The holidays are here! With Thanksgiving coming and winter holidays right on its tail, a question forms in the heart of every American parent: How does one cook for the family stress-free this holiday season? Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years… it all presses on the mind and forms undesired stress in this season that is meant to be full of joy and happiness. Here are several tips to not only enjoy this holiday season but also to feel the joy of full bellies and bright smiles.

Meal Prep

Meal planning and meal prep. It can be frustrating to take on large meals all at once, especially if a last-minute trip to the store is needed to get missing ingredients. Taking inventory of everything needed for upcoming meals is an important way to prevent potential stress when it comes to dinner time. Some meals are great to prepare a day or two in advance such as mashed potatoes, freezer-friendly desserts, soup, turkey, stuffing, and casseroles. Being prepared is the best way to prevent unwanted stress, especially during the holidays.

Ask for Help When Necessary

Despite the amazing things that parents and relatives do every day for their families, it can become difficult when too much to handle is put on anyone’s shoulders. It is good to focus on what can be managed and ask for any needed help from friends and family to contribute. It is amazing what an extra pair of hands can accomplish when making a Thanksgiving Dinner, and it isn’t called the season of giving for nothing. This help can also come from great high-quality pre-made meals, desserts, or catering.

Plan and Schedule in Advance

Generally speaking, the more prepared anyone is for an event, the smoother it will run. The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, but the second-best time to plant a tree is now. Anything can happen when preparing a big meal for a large family, so preparing down to every step and every pot that things will be cooked in can save time and energy. What things should be scheduled every hour? How long will it take to cook the ham? What plates will be used? Should the turkey be microwaved or cooked in the oven?

This is a special time of year that can either be overwhelming or over-joying. It is alright to be caught up in the speed of things, but it is also nice to take a step back and thoughtfully plan things out so that things run smoothly. May the best of this holiday season be with us all.