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Stress Free Holidays Part 5
Thanksgiving Planning This Week

Thanksgiving planning time is now upon us in week 5 of this series. Follow these steps for a stress free Thanksgiving with your family.

stress free holidays challenge week 5


(I know Halloween falls on Monday this year so you can wait until Tuesday to begin the after-Halloween tasks in this challenge, if you wish. For purposes of making this as easy to write as possible, even though it isn't quite true I'm pretending Halloween is over when writing this week's challenge.)

How was your Halloween? Hopefully it was lots of fun, minus the stress, with your planning ahead of time.

My family had a good time this year so far (yeah, the actual day hasn't happened yet!), and we did a lot of fun Halloween activities throughout the last couple of weeks. We even did something new this year, a Halloween scavenger hunt in our home which was lots of fun.

Now, we'll start to focus on Thanksgiving, which is close to the end of November (and November is almost here!).

We will also still be working on our preparations for Christmas as we go along, and finally this week we will also be cleaning up from our Halloween celebrations.

Halloween Task For This Week: Clean It Up!

halloween decorations
Photo by Free Flower

Once each holiday is over comes the task of putting up all the decorations and putting away all the stuff that went with that holiday. Halloween is no exception.

In a previous week of this series I asked you to get out all your decorations for Halloween slowly, over the whole week. Now I'm asking you to do the reverse -- put up your decorations slowly, over the course of the week.

While you're at it, try to save yourself headaches and hassles next Halloween season by throwing or giving away any decorations you know you won't use again, and putting everything else away in an organized fashion.

Ideally, you'll have one or two storage tubs or boxes to place all your Halloween related stuff in to make it easy for yourself next year. You should put not only your decorations in this storage container, but also your pumpkin carving kit, pumpkin patterns, and anything else you need to use only at Halloween to keep it all in one place.

Also, remember that now, after Halloween, is a great time to buy Halloween decorations at a discount. If you know you want something for next year try to get it now, while it is marked down, and place it with your other items to use next year.

Something else my husband and I sometimes do is go buy up some deeply discounted Halloween costumes. My kids love to play dress up, and these are great as Christmas and birthday gifts in our house. If you'd like to do that, now is the time!


Thanksgiving Planning For The Week: Meal Planning And Making Your Thanksgiving Grocery List

Thanksgiving table
Photo by ilovebutter

Like I said before, this week is the beginning of your Thanksgiving planning. This can be a big meal to plan for, so along with the steps below (which include several printables to help you with various steps) upon request I wrote an entire Thanksgiving countdown checklist which lists all the steps we're going to take over the next several weeks all in one document, by week.

I've even created a printable version of the countdown document that you can print out and put in your holiday planner, so get your copy now! Plus, update, by popular request, I rounded up all my Thanksgiving related printables and made a page for them, to help you find them more easily. Come on over and print them all out for your Thanksgiving planner here.

This week I want you to think about the main meal for Thanksgiving, whether you are bringing something to someone else's house, or making and serving everything at your own.

Obviously, if you cook it all yourself there is more work involved than if you are just bringing a dish somewhere else, so your Thanksgiving planning time may vary from others.

Create your Thanksgiving grocery list and write out your Thanksgiving dinner menu. Check any recipes you haven't used in a while to make sure you aren't forgetting one of the ingredients, and make sure you have it, or that it goes on the grocery list.

free printable Thanksgiving grocery list
free printable Thanksgiving dinner menu planner

To cushion your budget try to buy some of the nonperishable items each week from your Thanksgiving grocery list for the next couple of weeks. Remember too that if you will make a similar item for Christmas, you can buy double, especially if you see a sale occurring.

As you create your family's Thanksgiving menu also plan what items can be made a couple days in advance, and what needs to be made the day of. Be realistic about whether you can actually make all these things within the time frame you have, so you don't bite off more than you can chew. That would definitely stress you out!

Remember, you can also, as a part of your Thanksgiving planning, delegate certain food items to others in your family or friends who will be coming over, to take some of the load off yourself.

