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Tips: All I Want for Christmas is to Grit my Teeth
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, December 2006

Some people like to prepare EVERYTHING for the holidays (don’t you love them?). The most successful of these wizards get an early start while the rest of us only think that we prepare in advance. The fact of the matter is that the holidays often catch us with lots of work still to do and lots of stress to deal with.

There is also a great deal of fatigue and resentment that follow the holidays because people are on edge, overworked, under-appreciated. (THIS is a holiday?) The most common complaint at holiday time is that people don’t have enough help. The other one is that they don’t usually have enough time to mingle with their guests.

Something to remember, A fresh turkey is better than a frozen one, but a calm, relaxed hostess is worth a wilderness of fowl.

Forget Perfect - There is no such thing. If you want to enjoy your time with guests and be a "present" hostess, know that there are going to be things that just don’t work out the way you had hoped. Count on at least one at each event. Repeat after me; "This is okay."

Prepare What You Can - Make sure that there are enough napkins BEFORE the big event. Print directions to your house for everyone who is coming for the first time, and make sure they get them well ahead of the party.

Know your Guests - When people ask what they can bring, ask what they had in mind. In other words, don’t ask your nice aunt who hoped to buy cookies at a local bakery to bring a roasted turkey. If another relative is notoriously late, ask someone else to bring appetizers (the latecomer is a natural for a dessert or after-dinner wine). If a cousin makes a great casserole, suggest that she prepare one. (You get a great dish and you get to compliment someone you love, leaving one less angry and unappreciated relative to deal with later.) If you don’t like surprises, be sure you know what people are bringing so you feel comfortable with the menu in advance.

Even Santa has helpers.

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