Making Holidays Less Stressful and More Enjoyable!



As the holidays approach “To Do Lists” can become overwhelming and detract from the reason for holiday gatherings – to enjoy time with family and friends.  During the years I was a caregiver to my mother in law, I learned some valuable insight. I hope you find these suggestions helpful.

If you are hosting the holiday event:

  • Plan your menu
  • Create a timeline/plan to use as a reference so you don’t have to carry it all in your head.
  • Ask guests to bring a dish (people do enjoy being part of the festivities) and provide them with the # guests attending.
  • Using your recipes create your grocery list.  Consider purchasing items that are already prepared and save your time and energy for things you truly enjoy making. Be sure to add plastic storage containers to your list so you will have them for leftovers for you and your guests.
  • Do as much food prep as you can before the day of the event.
  • Set out serving pieces and label what food they will be used for at the party. 
  • Set the table ahead of time.  I recommend foregoing polishing the silver or using fine china and crystal that cannot be put in the dishwasher.
  • Consider having an activity that engages all those attending your event – such as a game like Team Pictionary; a sing along; a craft with a purpose (making ornaments out of items the birds eat).  Likely, there is a family member/friend who would be great at organizing this activity.
  • Your house does not have to be spotless!
  • Allow people to help you in the kitchen serving, cleaning up, dividing up leftovers.
  • Recognize that you might have to modify traditions (add new foods, gather earlier, simplify the menu) to allow all to enjoy this special time.


If you are a caregiver taking your loved one to a family holiday gathering consider packing a bag and include the following to allow you and your loved one a more enjoyable time:

  • Any dining aids – cups, utensils, clothing protector (bonTop)
  • Extra change of clothes and undergarments
  • Toileting needs – wipes, depends, large baggie, plastic disposable grocery bag
  • Ambulation assistance - walker, wheelchair, cane
  • Scheduled medications and any possible as needed medications in a pillbox marked with time medicine to be taken
  • Any special foods that allow the person to eat well and not have to worry about what foods will be offered


We hope you create some wonderful memories with family and friends during the holiday season –


Gretchen, Maria, Laura and Helen   


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