Do You Need More Help With Your Thanksgiving Dinner Menu And Meal Planning?

easy Thanksgiving dinner ideas ebook

The first time my husband and I were in charge of the whole family's Thanksgiving meal we stressed out, and even seasoned pros can start to sweat thinking about this important holiday meal.

If that sounds like you I recommend my friend Crystal's 33 page ebook written just to help you out with this exact task. It includes a step-by-step planning guide, make ahead recipes, a menu plus recipes for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner complete with dessert, and a grocery shopping list already put together for you!

I think the best way to have a stress free Thanksgiving is to stop trying to reinvent the wheel and instead learn from the pros. Well, Crystal is my recipe resource, and I reference her Make Dinner Easy website lots and you can use her as your Thanksgiving planning resource too. [Click here to buy her book now.]


Resources on this site:

Printable Thanksgiving planner

Christmas Tasks For The Week: Write Your Family's Christmas Letter And Plan Your Christmas Baking Schedule

I know Thanksgiving planning time is upon us, but we can't forget about Christmas, which is now just eight weeks away!

This week there are actually two Christmas tasks to do, write your family's Christmas letter and also to make your baking schedule for Christmas.

Write Your Family Christmas Letter

We have been leading up to both of these tasks in the previous weeks of the series. First, write your annual Christmas letter to enclose in your Christmas cards you will send to family and friends.

I know with social media sites like Facebook, and our own personal blogs, there are more ways to keep everyone we love up to date with what is happenening in our families, but these letters are, in my opinion, still a great idea.

writing Christmas letters to friends and family: ideas and tips

First, they can be a keepsake for your own family to read again through the years. In addition, there are lots of people who don't do all this new technology, or who in the hustle and bustle of life missed your updates. A nice succinct letter will be well appreciated by those that love you.

After you write the letter take time in the next week or two to make enough copies to add to each Christmas card you plan on sending, and place the stack in a place you won't lose them. You'll be stuffing and addressing the cards in a few weeks.

If you haven't ordered your Christmas cards yet (or taken your family Christmas photos), go ahead and get that done as soon as possible, before you have to pay rush charges!

I know I keep saying that, and I'll remind you again next week, but really, the longer you have to address these the easier it is, so ordering early is key!

Here's a resources to help you:

  • Writing Christmas Letters To Family & Friends: Ideas & Tips - If you'd like to write Christmas letters to friends and family this year, but are getting overwhelmed, here's ideas and tips to make the process painless and fun.
  • Family Christmas Photo Ideas & Tips - This article shares my best tips for all the aspects of taking your family Christmas photos, including clothing, timing, location and poses, plus my recommendations for where to get your own Christmas photo cards.

Plan Your Holiday Baking Schedule

Christmas tree cookies
Photo by dano

If you've been following this series you have already decided who will be receiving your holiday goodies, and basically what they'll receive. Now is the time to make sure you can pull it off and get all that baking done.

Don't forget that there are many recipes where you can bake ahead of time and freeze them, so you can spread the baking season out longer so it is fun, and not stressful for you.

In the lull that happens after Halloween but before Thanksgiving is a great time to do some of that freeze ahead baking, so you don't have to do so much later once Christmas season is in full gear.

Tell Me In The Comments Below How You're Doing On This Week's Challenge! Plus Sneak Peek For Next Week

Stress Free Holidays Week 6

If you're participating in this challenge tell me how it's going for you below, so we can all celebrate our baby step successes together! After all, we should be cheering each other on in our quest for reducing holiday stress.

In addition, I thought some of you might want to know briefly what we'll be working on next week, so I'll tell you:

  • Thanksgiving decorations and planning table settings
  • Order Christmas cards if you haven't already

Previous Parts Of The Stress Free Holiday Series

If you missed the previous parts of this series, you can still jump in. There is always time to start.

Here is the previous challenges:

If You're Reporting On Your Progress For This Challenge On Your Own Blog Grab This Button!

If you have your own blog, and report on your experience or success with your Thanksgiving planning and other tasks this week I would love it if you grabbed my button to place on your posts so everyone can participate!

stress free holidays at household management 101

Here's the code:


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