The holidays are coming.  Walmart and Sam’s has been preparing us since the end of August. For years, I used to dread the holidays and the stresses it would bring… cleaning the house to perfection (which I’m not good at), making the food, preparing for the holiday events we had to attend, keeping 5 little kids clean and tidy… oh, my… my heart is racing just thinking about it.

Five years ago (mind you, my kids would have been 11, 9, 8, 6 and 4), I sat my littles and hubby down around the kitchen table the first week of October with three sheets of paper and listed out Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years one on each sheet.  Then, I wrote three columns “foods”, “activities” and “Mom’s to-dos” on each sheet.  Starting with the youngest, I would ask, “What would you like to eat for Thanksgiving?” and “Is there anything that you like to do on Thanksgiving?” I’d write their requests and notes to myself that I didn’t want to forget under “Mom’s to-dos”. And, move on to the next child.  After the children were done, then I’d ask my Handsome.  And, we’d move on to each holiday.  When their requests were done, I formed menus based upon what they liked and a calendar based on activities they wanted to do.

Over the years, they would give me answers like: play football, play board games, look for Christmas lights, eat mandarin salad, eat cranberry muffins, drink hot apple cider and etc.

Here’s my first year’s Thanksgiving list:

Breakfast: Lun/Din: Things to do:
Cranberry muffins (Reg & GF) Turkey Go to Oma & Papa’s for Nativity
Eggs & Linguisca Baked Potatoes Board games/Cards
Apple Cider Spiced Peaches Charlie Brown Thxgiving
Oranges Banana Pineapple Salad
OREO Turkeys
Apple pie/ice cream

It was a revelation to me.  If I got their desires down, I could make the holiday of their dreams… not someone else’s dream.  Do you know what was not on *my* family’s list? Cleaning. They wanted good food and good times. Now, I’m not saying our house wasn’t neat and picked up, but it wasn’t magazine ready.  And, you may not have family like mine.  But as the holidays start ramping up, figure out the major things that make their holidays special and lower your stress on the minor details.

As the holidays start coming around, I’m going to post our family’s year after year food choices that are allergy friendly.  Are you ready?