Today 70 percent of moms are working outside of the home, however there is more cultural pressure today to have the “picture perfect” Christmas. Family photographs in coordinated outfits for your Instagram
followers. Pinterest worthy, beautifully wrapped gifts arranged “just-so” under the gorgeously decorated tree. And family fun for all to see on your Facebook
page. If we can’t do it that way, we begin to feel inadequate, frustrated and guilty. All of this adds to the stress that so many people feel around the holidays.
People often confuse organizing and simplifying. The difference is when you organize, you’re just reshuffling the same list of things that you’ve always done and what you expect you should do. However, when you simplify, you’re actually eliminating a lot of things you feel you have to do. Simplifying is not about being more efficient and learning to do more in less time. The whole idea of simplifying is about DOING LESS, so that you have
the time to enjoy your family and friends more. People want to do less. Yet, they feel guilty if they cut back.
I am here to give you permission to stop doing things and start enjoying the upcoming holiday season.
Here is one way I SIMPLIFY my Thanksgiving meal. I make my mashed potatoes ahead of time- up to a month before the big meal.
Assembly Directions: Peel and quarter potatoes. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover completely
with water. Bring to a boil, and then gently cook until tender. Drain well. In a large bowl, combine
potatoes, cream cheese, egg(s), garlic powder and salt. Mash well by hand or with an electric mixer.
Spoon potatoes into spray-treated or greased 3-quart casserole or 9 x 13 pan. Drizzle or brush
melted butter over potatoes. Sprinkle with Chives (optional)
Place in freezer bags or rigid containers. Seal, label and freeze.
Thaw completely. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown. Slow
cooker: Reheating with the slow cooker works best when the mashed potatoes have been thawed in the
refrigerator. Add the potatoes to the slow cooker and heat on low for 2 to 4 hours and then turn on warm to
hold the temperature
Comments: These can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Options: 1/4 C. of crumbled, crisp bacon may be
stirred in for great flavor. Potatoes may also be topped with 1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese, or sliced
Note: Use High-starch, thick-skinned potatoes, like Russets Potatoes. They fall apart during the cooking
process, mash up light and fluffy, and absorb butter and cream like a dream. Mashing the other types of
potatoes will result in a gummy, gluey texture.
Other Ways to Simplify a Holiday Meal
• Delegate tasks.
Don’t take on the responsibility of making everything work and look perfect. After making your “to do” list, break it up between family members according to age, maturity, and physical ability to get the task done.
• Request kitchen help.
Sure, it’s your home. But it’s your family attending the celebration. Ask them to lend a hand cleaning up after the festivities are over. If you can’t get yourself to ask for help, leave the mess for the following day and hire a maid to come in for a day.
• Pot luck the meal.
Just because the dinner is taking place in your home doesn’t mean you have to foot the bill or make all the dishes. Ask each visitor to bring a dish, and don’t be afraid to specify what you would like each guest to bring.
• Prepare meals ahead of time.
Making part of the meal beforehand can save time the day of the get together. Prepare one dish a day and freeze or refrigerate that meal. Reheated food really isn’t that bad and you’ll have more time to mingle and laugh with your guests, instead of missing out on all the fun.
The holidays should be about precious time spent with family and friends, not about perfection. Make a plan ahead of time and enjoy the day!