How To 'Do' The Holidays (While Planning A Wedding)
We host Thanksgiving every year. I'm happy to do this, and I enjoy preparing the table settings and arranging the decor. However, the only way this works every year, and I remain somewhat sane, is that I don't prepare all of the food.
I prepare the turkey, and Emma likes to make the potatoes and we often do one more vegetable dish. I also try to make at least one dessert. Everyone else coming brings food as well, and we end up with a great meal that we serve buffet style.
The key to sanity during busy seasons of life is preparation. This year, since the beginning of September we have hosted my son and daughter in law's wedding, celebrated 2 birthdays, had our daughter get engaged, hosted our annual Fall Fest. Coming up now is Thanksgiving next week, then the Ladies Christmas Tea at church (which I plan and prepare), our own Christmas preparations, Tim's 50th birthday on Christmas Eve, Christmas, then Emma's wedding, New Year's Eve, Lindsay's birthday on New Year's Day, and the next day our wedding anniversary.
This last half of the year is incredibly busy, even for me, so I am taking it one day at a time, walking in Grace, and preparing bit by bit for each event.
Right now Thanksgiving is a week away, and I thought I'd share our plans for that. One of the things I talk about all the time is how God knows what we are going to be facing and that He offers us Grace to deal with it. For example this year a grace is that we will only be having 14 people for Thanksgiving Dinner. That's our kids, their spouses, one grand-girlie, my parents and our friend Denny.
Last year, we had 12 of the same people (Lindsay and Joseph were with his family last Thanksgiving) plus Tim's brother's family which are 5 people and 2 other college girls for a total of 19! We had three tables in our living space.
It was wonderful, but I don't think I'd want to attempt that this year. I need a more laid back day, so I can mentally prepare for the next thing which is Christmas decor going up and our Ladies Tea at church on the 30th. God knows what I need and goes ahead of time working it all out.
Now, I say that I take one day at a time, but as a born event planner (though I am not a very organized person) when I have several events being prepared for at one time, my shopping trips become scouting trips for other things I need.
Right now in my bedroom I have centerpiece items for Emma's wedding, boxes of Christmas lights, a few new stockings, plaid paper napkins for the ladies tea, and a few Christmas gifts waiting to be wrapped.
The top take aways from this post should be
1. Walk in grace and pray - a lot!
2. Keep a running list of what you need for each event. Even if its just in your head.
3. When running errands keep your eyes open for the things you need for all your different events. You can mark your purchases off your lists as you go.
4. Buy online as much as possible. We ordered the bridesmaids dresses, Emma's dress, my dress, the guys ties, their vests and dress pants and more all online. They get delivered in just days, most of the time, and even with a short planning time, there is time enough to ship things back if they don't work.
5. Let other people help you. For us it may mean having a friend assemble the bridal bouquets, or picking a venue that does all the set up and clean up!
6. Keep things beautifully simple. Don't feel you have to do everything you see on Pinterest, or keep up with someone else.
These are my tips to enjoy the holidays and to plan other important events, and keep your sanity.
If you have tips on how you plan and prepare, I'd love to hear them!