has to offer without feeling frenzied. Here’s how preparation can save your holiday sanity…and where to start!
Image via QuinnCooperStyle
Stock up on essentials
Around the holidays people will frequently drop by unexpectedly, or one is invited to a holiday gathering at the last moment. Stock up on necessities, so you don’t have to scramble to enjoy the season.
Here’s my suggestion: If people tend to stop by your home this time of year, keep the ingredients for a quick appetizer and cocktails on hand at all times. Think non-perishable such as a cheese tray with dried apricots, nuts and honey. (Gourmet cheeses, thanks to aging, tend to have very long shelf lives.)
Red wine is optimally served at about 60 to 65 degrees, but it’s certainly acceptable to serve red wine at room temperature, making it an easy libation to have on hand. Finally, keep one or two wrapped hostess gifts tucked away. Trust me; these ready-to-go gifts will be a lifesaver at least once this holiday season!
If you are PLANNING on having guests over for the holidays and you need some entertaining inspiration, last year I shared three of my favorite holiday recipes: Latkes, beef tenderloin and apple pie. If you’d like to revisit those recipes, they can be found here. And speaking of latkes…
A quick note about Hanukkah
I know that so many of you celebrate Christmas and I know that you are likely in the throes of many weeks of celebration leading up to Christmas day.
In my opinion, the two most beautiful and festive holidays of the year take place in December, and though they are different, they are also very similar. Families gather together to celebrate the occasions, the avenues in our cities are lit up, and lights shine in our homes. Christmas trees light many of your homes, and a lit menorah illuminates mine.
Hanukkah celebrates the Jewish people’s victory over the Syrian Greek army that led to restoring and rededicating the Holy Temple back to the Jewish peoples in 165 B.C. Hanukkah, which is Hebrew for “dedication” is the Festival of Lights.
Though Christmas is magical and there is love and sharing in the air, I realized at a young age that Christmas was not my holiday. Christmas belonged to my Christian friends. Hanukkah belonged to me. I would delight in sharing Christmas with them, and they would delight in sharing Hanukkah with me.
For my non-Jewish darlings who would like to learn more about Hanukkah and what life was like as a Jewish girl growing up surrounded by Christmas in a small town, please read my story here. How do you think I felt? The answer may surprise you.
Store extra gifts
No matter your religion, it’s hard to survive the holiday season without gifting and giving holiday gifts has always been a joy for me! That is unless…have you ever been caught off guard when someone you know gives you a gift unexpectedly? I certainly have!
Stock up on some universal gifts — luscious candles are always divine. At the end of the season, you can always return what you don’t end up giving away or simply save for an upcoming birthday.
As far as shopping goes, I do recommend you finish shopping as early as possible. When you are out rushing around to pick up last minute gifts, you don’t have the chance to truly enjoy the holidays. If you typically ask for a wish list from family members, get it early. If you hand-select gifts that you think will delight, as I do, starting early make the experience all the more magical.
Card via postable.
Electronic holiday cards… a holiday blessing!
Preparing and sending holiday cards can be a huge time-consuming task. Thank goodness for technology. Thanks to sites like Postable.com, a company that mails real paper cards to everyone on your list, this task can be made stunningly simple.But crossing one thing off your to do list does NOT mean you have time to do it all. We have to pick and choose, don’t we? Yes, life is full of decisions and priorities.
Remember, darlings, to prioritize! The most meaningful aspect of the holidays is spending time with the people you cherish. You can’t attend every party or volunteer at every charity event and still stay sane. Prioritize your commitments and your celebrations and always, always embrace the moments that come your way with joy and love.
I would so love to hear about your holiday traditions and festivities. Do tell! And, to my Jewish darlings, I wish you each a very happy Hanukkah. Please share your thoughts with me via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or in the comments section below.
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