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Holiday Preparedness Check List - Part II
November, 2004 - Issue #2
Here we are again, trying to facilitate a stress-free holiday for all, including ourselves. If you didn't yet complete your list from last month (OK, we didn't either - but we came close!), we've included an update to catch you up to speed. Good luck!

Update from last month:
• Schedule carpet and upholstery cleaning
• Contract with a cater for holiday parties
• Order or create custom cards
• Purchase "must-have" holiday decor and gifts

This month: Get Touchy-Feely in November

Traditionally, the big Christmas/Hanukah push starts after Thanksgiving, so you may have some time on your hands now to make a personal connection with those you love but don't see regularly. If your holiday card list requires an Excel spreadsheet, consider sifting through it now for the names and addresses of the folks who really mean something to you. Penning 10 "This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for you because..." cards now means that you won't feel so guilty just scrawling your name at the bottom of the correspondence with a Santa on the front come December.

Plan your Menu, then have Someone Else Make (Some of) It

On Thanksgiving, you consistently show off your baking (pecan pie), but not basting (the turkey) skills. Don't stress about creating eight perfect dishes - fix the ones that you are good at, and then outsource the rest. When your brother's new girlfriend offers to make her famous stuffing, don't scoff at her suggestion - take the woman up on her offer! And if there are no talented friends and family to delegate to, turn to your local grocery store, specialty grocer, or caterer. During the holidays, each of these vendors have whole meals or a la carte menus to choose from, and all you have to do is pick the food up and put it on your table. There is no shame involved in accepting the help of others, even if you have to pay for it.

Start Stockpiling

Now is the time to pick up random gifts for no one in particular. When you're out on the town and spot a sale, peruse your territory for great "one size fits all" gifts. We're talking wine and specialty liquor, cookbooks, home-spa gift sets, cute stationery... anything that you can bust out of the closet at the last minute. No, these presents don't say, "I chose this just for you," but at least they don't say, "I forgot all about you." Make the card personal and all will be forgiven.

Take your Vitamins, then Go to Sleep

It's not a coincidence that so many folks get sick during the holidays. Yeah, it has something to do with the massive amounts of coodies flying around the over-packed discount store, but you can avoid being a germ magnet by taking some preventive measures. Keep your immune system strong by nourishing your body and giving it the rest it needs. You may feel overrun now, but imagine how bad it'll be two days before Christmas when you are fighting a cold and holiday traffic at the same time. Stay healthy so that you can perform under the pressure - you are a fine-tuned holiday athlete, after all, and you need your strength to take home the gold!
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