Peppermint hot chocolate reminds me of Christmas! Speaking of Christmas it’s right around the corner, and while it is a joyous season, it’s also one of the most stressful times of the year. Holiday parties, overbearing relatives, the thought of extra pounds, and the financial pressure of purchasing gifts can be too much to bear for some people and it just takes away from the joy that is supposed to abundant this time of year.
This issue will be your go to guide for planning your season. More than just having the perfect meal, we’ll tell you how to handle gift giving, tips for entertaining and more.
Sit back, relax and have a soothing cup of peppermint hot chocolate as you begin the season. If you need a recipe, you’ll find that in there too.
Here’s to a good season, and happy holidays for you and yours! Need a few Christmas Party Ideas?
Your Guide to a Stress Free, Healthy and Happy Holiday Season
The gifts, the relatives, and the overabundance of high fattening food can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. After reading this guide, you’ll feel less stressed and more excited about the holidays than you have felt in years.
Sit back, relax with a cup of peppermint hot chocolate (skip to the bottom of you need a recipe), and read on.
A constant source of stress during the holidays is procrastination. Whether it’s because of waiting until the last minute to gifts or groceries, the closer to the big day, the bigger the crowds, and the less time to fix mistakes. Start planning NOW.
Decide as early as possible what your budget is for the entire season. Include gifts, entertaining, parties, decorations and travel expenses. Once you have a number, take a look at your calendar and see if you can get a rough estimate of what you will spend on each item. This may be a time consuming process, but if you’re financially strapped, a necessary one. One of the biggest expenses of the holidays is gifts, but it doesn’t have to be. Decide now who you will buy gifts for and who you won’t. It’s okay to bow out of the Secret Santa at work if you simply don’t have the funds, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for it. Set a budget, divide it up, and stick to it. Don’t spend money you don’t have.
Print out a calendar for the month of December and before the month starts, write everything you need to do on it, down to the minute if possible. Schedule everything you need to do now. Again, this is a bit time consuming, but once you have a detailed, list, getting things done is easy. This is also when you’ll decide if you are hosting Christmas day, since you’ll need to plan that week up until Christmas if so. Write in things you must do, such as work schedules and plan around it. Plan shopping times, gift wrapping times, and decorating times. If something has to get done, mark it down, and keep this with you so that as you think of things, they can be filled in.
Online shopping takes away a lot of the hassle of going to the malls, but it requires pre planning, and added costs such as shipping. Factor these things into your budget and time requirements.
If you are traveling, make travel arrangements as soon as you know for sure you’re going. Airfare, car rental and hotels all go up around the holidays, as does gas.
If you’re going to be hosting your holiday dinner:
Plan your menu now. Get out the invites, ask for RSVPs, and start planning. Break it down and add the details to your calendar. Things like grocery shopping, prep work, as well as cleaning and decorating should all have a spot on your list.
When menu planning, stick to old favorites, unless you have time to try new dishes. Nothing ruins a holiday dinner more than a much-anticipated dish that turns out bad.
If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask. Ask relatives to bring a dish, show up early to help prep or whatever you need.
If you’re attending:
Show up on time.
Offer to help, but only if you really mean it.
Bring a hostess gift such as wine, chocolates or something more personal if you know the hostess will enjoy it. Candles, gift baskets and flowers all make lovely gifts.
On dealing with relatives:
This is perhaps one of the most stressful things about holiday get-togethers. Only you know your family and how they operate.
If you’re the type that doesn’t like conflict, the best thing to do is to tell yourself now that there will be some and don’t let it ruin your season.
If you want to avoid conflict, surround yourself with people who won’t cause it. This may mean missing family get-togethers or not inviting certain people to yours, but only you can make this decision based on how bad the conflict is and your tolerance level for it.
Perhaps the most useful piece of advice you’ll get this holiday season is to enjoy it. Yes, things will probably go wrong, food may get burned, dropped, or uneaten. Family members will fight, and you’ll get gifts you have to return, but remember this. It’s not that bad, and you can handle it.
Don’t let little things ruin your day or your season. Do you remember every little thing that went wrong last year or the year before? No? Then you probably won’t this year.
Oh, and before I forget, here’s that recipe for peppermint hot chocolate I told you about. Rich, creamy, and oh so chocolaty, this is one that will make it to your holiday favorite’s list and stay there.
Serves 3-4 Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups heavy cream 1 1/2 cups whole milk 1/4-cup sugar Pinch of salt 3-4 drops peppermint oil 6 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate Whipped cream, chocolate shavings and chopped candy canes for garnish Directions: In a saucepan, heat the milk, cream, sugar and salt over medium. When it heats up, add the chocolate and stir until melted, then whisk in the peppermint oil. Divide among mugs, top with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and candy canes. Serve immediately. Share Your Favorite Recipes with Us!
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
Pinch of salt
3-4 drops peppermint oil
6 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
Whipped cream, chocolate shavings and chopped candy canes for garnish
In a saucepan, heat the milk, cream, sugar and salt over medium. When it heats up, add the chocolate and stir until melted, then whisk in the peppermint oil. Divide among mugs, top with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and candy canes. Serve immediately.
Share Your Favorite Recipes with Us!
Hoping you and yours have a happy, healthy and safe holiday season!