Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Holiday Planning; How I intend to keep the crazy away

I can't believe it is already November.  It seems just like yesterday that we were making plans to move to Austin.  Now Jeremy has lived here for almost a year.
Since moving to Austin, we have found ourselves far away from all of our family.  Everywhere we have lived in the past, we have always had someone within an hour's driving distance.  Now, the closest family we have is 12 hours away.
So, this year I decided to invite all of Jeremy's family to come here for Thanksgiving.  We may have melt-your-face-off Summers, but Fall and Winter are GORGEOUS here.  So, everyone accepted and in just a few short weeks my house will be filled with the sounds of laughter, family and 8 small children!  Yep, 8 children under the age of 7. It is going to be AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! :)
I want to share with you how I intend to keep my sanity while hosting 8 adults and 8 children.
I come from a long line of planners.  My sister is the worst.  She starts planning things YEARS in advance (in fact, I have it on good authority that she has her own funeral planned).  And while this is great for her, it is not my style.  I try to keep my crazy planningness under wraps as long as I can, but when I can hold it in no longer...watch out!
  1. Delegate.  I am not afraid to ask people to help.  We will have 4 families here for 1 week.  I have asked each family to be in charge of dinner one night.  This way I don't have to do all the cooking, plus we will get to try out different recipes!
  2. Room Assignments. Figure out ahead of time who is going to sleep where.  Talk to your guests to see what they will need.  I know that Jeremy's brother and sister-in-law will need a bigger room than his sister, because of the pack and play.  This makes a difference in what room I put them in.
  3. Email guests at the beginning of the month (what I am doing today!) to start planning the holiday meal.  What do we have to have and what can we forgo this year?
  4. Purchase food ahead of time.  Get your menu set and then you can start looking for deals on that turkey, cranberry sauce and green beans that you will need.  Get everything you need BEFORE your guests arrive so you don't have to spend any of our family time at the grocery store.
  5. Give yourself a break. Just know that you are going to eat food that you normally wouldn't, in quantities that you normally wouldn't.  So, give yourself a break from the guilt and just enjoy that 2nd (or 15th) piece of pie!
  6. Plan activities for everyone.  For us it includes kids activities, Girls crafting night (and pedicures???), and golfing for the guys.  Find local activities that your guests will enjoy.  Save the movie theaters for another time, this may be the only chance they get to see your hometown!
  7. Find fun holiday crafts for the kids to do to decorate the tables!  Get the little ones involved.  This will take the stress out of meal prep if they are busy doing something else.
I am so excited to have everyone here.  The last time we saw Jeremy's brother and his family was in 2008.  Libby and their little guy, Aidan, looked like this...
Now they are big 3 year olds. It is going to be SO much fun to see them together!  I can't wait for these little cousins to start building memories together and hope this can be a more than once every few years kind of tradition!
What are your holiday tips? What do you have planned for Thanksgiving and Christmas?  What am I missing that I absolutely must do to save the sanity of everyone?
This post is part of the Hallmark Life is a Special Occasion Campaign.  I have been lucky enough to blog for Hallmark for the last few months.  This month our theme is Thanksgiving/Family.  Don't miss their big in-store Holiday Open House this weekend November 4-6!
Be sure to sign up for Hallmark emails to get great deals throughout the year.  Who knows, you just might see me there too!
Check out the other Hallmark bloggers and what they are writing about.  It really is an amazing bunch of writers and you are sure to be inspired!
While I was compensated to write this post, all words (as always) are mine.  You can't put a price on this awesomeness!

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