November 18, 2014

Tips from a Planner: How to make your Thanksgiving Holiday Less Stressful

Ready or not, here come the holidays.  No matter what – this time of year is stressful.  Even for some of the most organized people in this universe, life can get overwhelming.  Quickly.

What tricks do event planners have to help combat the holiday stress?  Here are some tips from our founder and Senior Managing Partner Emily Chalk.  Here’s to having an almost stress free holiday.

1. PLAN ahead: Take advantage of that half day of work the day before the feast and get a plan in place.  I try to take the full day off before a big holiday or a personal event just to give myself time to focus.  One of the biggest causes of stress is when you feel you are getting pulled in multiple directions.  Take the time for yourself and for your sanity to sit down and organize.

2. Write EVERYTHING down:  One of my favorite planner moves is to make lists with check boxes.   It keeps you focused and you have a sense of accomplishment when you complete a task.  You can also use post it notes – but if you are me your whole house will be covered in them, which is a little counter-productive.

3. The devil is in the details:  As the old saying goes – but my… my… my… is it true.  Organize all the details you can in advance – fold napkins, place your centerpiece on the table or vacuum the spare room two days before guests arrive.  It’s all this last minute stuff that will get you every time.

4. Take a minute and think:  Be thoughtful in your decisions to avoid extra work on your holiday.  Simple check points like not using your expensive China on the kids table will keep you from a big headache when you are in the middle of your day-of holiday tasks.

5. Get, um… anal:  I often say to my clients, “It’s not anal if it helps you do your job.”  This is true.  My dear friend and esteemed colleague Nicole Freeman inspired me at a cooking class we went to this past weekend where she took being hyper-organized to a whole new and glorious level.  She said “The day before my guests arrive I put together a list that includes time tables.  This way I know when I have time for other tasks – whether they be work or personal.”  Nicole manages her time by creating a chart that blocks off the time each Thanksgiving item will take to cook.  “Being able to see my day visually, and not overcommitting my kitchen related resources gives me a sense of peace. Whether that is real or not is to be determined.” Nicole, I’ll be at your house when the Brussels Sprouts are ready.  3pm next Thursday?

From all of us at EOE we wish you a very happy holiday and a wonderful Thanksgiving. Need a Thanksgiving day planner?  Give us a call – JUST KIDDING (we have to draw the line somewhere).

For more tips and inspiration to keep your Turkey Day organized (any stylish) check out our Pinterest board.