Last-minute tips to help take the stress out of your holiday menu planning

Lizzy Mathis is an In The Know by Yahoo parenting contributor. Check out her site, The Cool Mom Co., and follow her on TikTok and Instagram for more.

Holiday menu planning can be stressful. Who has the time? As parents, our plates are already super full. From working to taking care of the kids and everything in between, finding the time to get ahead of the game can be challenging. Here are some last-minute tips to help take the stress out of your holiday menu planning so you can focus on enjoying the moments.

Taking a long flight home for the holidays? Here are some hacks to make your journey bearable.

1. Plan ahead: Even if it’s only a couple of days before your holiday meal, it still helps to write down each dish, the ingredients you’ll need, what last-minute items you still need to buy, and if the dish can be made a day or two before. This will help keep you more organized.

2. Use local deliveries: Many areas have local delivery options that bring groceries or pre-made meals directly to your doorstep. Don’t hesitate to enlist this option to save you from long lines at the grocery store or give you an easy way out of making some of those classic dishes your family is obsessed with.

This simple pastry dish will be your go-to all holiday season:

3. Say yes to help: If family or close friends offer to bring a dish or platter, say yes. There is no reason for the host to take on all of the burden. It allows your guests to feel included in the tasks and takes one more thing off your to-do list.

4. Allow kids to help: It can be hectic having too many cooks in the kitchen, but little ones love to pitch in. Set up a cookie decorating station for them to ice sugar cookies or a veggie station to help wash the veggies. The more involved they are, the more they’ll appreciate the meal being cooked!

5. Keep it minimal: Designing a holiday table can be just as stressful as making the meal. Keep the decor simple this year with little holiday touches like a pop of earth-toned color in the napkins or cedar and eucalyptus garland on the dinner table. Bringing in natural elements is a great design hack to elevate any holiday table-scape.

6. Be open to new traditions: This year’s traditions can look a little different. I mean, there has been nothing traditional about the past two years, so don’t feel obligated to do what you’ve normally done. Be open to trying new recipes or incorporating new seating charts into the mix. Have fun — you deserve it!

7. Meditation always helps: One way to instantly de-stress is to settle your mind and body. Take a few deep breaths, close your eyes, check in with your emotions and relax as your focus shifts to you. You can also take a quick walk or step outside for fresh air and a new perspective. Give yourself a little mantra to repeat when you feel yourself getting stressed. I love: “It’s about presence, not perfection.” It reminds me to stay in the moment and not worry about the small details.

I hope these tips help make your holiday less stressful and more relaxing! We all deserve memorable moments of happiness this year. Wishing you all a safe and prosperous holiday season!

For more parenting tips, healthy recipes and lifestyle must-haves, check out The Cool Mom Co.

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