Stay uber-organized every year in one simple step: build a holiday season binder, or a holiday season Pinterest board (see our coaches' below!). If you build it this year, you’ll have a jump on the season every year to come (picture your future self, thanking your present-self next year).
Start building your binder today:
At first, it might feel old-school to pull open those stubborn metal rings, but once you snap them back into place with all of your ducks in a row, you’ll feel that fantastic sense of order and accomplishment to have control over the chaos.
Keep a copy of our Holiday Challenge Calendar on your fridge to have a birds-eye view of all your to-dos!
Today is the day that you’ll fall in love with lists. Don’t scoff, lists are your friends, and can make you feel (kind-of) in control.
Remember, Thanksgiving isn’t a fashion show, nor do you need a runway’s worth of things. In fact, most people only travel for about four days, so pack light!
Follow these important guidelines to achieve packing perfection:
Check out our very detailed printable packing list for more tips, including what to wear on the plane and how to make the most of your suitcase.
If you know your guests well, you can try to cater to their personal creature comforts. But, if you don’t, be sure to check in with them about any allergies, sensitivities or requests before they arrive.
Here’s how to make them feel right at home:
CREATE A GUEST BEDROOM OASIS
CLEAN AND STOCK THE KITCHEN
REFRESH THE BATHROOM
If you are the guest, don’t forget a hostess gift. Check out some of our top ideas! Or consider using this weekend to make something homemade – like infused spirits or spice blends that are easy, inexpensive, creative and delicious.
If you’re traveling this Thanksgiving, don’t forget to use our printable packing list (link to printable) to help you travel light. But, if you’re hosting this year, this weekend can give you invaluable prep time. Here’s how to work your weekend:
Cruise through all of your recipes and make a shopping list. Here’s how to keep it simple:
If you have overnight guests arriving next week, it’s okay to save a few prep steps for them. Most visitors love to help, but need direction. Guests can:
We coaches feel that when family is all together for one short weekend, it might be best to maximize time together rather than spending it on Black Friday.
Nothing’s folded, the lines are insane, the staff is overwhelmed and truthfully, there are very few retailers who offer Black Friday deals worth filing your elbows for.
But, if you must attack the sales, you must! Shop smarter with a few insider tips:
If you’d rather avoid the crowds, consider these enjoyable ways to spend your time, plus some tips for finding great deals at your own pace:
Consider adding a little haute holiday décor to dress up your home for months to come:
We love gorgeous autumn-themed centerpieces, and have no issue with treating our tabletop with cranberries or gourds. However, you can take your look to the next level with oversized pheasant feathers in a tall, narrow vase. Place it on the dining or coffee table, or just add it as an accent on your piano or bookshelf.
Yes, you can decorate with scents! It’s easy:
Even better – make a batch of Slow Cooker Applesauce, and you’ll get all the scent plus a bonus treat at day’s end.
Or, simply pick a fall/holiday-themed candle to burn all season. This candle by Pendleton is amazing.
If you have a fireplace, these tea-light fireplace logs look beautiful and save you the trouble of tending a fire on a busy holiday. If you are celebrating Chanukah, blend traditions by placing a lovely menorah on the harvest table.
If you have a porch, your entrance decor will set the tone for your holiday visitors, so make it inviting! Sweep, de-clutter and add a few seasonal decor items like a festive welcome mat, a wreath or evergreen plant.
Our Thanksgiving Game Planner, further down on this page, will be your best friend when tomorrow rolls around. All you need to do is input what time you want to sit down at the table, and we’ll help you calculate what time you should start cooking.
LAST-MINUTE PREP TO DO TODAY
Let’s be honest – almost every helping hand is appreciated when it comes to holiday-making. Delegate some of the fail-proof tasks to younger kids and make older kids feel grown up by tasking them with “important” jobs!
YOUNGER KIDS CAN:
OLDER KIDS CAN:
ANY KID CAN:
The key to dealing with family stress during the holidays is to know your triggers and have a plan for diffusing them and redirecting your energy in a positive way.
TRIGGER: INTERPERSONAL BLOWUPS
HAVE A PLAN:
HAVE FUN: Keep board games, puzzles and cards out so people can entertain themselves! Also, an easy holiday craft that allows everyone to express their unique self, like sponge-painting wrapping paper, is therapeutic and so much fun.
TRIGGER: THE “PERFECT” PREDICAMENT
HAVE A PLAN:
HAVE FUN: Remember, it’s “A” holiday, not “THE” holiday (there will be others!), so focus on starting new traditions that can make your holiday meaningful. Express your inner child (with your own child, perhaps) by crafting DIY holiday ornaments that are sure to become lifelong heirlooms.
Coach Becki is always so generous and this year she has included gifts for three price ranges: splurge, save and steal!
