Happy holiday season! As we dive into the chilly month of December, one thing has become increasingly clear: the holidays will soon be here. And if you’re a new or soon-to-be mom, the holidays mean picking out gifts, wrapping, cleaning, prepping and of course, cooking.
Oftentimes, the responsibility of preparing the holiday dinner falls on the mother’s shoulders, which adds one more thing to your already full, stressful plate. If you’re not sure where to get started, fear not. We put together a quick list to help you out. Here are some ideas for how to prepare the perfect holiday dinner.
Plan out your meal.
The first step in preparing any holiday dinner is planning out the meal. Consider what you want friends and family to eat and how. Are you planning a sit-down meal with courses, a buffet-style dinner or a potluck? Which food options will you include? For instance, while some families enjoy ham for their holiday dinner, perhaps your family loves turkey. Or, maybe you have friends or family with dietary restrictions which you need to be aware of. And of course, there’s always the simple, “She hates this,” or “That’s his favorite food.” Consider the meal options you want to include in your holiday dinner and make a list beforehand to prepare. Once everything is planned out, the preparing and the cooking will be a much smoother process.
Add in the drinks.
When you have the food options selected, be sure to add in drinks. Here is where you can really get creative with things. Of course, there’s always the classic water, apple cider and maybe wine or beer, but why not try mixing things up a bit? Try adding in non-alcoholic options for yourself and anyone else who wants to live alcohol-free. For example, include hot chocolate, juices or even alcohol-free wine. If you really want to get creative, you could add in alcohol-free mocktails, as well, just to spice things up at the holiday party. Most importantly, consider what food options you will serve, and choose drinks which compliment the flavor profiles of the food.
Next, it’s time to assign responsibilities. All of the little details of a holiday dinner can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re expecting a new little baby. Stay on top of things and take stress off by assigning responsibilities to friends and family who plan on attending. For instance, perhaps your significant other could be in charge of cleaning the house. Or, your in-laws could handle all of the gift organizing. Consider what needs you will have, then talk to your loved ones before the holiday dinner and ask if they can handle the responsibility. The more responsibility you give away, the more relaxed you will feel, and the more included everyone else will be in the process.
Then, choose any decor items you would like to include in the holiday dinner. While this might seem like a simple step, it can actually have a huge impact on the ambiance of the dinner, and even influence how people enjoy their time. Consider the style you want to strive for. Maybe you want a cozy, heartfelt holiday. Then add in lots of warm colors and soft fabrics. Or, perhaps you want a sophisticated dinner. Then choose cooler colors with sharp, defined edges. Maybe you simply want to use items you already have from around the house. That’s great, too. However you decide to choose and organize your decor items is up to you and the style you want for the dinner.
Remember to relax.
Finally, don’t forget to relax throughout the entire dinner-planning process. Especially for new and expecting moms, the holiday season can be a stressful time. But, it doesn’t have to be! You want it to be a time filled with joyful memories with your family. So, be sure to take time so you can relax and genuinely enjoy moments with your loved ones. For example, if you feel the stress starting to creep in during the days leading up to dinner, take an evening for a nice long bubble bath with a glass of non-alcoholic wine. You might be surprised at how much better you feel once you’ve had some personal time to unwind.
The holidays will soon be here, which means the season of family dinners is quickly approaching. If you plan on preparing your family dinner, keep these tips in mind. Plan your meals first, then add in drinks, assign responsibilities, choose decor and of course, remember to relax. With these tips, you will have the perfect holiday dinner which everyone can enjoy, including your little one.