Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stress-Free Holidays!

The year we were married, my parents (both sets) were out of town. C's mom was single, and Thanksgiving rolled around with no invitations, so we held it in our tiny little shack and invited C's mom. I have a major aversion to partially cooked poultry. Any red even on the bone is cause for shutting down my salivation glands, and churning up my stomach, and so when I discovered a pre-cooked smoked turkey that year, I was willing to give it a go. I woke up the morning of Thanksgiving and rushed around in a panic. C looked at me and said, "What are you doing?"

I replied that I was TRYING to get dinner ready.

"No, why are you acting like this?"

It caused me to take a moment to reflect. It wasn't that I didn't like to cook. I had been cooking for years and was very good at it. My mom had us cooking and baking from scratch as children. As a teenager I cooked meals for the whole family 2-3 times a week. My dad had been a chef and was always throwing new ideas my way. Food was always exciting. My paternal grandfather was always creating new recipes and my grandmother made everything including her own pet food. I grew up hearing stories about the amazing cooking skills of my ancestors. It was in my blood!

From age 18-21 I was the lone cook for a home for paranoid schizophrenics and so I learned how to quickly cook large quantities of food with ease. Still, stressing and panicking was what mom ALWAYS did on Thanksgiving morning. She stressed and stressed until everyone else around her was stressed, too. It was as much a part of Thanksgiving as eating the meal.

C suggested I start a new tradition called "Stress-Free Holidays." Doubtful, I thought I would give it a whirl. I had plenty of time to make the pumpkin pie, the dressing, the turkey, the cranberries, the yams, the gravy, the mashed potatoes, and more. It was easy, and I learned that those muscles C had popping out on his arms were just right for whipping out some amazing mashed potatoes.

Our first Thanksgiving was a hit. This year when C encouraged me not only to start early on Christmas shopping, but to finish early as well, I was thrilled. I took the challenge to heart and finished!

Here is my invitation to you: do what YOU need to so that you can enjoy a stress-free holiday, too! If it's too late this year, start early next year. Don't let the long lines and the crowded stores overwhelm you. Don't let the unspoken traditions and unnecessary preparations consume you. Enjoy the people you love, and let go of something that doesn't belong in the holiday section of your life. Join me for a stress-free holiday!


  1. I haven't started anything to do with christmas yet! But that doesn't bother me. I'm so laid back I'm near horizontal. It'll get done when it gets done, and if it doesn't get done then it won't annoy me, and the people it does annoy I don't care much for!! ha ha! I'm all for the stress free holidays :o) (We don't do thanksgiving, so that's just another holiday I don't have to be stressed about!) Enjoy your Thanksgiving and Christmas anyway - sounds like you're all set to have fun!

  2. That's awesome that you are so carefree! :)

  3. I enjoy stress-free holidays but I love your cooking even more! :)


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