Check out her amazing “save” picks here, and print our Friends and Family Gift Guide for her splurge and steal ideas.
BECKI’S TOP FIVE GIFTS FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
BEAUTY for men and women.
SUBSCRIPTIONS for picky people…and we don’t just mean magazines.
ESCAPE, because there isn’t a person alive who couldn’t stand to get out of town for a few days. Bonus points if you arrange the logistics, and whisk your giftee off for a spontaneous, stress-free vacation.
LITTLE LUXURIES, because the whole point of a gift is to get someone something they wouldn’t get themselves, right? Select something suitably decadent and you can’t go wrong.
GIFT CERTIFICATES – and not one that you picked up at the grocery store! Think carefully about a friend’s personal taste, and treat them to a little splurge that really fits their personality and shows you’ve been paying attention.
MORE GREAT GIFTS IDEAS FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Click here for even more gifting ideas from Coach Becki!
Check out these gifts for business associates (clients and coworkers) that are just as awesome as they are appropriate.
BECKI’S TOP FIVE BUSINESS GIFTS
GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK are great, especially when a meaningful chunk of change is headed for the charity.
These sweet little blown-glass bird and knot paperweights clock in at a measly $19, and $5 of that goes back to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At that price, you can nab one for everyone in your office.
CLASSIC GAMES made of grown-up materials are the perfect excuse to diffuse any tricky (or boring) office situation, and they’re a welcome distraction at home during the holidays! Try these:
BOOKS are the ultimate inexpensive gift that can still be personalized and thoughtful. Try these:
COOL OFFICE SUPPLIES can encourage people to have a little more fun at work! Try these:
FOOD is easy to give and everyone loves it as long as it’s something useful for a home kitchen. Try these:
BONUS: “SPIRITED” GIFTS
Click here for even more gifting ideas from Coach Becki!
Follow these tips for gorgeous holiday cards:
TAKE A PERFECT PICTURE
Check out some of our favorite holiday card ideas this season.
Here are a few easy, but inexpensive ways to infuse some holiday spirit into your home. For even more inspiration, find 30 amazing holiday DIY ideas here!
SIMPLE BEAUTY ON A BUDGET
Certainly, cranberry and popcorn strands are great garland projects for your kids to tackle, but if you are looking for a few new ideas, look no further!
Today, make a homemade pomander with kids of any age. You’ll need:
MORE KID-FRIENDLY CRAFTS
Here are a few tips to help you find and decorate the perfect tree:
FAUX TREE BUYING TIPS
FRESH TREE TIPS
Holiday party planning can make anyone crazy, but it doesn’t have to!
SAVE YOUR SANITY
Avoid added stress with these shortcuts no one will notice:
COUNTDOWN TO PARTYTOWN
Strategize a game-plan in advance, so you can enjoy the party and the prep:
If you’re not hosting the party, try an easy, quick and unforgettable hostess gift like this one!
Plan the perfect feast with Kelsey's top five holiday dinner recipes below:
Visit Kelsey's blog, The Naptime Chef, for more recipe ideas and inspiration!
Take the hassle out of holiday meal planning with our quick and easy Game Planner. Input your menu and our quick and easy tool will give you a schedule to prep, cook and serve up your meal like a pro.
Oops! you forgot the turkey!
|Start time||Step||prep/cook time|
|...||Prep turkey (stuffed) (unstuffed)||30 min.||X|
|...||Cook turkey (stuffed) (unstuffed)||min.||X|
|...||Prep pie||45 min.||X|
|...||Cook pie||60 min.||X|
|...||Prep stuffing (cooked outside of turkey)||30 min.||X|
|...||Cook stuffing (cooked outside of turkey)||45 min.||X|
|...||Prep sweet potato casserole||45 min.||X|
|...||Prep mashed potatoes||20 min.||X|
|...||Prep roasted squash||15 min.||X|
|...||Prep green beans||15 min.||X|
|...||Prep sauteed corn||10 min.||X|
|...||Prep sauteed peas||5 min.||X|
|...||Prep salad||15 min.||X|
|...||Prep biscuits||20 min.||X|
|...||Cook roasted squash||45 min.||X|
|...||Cook sweet potato casserole||45 min.||X|
|...||Cook mashed potatoes||40 min.||X|
|...||take Turkey out to Rest||30 min.||X|
|...||Prep whipped cream||10 min.||X|
|...||Cook creamed Spinach||20 min.||X|
|...||Cook sauteed Brussels sprouts||20 min.||X|
|...||Cook gravy||15 min.||X|
|...||Cook biscuits||15 min.||X|
|...||Cook green beans||15 min.||X|
|...||Cook sauteed corn||10 min.||X|
|...||Cook sauteed peas||10 min.||X|
Yummy recipes, DIY projects, home decor, fashion and more curated by iVillage staffers.
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