8 Tips To Reduce Stress When Preparing Holiday Meals


Reduce holiday stress

Every year, I’m so excited when October arrives because I associate it with the holiday season. It’s such a wonderful time of year! All the decorations, food, parties, family events, shopping… and the list goes on!  It is truly a beautiful time of year that warms my heart but it can also be extremely stressful.  As each holiday season ramps up, I tell myself I won’t be distracted by stress, but more often than not I am.  I usually host several family dinners and what seems so easy never is!  Through trial and error, and a few meltdowns over the years, I have some tips to share that will help reduce the stress that can come with holiday meals and gatherings.  I’ll share my best tips with you and please share your tips as well in the comments so we can all help one another make the holidays enjoyable with minimal stress!

Before I jump into the tips to reduce stress when preparing holiday meals, I also promise to publish some gift guides for you that have wonderful and thoughtful gift ideas.  I hate seeing gift guides with a bunch of garbage that people wind up throwing away.  Yes, I have honestly done that or put things into a bag to take to a shelter.  I promise I will share some gift ideas for unique gifts and I’ll have that published within the next week or two.

Holiday meal stress reducers

    • Choose items for your holiday menu that you are comfortable making.  Trying new recipes can be extremely stressful and hard to plan since you don’t know what to expect.  Stick with favorite dishes that you can confidently make, knowing your guests are likely expecting their favorites from you.  Last  year I didn’t make my mac n cheese and tried something new and my family was quite disappointed.
    • Don’t be afraid to slip in some cheats.  Every year,  I buy two pints of gravy from a grocery store.  No one even knows I do it and the gravy (which is often a fail if I make it) is perfect every time!  I’m also not racing to make gravy when the turkey comes out of the oven.

Turkey gravy

    • Have a  personal holiday stress kit handy with essentials.  Sweating is a horrible feeling when you are hustling in a kitchen.  Following the sweat, comes body odor. So gross! Stock up on Secret Clinical Strength antiperspirant/deodorant at Sam’s Club or SamsClub.com through November 26th and take advantage of some great Instant Savings (more details below).  Secret Clinical Strength is formulated with four times the stress-sweat protection of ordinary deodorant.

Secret Deodorant holiday stress

No matter what your favorite deodorant may be, consider making an exception this time of year.  You will see and feel a difference!  Secret Clinical Strength also has skin-soothing conditioners to minimize and soothe dry underarm skin.   Other things you can add to your holiday stress kit include Acetaminophen, chamomile tea, bubble bath, mouthwash, stain remover wipes, and some nibbles of your favorite chocolate or other candy.

Sams Club deals

    • When guests ask what they can bring, don’t say “I have it all covered, just bring yourself”.  Wrong answer!  People want to contribute!  Ask your guests to bring a side dish, dessert, wine, or anything else that would take a task off your plate.


    • Setting Setting a holiday table is time consuming.   Don’t try and do it the day of the event.  Set your table one or two days prior.  I like to put names at each place setting too.  This avoids potential bickering over who sits where!

Reducing stress holiday meals

    • You may not love this idea but it’s one of the best things I do during the holidays. I purchase a fresh turkey that is pre-brined.  The turkey arrives a couple days prior to my event date and it’s perfect every year!  Yes, it costs a bit more but the ease and perfection of the product makes it worthwhile.  No one can figure out why my turkeys are better.  Just knowing I won’t have a dry turkey and that I don’t have to mess around with defrosting or brining is a huge stress reducer.

Organic turkey farm

    • Plan well and write everything down.  Every year, I write down my menu weeks in advance and create a shopping list.  This avoids last minute runs to the market, and I note different things I can make one or two days in advance. Having a good plan and schedule laid out makes a big difference.  You won’t be standing around wondering what you forgot to do either.
    • Significant others and teenagers are great helpers!  I don’t want mine in the kitchen helping with a turkey, but I make a task list and tell them what time I need certain tasks done.  Things such as lighting the fireplace, lighting candles, taking the trash out, getting ice, filling water glasses on the table, getting the music set up, and doing light cleaning are perfect tasks to delegate.  Clearly define what they need to do and when and you’ll be surprised at the results!

holiday to do list

Special Sam’s Club Holiday Deal

Through November 26, Sam’s Club is offering an additional $5 in Instant Savings when you buy any combination of two body and hair care products from your favorite brands like Secret, Old Spice and Olay. The perfect product for holiday stress, 3-packs of Secret Clinical Strength antiperspirant/deodorant offer $12 in everyday savings PLUS are eligible for the $5 Instant Savings deal, meaning you can save big now and be stocked up well past the holidays.

Want to make life even easier?  You don’t have the fight the crowds.  With Sam’s Club, there are additional pickup options that will reduce stress!

  • Sam’s Club Scan & Go Mobile Apps – Download Sam’s Club’s Scan & Go app to your mobile device and scan your items with your phone as you shop in the store. Check out with the app, your receipt will appear on your phone, and you’re on your way! No waiting in line!
  • Club Pickup – Order  on samsclub.com and select Club Pickup to have everything waiting for you when you arrive to the club. You don’t even need to leave your car in some clubs!
  • Online – Go to the Secret Clinical Strength product page and order for delivery straight to your door along with anything else you need to stock up for the holidays!

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Secret at Sam’s Club. The opinions and text are all mine.

8 thoughts on “8 Tips To Reduce Stress When Preparing Holiday Meals

    1. Same here. I heard on the radio this morning that Stove Top Stuffing has holiday pants for people to wear after they stuff themselves. OMG! It was real! LOL Do you have any special plans of favorite things you are cooking?

    1. I’ve had many disasters! LOL – I always think no one wants the same old thing but they do! I go with the favorites because they actually are waiting all year for the stuff! Come to Arizona and visit! I have turkey for you but your weather is probably better there than anywhere in the country right now!

    1. You are welcome! I hope you will find some of them handy. Sometimes it seems so obvious but the little things make such a huge difference. I love the holidays but I don’t want to be stressed. What types of plans do you have this year?

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