The key to a smooth sailing holiday celebration is to keep it simple! This one may seem obvious, but I am always surprised by how many people will try to go over the top during the holidays, especially when it comes to entertaining. As a general rule of thumb, “keeping it simple” is one of the many things I try to practice in my everyday life. From prior experience, I have found that three or four dishes done really well make much more of an impression than 10 dishes prepared mediocrely. I have been to countless Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners that will have a giant spread, and it is all average. Going to celebrations like that are good for the company and thats about it. That is all fine and dandy for those who don’t care about how their food tastes, but I want the food to be as memorable as all of the interactions I get to share with my family and friends.
As I mentioned before, I highly recommend making three or four dishes really well for any big holiday feast. I found the power in that last year when I went to my mom’s for Christmas dinner. She only made one dessert, and two or three side dishes in addition to her main course and it was probably the best meal she has ever made. I still think about the food she made for that meal and I still get excited about it! By preparing a dinner that way, it is much easier to pay attention to each and every detail though. Something as simple as homemade pie dough or whipped cream can make all the difference in the world!
I am also cutting back because I am finally realizing that the holidays are really stressful times! Every year I get excited about all of the things that I will make for the holidays, and almost every year I get extremely overwhelmed trying to find time to accomplish all of the tasks that I had set out. I will try to reinvent the wheel and I worry about something not coming out as planned. My solution to that problem has been to cut back. I had to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to have 10 side dishes with my Thanksgiving dinner, but I could do a third of that and still have a great meal. If I stick to things I know are good, it comes out even better! I’m not going to lie, I usually try one new thing every year, but trying one new thing each year is not nearly as stressful as trying to make a whole feast from recipes I have never tired.
This tip saved me for Thanksgiving and has made me realize that people really don’t miss all of the extra stuff! I definitely didn’t miss the extra dishes because I don’t really look forward to leftovers. I realize that everyone has their traditions, but I have had to break those for my own sanity. The only thing I hope for is that one person who reads this will be inspired to go against the grain and keep things simple this holiday season!