Toffee Bars and How to Avoid the Holiday Stress

Hi everyone! As Thanksgiving and all the other holidays are approaching, I thought I would put on my therapist hat for a moment and touch on some Holiday related stress avoid-ers………

How to Take Back the Holidays With the Family

If holidays are supposed to be fun, why are we often so stressed out about them before, during and after? It is important to remember that the holidays are short lived, we’ve gotten through them before, and we if we just prepare mentally for even a minute before the crowd comes, we can stave off some of the tension that often accompanies the holiday season.

Practically speaking there are some very simple steps we can take to limit the amount of stress and increase the joy around this time:

* Don’t be a cooking martyr-ask for cooking help! If you cook EVERYTHING, you may feel overwhelmed and resentful. Most people don’t mind bringing a dish and enjoy feeling like they have contributed.

* Buy some of the dishes prepared and cook the other half

* If it is the mess you can’t stand, divide up the labor-ask certain family members or guests to help with the dishes, the putting away of the chairs and tables, the china, the silverware. Again, people like to feel like they are doing their part.

* Remember the “3 Ps”: Planning, Prep and Positivity:

Planning: If we plan our menu, our recipes, our shopping lists, our place settings, our decorations at least a week before , we will not feel the last minute crunch. Check lists are great for this.

Prep: make as much of the recipe as you can in advance by chopping vegetables and freezing them in ziplocs for a special holiday soup, making and freezing the cornbread for cornbread stuffing weeks before, or making cookie dough balls and freezing them in preparation for part of the holiday dessert . You will be surprised at how much prep can be done before hand to alleviate stress the day of the event. You may even be able to put your feet up before your guests arrive! There is no better antidote to entertaining stress than being well prepared.

Positivity: Trying to have a positive outlook on how the holidays will go can really change how we feel and behave. If we can just spend a minute before our guests arrive, reminding ourselves that we want to enjoy ourselves, that we will be prepared to try to let negative comments and/or behaviors roll off our backs , that what really matters is that everyone have a good time, we may actually be able to ignore comments and/or behaviors that would have upset us in the past. We may be able to laugh at the fact that Uncle Tim never helps while really appreciating the help we receive from cousin Barbara.

Being an observer at your own party can give you a clearer and more interesting perspective on why people behave as they do, instead of it being an irritant that bums you out.

Recipe for today: Check out this great and easy Toffee bar recipe, perfect for a rushed holiday season, that I just posted. Add to this recipe some confidence, calmness and love 🙂 and just enjoy yourself, like we did this weekend with ours. The second part of the video is on baristakids where you can see the finished product.


2 Responses

  1. since Thanksgiving at my house is still relatively new for me, i keep a list of the menu on the computer & update it afterwards comments so i can make changes for the next year. no need to rely on my failing memory! Happy Thanksgiving all! (p.s. just made your cranberry bread last night but had to have a piece. i'm not sure if it will make it to Thanksgiving! Making the pumpkin dip later.)

  2. Ellen-you are a wise woman! I try to do this too, and also write down the # of people and how much i made-was it enough, too much or too little?

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