Happy Homemade Holidays

For those who have made the mistake of asking me in the last five days, “What are you going to do next?” — a post, in detail.

Recipe note cards

I know I’ve reached a level of complete and total craziness after reading the November issue of Martha Stewart Living and agreeing with many of the items on her otherwise highly-annoying “gentle reminders” column.
This month’s reminders include: cleaning out the pantry, planning holiday menus, sending save-the-date cards for holiday parties you want to throw, purchasing wine and liquor for your parties, saving plastic containers to send home full of left-overs with guests, etc. Granted, I don’t have any China to set out, or silver to polish, but I am in charge of Christmas dinner this year and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t already been preparing.
Get to feed my family? Get to use all my cooking, organizational and prep skills at once? Get to wear an apron, swig wine and give gifts? I live for this stuff — the full Monica Geller mode. I’m considering having a dinner party at the beginning of the month to try out the menu and perfect any kinks. Want to come?
In the meantime, a holiday checklist for anyone interested in getting a jump start with me on Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year:

November

Thanksgiving Apron #2

Week 1: Holiday inventory — go through gifts you’ve purchased while gallivanting in the developing world (or the GAP) and make a list of who you’ve already got covered. Pat yourself on the back for thinking ahead. Before you get too carried away with the congratulatory margaritas, make a holiday budget. Focus on buying locally, in season and handmade.

Week 2: Address holiday card envelopes and hit the post office for stamps. Put out any Thanksgiving decorations and pay no attention to your messy patio. Leaves are so this season.

Week 3: Eat, drink, be merry! Make an annual gratitude list. (I’ll be enjoying my turkey dinner beachside. Along with several friends, I’ll be trading in my turkey for bikinis and kayaks). You can also choose to play betting games of your own or play online betting games like sports betting wyoming or the ones popular in your state. In fact, if you live in the Cowboy State, you’d already be aware that you can bet online on all of your favorite sports from the comfort of your own home! When it comes to games, you can try something nostalgic like a board game such as Magic: The Gathering or the ones like it. The games can be played online as well if you don’t have physical cards lying around. There might also be promotional codes (look for MTG arena codes) that you can get with the game to unlock powers or characters, which would help you to win battles in the game.

Week 4: Send holiday cards. Get supplies for homemade gifts and supplies for gift tags and wrapping. Will your knitting needles to obtain Go Go Gadget powers. Fire up the Singer and get your sewing projects started. Remember to enjoy these tasks. If you are stressed or annoyed or to worried you won’t finish it all — step away. Take a deep breath and a step outside on the patio to revel in Fall. Then sit your butt back down and get to work.

December

Ho Ho Ho Y'all

Week 1: Pull down Thanksgiving decorations and put up holiday decor. When in need of some inspiration, look up home dcor tips for some cheerful ideas like a custom neon holiday sign. Basic craft week: make gift tags, stamp tissue paper for wrapping paper, buy wrapping supplies — or better yet, reuse fabric, brown paper bags, tissue paper or newspaper. Make baking list for neighbors, coworkers and friends. Shop for remaining gifts. Host test dinner party for a few friends.

Week 2: Wrap. Make thank you cards. Shop for Christmas dinner ingredients that won’t spoil in the next two weeks (booze, baking staples, etc.) Don’t beat yourself up for having chocolate and wine for lunch. Run off those calories and your stress after dinner. Dig out your best silver teaware for when guests come to visit – you can never have enough sparkle during the festive season!

double chocolate brownies

Week 3: Bake! Pies, breads, cookies. Use gift tags, baking twine and a bit of creativity to wrap up a few sweets to send holiday cheer. Hand deliver — a perfect way to introduce yourself to new neighbors, or reintroduce yourself to those you haven’t spoken to since pie delivery last year. Also great holiday gifts for those service people you adore: the pedicure lady, the bagel man, the postal worker who lugged all those Mozambique goody bags for months, etc. Avoid enjoying these baked goodies by imagining the cute new dress you’ll rock come New Years. Go shop for the dress and resist urge to buy a size smaller “because you know you can lose that extra five pounds this month.” {Note to self: that never works and returns this time of year are a time hemorrhage.} Clean and prepare for company. Organize/borrow all serving platters you’ll need for Christmas dinner. Create a cooking schedule, giving yourself time to prepare some foods the day before so you aren’t in the kitchen all day when company is visiting. Order flowers for out-of-state relatives.

Grumpy Papi

Week 4: Eat, drink, worship and be merry! Take photos of your family half-awake Christmas morning and watch them threaten to pour that coffee on you “merrily” if you don’t step off. (Hi Dad!) Enjoy the time with family, relax, take lots of post-feast walks. Find yourself some mistletoe and a great set of lips to kiss when the ball drops.

January
Week 1: Send thank you notes. Celebrate another great holiday season pulled off without a hitch! Find a great yoga studio. Relax.

Three cheers to enjoying this holiday season and avoiding the stressful pitfalls that bring feelings of inadequacy. Instead, let’s celebrate what we can do!
~K