I really do.
The thought of planning toward next year’s holiday season when you’re in the frantic depths of this one probably makes you want to throw up a little bit in your mouth.
I get it.
But I promise you, it can be a secret weapon. And if you use this technique, as it compounds through the years, much of what makes you a little crazy this time of year can be mitigated in years to come.
Sure, it sounds a little too good to be true.
But if a messy creative like me conducting a brood as big as mine has seen dividends, I’m betting you will too.
So here’s the secret sauce.
And then get proactive.
Let’s unpack that.
For several years, the same issues kept cropping up, holiday after holiday, that made me frenetic, frazzled, and less than festive. As much as I love the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s sprint, I was skidding into the new year exhausted from the celebrations of the last few weeks.
Prepping for Thanksgiving was a frustrating flurry of trying to hunt down recipes, creating shopping lists, trying to remember what adjustments I’d made to recipes but hadn’t recorded anywhere, arriving home from a monster grocery shopping and only then remembering that I also needed to get some errant can of sweetened condensed milk. I’d sort of chalked up the whole experience to, “Well, that’s just Thanksgiving.”
And then revelation dawned.
A few years ago, I paid attention. And I got proactive.
Instead of writing my Thanksgiving plans on the back of the envelope of an electric bill, I rambled to my computer. And typed it in.
And then I got even more bold.
On that same document, I recorded a menu list, including appetizers, desserts, and beverages.
Then I went one more step.
And took the time to record all the recipes on that document as well.
And from those recipes, composed a complete shopping list.
Even though I have those recipes in a collection of recipe cards and family cookbooks and bookmarked websites, I collated them all onto one document. Now, if you’re sentimental about pulling out the recipe card that has Grandma’s writing on it for her shortbread, fine. Scan that baby and insert it onto your document.
And then this.
Upload the whole kit and kaboodle to Google Drive or other cloud-based service. And make sure you’ve got the corresponding app on your phone.
Can I just tell you?
Next year, it will be one of the best things you’ve done for yourself this year. Your future self is going to thank you so much.
Do the same thing with whatever other culinary obligations you usually have this time of year. The cookie decorating party list. The Yuletide brunch. It’s going to take a bit of time investment this year, and it will pay big dividends the next. And then the next.
This past week, I had an unexpected break in the action one day between appointments. I was able to zip into my local grocery store, pull up my Thanksgiving document on my Google Drive, and in that little gift of an hour, got all of my main Thanksgiving shopping done.
Thank you, past self, for investing in this week’s self. You’re a peach.
I’ve done the same thing with my massive Christmas card mailing list and process. I’m working on it with other legacy events and experiences that have become part of our family’s traditions.
There are still plenty of other twists and turns in this span of weeks in which we celebrate and party and shop and wrap and otherwise generally exhaust ourselves as family managers. But where you can, exercise a little mental spa treatment proactivity for yourself. Notice what has you feeling bananas this year. Strategize what could minimize part of the bananas mania. Take some notes. Create some simple processes.
And make next year’s holiday season a little brighter.
You’ll thank yourself.
And if you’d like a free pdf download of my Thanksgiving meal plan, with the menu, the secret family recipes, and the shopping list, I’d love to send it to you! Just click on the link below: