The holidays are fast approaching. Are you starting to panic? Don’t worry. Take a deep breath. There is still time to plan. The key is a successful holiday season is creating a comprehensive plan.
Step 1 – Brainstorm
Sit down with your immediate family and decide how you want to celebrate the holidays. Where do you want to spend your time? At home with local family or friends, or do you want to travel to be with loved ones? For some, the holidays are about tradition, and where to celebrate may be part of that tradition.
Once you have made this decision you are ready to involve others. Make some phone calls or send an email to see if your plans will work out for everyone else. The earlier you express your desires the better. You will be more likely to get what you want if you speak up first.
Step 2 –Plan
Planning your event (s) will take some time, so start now. Write everything down. Creating a timeline for yourself will help you through the scheduling process ensuring that nothing is left out.
If you need to make travel arrangements, do so as soon as possible. On top of saving some money, you are more likely to get the schedule you want.
Invite guests if you are celebrating at your own home. In today’s busy world an invitation by email is adequate in most circumstances, in my opinion. Plan your menu if you are entertaining others. If you are going to someone else’s home, it’s always gracious to ask if you can bring something to share. It relieves the burden of the entertaining responsibility of the hostess and also allows you to show off your culinary skill on one special dish.
Don’t forget to add shopping to your planning timeline – gifts and food. Make a list of the people you want to buy a gift for and any gift ideas. It’s a smart idea to carry this list with you, on your smart phone or on a piece of paper in your wallet. You never know when you might see something that will be perfect for that special someone. Gift shopping on the Internet can save lots of time, so if you are not already doing it, consider jumping on to the web.
Food shopping should be scheduled close to the date of your event. But, you can get ahead of the curve by planning your menu in advance and making a list of the ingredients you will need. Consider splitting grocery shopping into two trips, one for the non-perishable and frozen items and the second and final trip of the fresh stuff.
Step 3 – Delegate
Now that you have spent some time working on your lists and making up a timeline of events, it is now time to implement your plan. Do you have to do it all alone? The key to successful event planning is delegation. What can others do for you? What should you delegate? Consider what you don’t like doing and delegate those tasks. Maybe cleaning or decorating your house is not your cup of tea. You can ask family members for help or delegate total responsibility of this task to them. You can always hire someone else or barter with a friend or neighbor. You may have a friend who would be happy to decorate your home for the holidays in exchange for a couple of your famous home-baked pies. Be creative. Today’s markets have a wide variety of prepared foods that will also save you time. Delegating some of the food preparation to your local grocery store or caterer could be the ticket to you enjoying your holiday event.
The holidays are coming whether you are ready or not. The three steps of holiday planning: brainstorming, planning and delegating can take you a long way towards having a holiday party or dinner that everyone will enjoy. Now, I better start my planning!