Preparing for the Holidays
November has come, and the Halloween decorations are being packed away. Now comes the big social months of the year. Thatís right, itís time to plan for the holidays already. But if you prepare now, before the holidays are right upon us, you will save yourself the last minute headache that seems to come every year.
It can seem at times that November is the quiet month before the big December holidays of Christmas and Boxing Day. However, if you take the time to prepare your home throughout November, youíll be able to celebrate both the big December holidays and the smaller November holidays in style.Get your decorations in order now. Begin to make your home look festive and joyful. By the time Thanksgiving comes to the United States on November 24th, and the start of Advent comes to the world on November 27th, youíll be well into the holiday spirit and ready to celebrate with family and friends.
A great way to make a successful transition in decorating between the November fall holidays and the December winter holidays is to choose neutral bases that can be easily accessorized. For example, a blend of various types of greenery at the base of a centerpiece can have the traditional orange and red berries and leaves added to it for your November entertaining. But once they have passed, more traditional December decorations like holly and poinsettias can be added quickly and efficiently.
When it comes to your holiday table, focus on dishes that can be prepared ahead of time and stored. Certain side dishes, pies, cakes, and cookies can be prepared now and frozen or placed in the pantry for holiday dinners and parties. By getting those taken care of ahead of time, youíll help to minimize the feeling of a ďchicken with its head chopped offĒ that seems to be omnipresent during the holidays. Often, you can garnish those items at the last minute with various sweets or sauces and make it look as if you slaved over the stove all day when you really were able to relax with a cup of holiday cheer.
One of the most stressful parts of the holidays, both mentally and monetarily, can be gift-giving. As wonderful of a feeling as it is to give someone a gift you know theyíll love, itís equally as frustrating when you have no idea what to get someone. When gift givers seem to have it all, it can seem impossible to find something that they would love thatís within your budget. The best idea for the person who has it all is something that they can enjoy and then itís done.That way, they can create a new memory of your gift without having something else to clutter up their home.Some great gifts along this line include a gift card from the local movie theater, a pass to the local museum or zoo, or tickets to an upcoming play or musical. For some people, the best choice would be something edible that you know theyíll enjoy.Maybe a mix for their favorite cookies, a box of choice candies, or even a gift certificate for an evening out on the town would tickle their taste buds.
Even more embarrassing is when someone arrives at your doorstep with a beautifully wrapped package for you, and you donít have a matching one for them. But you can avoid this situation by having a stock of gifts that are quite lovely but are not purchased with a specific person in mind. Again, something small but of high-quality in an edible format is often well-appreciated by almost anyone. Beautiful chocolates, high-end cookies and biscotti, and an assortment of flavored teas and coffees are always welcome and in good taste. Have at least a half dozen of these sets purchased, wrapped, and available with a discrete marking coding it so that you know what is in the package. When someone arrives with a gift for you, you can pick up one of these packages as if it were meant from them all along.
These next few weeks are a great time for you to get ready for the holiday rush. Order anything you need now while the post systems arenít so overwhelmed that they take longer or force you to spend more for expedited service. Thanksgiving and the beginning of the month of Advent are coming, and then Christmas and Boxing Day will be here before you know it. Prepare now, and be able to truly enjoy the time with your family and friends.
About the Author: Jane S. Roseen is the Owner and President of Harmony Sweets, an international gourmet chocolate shop. Harmony Sweets' mission focuses on individual consumers purchasing gourmet chocolates from around the world for their friends and relatives, as well as corporate gift giving. Gourmet chocolate gift baskets and personalized chocolates are also available.