20 Nov 2015

Preparing for the Holidays

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Everybody loves the holidays. There’s the feel of winter, warm drinks and sweaters, sales of all sorts, and the anticipation of holiday dinners. Everybody hates what comes with the holidays: travel, money being spent, unexpected surprises, cooking and cleaning, and a million other things.

Every year people try to prepare themselves for the holidays to make it easier, quicker and somehow smoother than the year before. It’s ironic. While one makes all these plans and tries to stay one step ahead, some things just can’t be controlled. Here are a few things that you can consider to help with the preparations.

Prepare for the weather. Yes, it’s going to be cold. Yes, everybody thinks there may be a chance of snow. But prepare for the worst. Inclement weather happens to derail the best laid plans. This is especially important for those travelling home for the holidays.

This year, according to polls, an estimated 98.6 million people will travel to spend time with relatives. That’s 4% higher than last year. Of those millions of travelers, approximately 66% plan to drive due to the lower gas costs, while 5.7 million people will take to the air. With that in mind, think about which days to travel. The heaviest days of travel will be November 26th, 30th, and December 1st. 2015 is looking to have the highest peak travel since 2001. If you’re flying get to the airport early. Check in online 24 hours prior to arriving to avoid the long lines. If you’re driving, plan the best time to leave to avoid rush hour in major cities. Fill up your gas tank and pack the night before. Bring snacks. Plan an alternate route in case traffic gets stuck or bad weather strikes.

If you’re the host, buy extra food. Yes, I know how silly that sounds, but if bad weather hits your guests may be sticking around for an extra day or two and you may not be able to get to a store. Clean up the areas that guests will be in. Dig out all the plates, glasses and silverware, including serving utensils, and clean them. That may be as simple as running them through the dishwasher, but may involve silver polish for some. Plan the meal and the seating arrangements. An average of 9 to 20 people enjoy the holiday dinners together, mostly family, so seating arrangements can require a degree in diplomacy, and timing all of the side dishes to be ready at the same time might involve a minor in the culinary arts. Remember that some parts of the meal can be made in advance, and some appetizers and desserts are better served cold.

For some people, the clearing and cleaning can be overwhelming beforehand and depressing afterwards. We are familiar with ways to straighten up and how best to store the holiday supplies. If you can’t pressgang friends or relatives, we can help.

Whether you’re home or away, be warm, be safe and enjoy good times with friends and family.

About the Author

works mostly behind the scenes at Conquer the Clutter, supporting Maria's efforts to make the world a neater place to live.

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