Make A Plan

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! (Photo credit: Kelvin Servigon)

I have received a lot of advice in my life. Some I ignore. Some I am delighted to receive. And some I have to digest before I use it.

The following four short pieces of advice {which really meld into one} are from one of my favourite foodies, Rachael Ray, and they will stand me in good stead this holiday season if I take the time to heed them.

So (drum roll please), here are her pithy words of advice:

Rachael Ray Mag

Rachael Ray Mag (Photo credit: Bekit)

Less is more

Keep it simple

Invite People

Make a plan.

She was referring to entertaining, but I think these words can be used in so many facets of our lives. The only change I would make is to “Make a plan” then “invite people” but that is just the way I roll.

This holiday season I have to keep in mind what is important. As the days wind down towards the big day I have a plan–I know that making my thumbprint cookies with seedless raspberry jam is more important than making sure every room in my house is spick and span; I know that making some good and  simple food will make my family happy and that creating fancy unfamiliar dishes would only cause stress; I know that wrapping the presents in whatever fashion I can, is more important than making sure everything is perfectly bowed and all corners sharp; I know that  family and friends are more important than my to do lists.

So, as I pare down my expectations, I do not pare down what makes this season merry and bright–good food, good friends, and family as well as something to open, something to drink, something to eat, and something to laugh at. And, oh yeah, better not forget to make the fudge.

What is the one important thing you must do to make your holiday merry?

Christmas Dreams Meet Reality ~ A Collision Course?

Cover of "The Best Christmas Ever"

Cover of The Best Christmas Ever

As I sit down with my first coffee of the day (stirred not shaken) I am contemplating all that needs to be done before the big day.

I always have such grandiose plans in my head—everything will be wrapped to perfection preferably in the most environmentally pleasing way possible; the house will be clean and neat as a pin (really, how neat is a pin?); and I will pull out all the culinary stops and serve food of such delight I will be written up in Gourmet magazine (which I think may be defunct).

It is not too late to face the reality of the situation, but since I am somewhat pragmatic and know my limitations, here is what is probably going to happen:

1. The presents will get wrapped, but mostly bagged as that is easier and I will probably be doing it on Christmas Eve. No need to rush. I did buy an extra package of scotch tape just in case though. I am thinking I should bona fide wrap at least one gift for each recipient and bag the rest.

3. Did you notice I skipped number 2? I think it was the one where I polish the silverware for the Christmas table. Yes, I have real silverware. I inherited it. No, I will not be polishing it until I can afford a butler to do such things.

4. I will be neatening up the house and spraying some furniture polish around to give it that clean smell. I will get the vacuum out—and possibly use it. It is a beast though and after a while I just get tired of using it and close the doors to the rooms that I do not get to (usually the bedrooms upstairs).

5. I am on a quest. It is going to be quite an adventure. I need to locate the top of my dining room table which is now covered with all manner of things—some last minute Christmas shopping which has not been delivered to my bedroom which is covered in bags where I have hidden the presents in plain sight; book work, a purse, a calculator, mail, books, newspapers, Christmas cards, receipts—okay, you get my drift…

6. Food. Okay we are having ham on Christmas Eve and prime rib (because it is on sale) for Christmas Day. There is still much shopping to be done in this category—I always overbuy food for Christmas, but is there really such a thing? My mother always had lots of food in her house, and I try to maintain that tradition. She though actually cooked and prepared the food—I have to realize my limitations: I think like a gourmet, but cook so the masses will not starve.

7. I have all the stuff to make cookies and fudge—so Saturday is reserved for a baking spree. I do it for my family—I derive little pleasure from the making of it, but much from the eating of it—so I keep that firmly in mind.

I do love Christmas, and as the devil is in the details, I have to take care of my devilish duties in order to get to the good parts. Should I reach my financial potential, I dream of coming up with the ideal Christmas and dispensing my elves to do my bidding. Until then, I will do my best, and then enjoy—for is that not what this season is all about?

So what Christmas dreams do you have—and which ones will you realize?