10 Holiday Planning Tips

Holiday Planning | Holiday planning help is right here! | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast 10 Holiday Planning Tips – Episode 307

Holiday planning help is right here! In this episode, we will discuss some ways to help you to plan ahead and keep that overwhelmed feeling away! I am happy to share with you some tips for making it work no matter what your day looks like.

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels, Inc. Media Angels membership site with great self-paced lessons and classes for your kids while you plan for the holidays.

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First things first, let’s talk. Do you have something hot or cold to drink? Are you sitting down? This is really important and I want your attention on this one. The most important thing about the holidays is not what the house looks like, what you are serving or who is coming over to the house (or where you are going.) The most important thing is to focus on the sentiment behind the day. If you ask a child what is their favorite things I guarantee it isn’t the house you live in, the car you drive or what you ate on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas or Easter. I bet it is the time you spent together and the fun they had doing things together with family members.

If you’ve lost a loved one as many of us have, the holidays can bring back painful memories, but we must praise God that we had our loved ones as long as we did — even if it was for a short time. The experience of knowing someone and the impact on our lives will change us forever and this memory alone should encourage us to forge good and strong alliances with our children.

Remember the theme for the various holidays are similar:

Thanksgiving is gratitude and thanking God for all things.

Christmas is for giving the way our Lord was given to us by God the Father. We celebrate by the awe of the Nativity and give to others.

Easter is for the grace given to us by the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessing this is for our life as a Christian.

All three major holidays reflect the theme of gratitude, thanksgiving, awe, grace, and ultimately joy! Doing things for others will increase this feeling of joy — and by serving we receive so much more!

What needs planning?

  1. Homeschooling – still need to school right?
  2. Baking/Cooking—sure if you plan on cooking
  3. Shopping – budgeting
  4. Decorating house?
  5. Clothing—church service? Or family party.

Of course, there are many subdivisions in each of these points. So, what I’d like to share is ideas for different age children dealing with your homeschooling.

  1. Don’t change your schedule for the first two weeks of Nov. but consider adding topics dealing with the holiday – whether it is Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter.
  2. If you have little children, replace their fun time activities with crafts and things you can use with decorations.
  3. For older teens, they will more than likely school up to Thanksgiving week, although I always took off the week of Thanksgiving. Kids could catch up with their work, or finish us their assignments or help!

Okay, here we go! 10 Holiday Planning tips that won’t break the bank and will get a jump on whatever season you are approaching.

  1. The list. What does your list look like? If you have our planners try the 4-Square approach. That is my go-to for a one-page list of everything that needs to get done. Each month I give away a planner to our subscribers at the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network. These planners are so helpful! I break a sheet of paper into 4 grids (2 across and 2 down) with the headings of faith, kids, school and household. For the holidays you may add a planner that says the specific goals you want to achieve. My headings for Thanksgiving look like this: Faith, Menu, Buy/Make ahead, That Day
  2. Next is to plan on doing things incrementally. As homeschool moms, you can’t do everything at once. Your plans need to be realistic. Make a list, and circle things you might get done today – the rest leave for another day! Organize your time and start early. If you haven’t don’t worry — I working on another podcast with last minute holiday tips! If you can bake a casserole, let’s say mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, au gratin or scalloped potatoes, that freezes very well. Make ahead rolls or cookie mix. Pull it out of the freezer the day before and thaw in the refrigerator. For roll,s you may want to take them out of plastic bags and allow them to thaw at room temperature.
  3. Keep decorating cost down by making it yourself. I used cheap plastic shower curtain rings and wrapped them with ribbon. A craft the kids helped me with and glued the end down. These were our napkin rings. If you have cloth, great. If not paper works well. They can do this while you read to them.
  4. Four weeks before if possible Who is coming? Figure out your guest list so you can plan. OR if you are going to someone’s house what are your bringing?
  5. Three weeks before planning your menu if you are hosting a meal. I’ve had Thanksgiving at my home for the last 15 years or so, with a big crowd. This year it is immediate family only. Only 15 counting grandkids. I will use one big table with added smaller tables attached and have a buffet. My meal is the same each year, a small ham, lasagna, and a small turkey with plenty of sides, fruit tray, cheese, and cracker tray. My family loves appetizers and one of the only times they have them is on the holidays. These I buy frozen or make my own. Spinach dip, mini-hotdogs, mini-pizza bites, and a baked cheese (recipes in November planner!)
  6. Two weeks before shop for your ingredients, look for sales and buy ahead whenever you can.
  7. One week before (or sooner) prepare the baked casseroles and the items you can easily freeze and thaw. For example, my lasagna is already made and waiting in the freezer! You can keep lasagna for six weeks although ours never lasts that long.
  8. Room arrangement. Do you need to bring extra chairs (or have guests bring them or tables?) Do you need to move back the couch or other furniture? Decide how you will set your table. Are you fancy or simple? I have tablecloths I purchased after the holiday and keep that year after year for events. I like fresh flowers my one big splurge but I can keep the cost under $20 easily with foliage from outdoors and baby’s breath. I love that stuff! I also reuse glass flower containers. This year since I’m not going fancy I’ll use mason jars with festive ribbon.
  9.  One day ahead. When will you begin your bigger roasts? I’ve cooked the ham the day ahead and it has been fabulous heated up. I wrap it tight and place it in a warm oven so it doesn’t dry out. Prepare your turkey the day before. Did you brine it? Or do you need to prep it for baking? I do it ahead of time and place it in the baking dish so all I have to do is put it in the oven. This year I may add stuffing to the turkey since it is way smaller than years past. I also chop or get any dips or cheese ready. My husband loves this job because he eats as he does it. So nice to have the cheese in little cubes and ready to toss on a tray.
  10. The day of the event. Smile, pray to the Lord that all goes well and dig in! Get the kids to help with setting the tables or arranging things, putting out crackers, etc. Put the turkey in at the right time to allow it to rest about 30 minutes or more before carving and serving. Be sure to pull out your casseroles and leave them on the counter. Cold lasagna will take two times as long to bake as cool lasagna!

Enjoy your holidays, it’s all about the friends and family — remember that. The food is an added blessing and we must be thankful in all we do. Be sure to look at our free planners available each month with your subscription to the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network. Please share this epsiosde with a friend!

 

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