Holiday Secrets – Getting Out Of December Alive 

Dec 3, 2018 | Food and Culture

For most of us, December is the busiest month of the year. We are getting our Christmas shopping done, spending more time with family and friends than we have all year, and planning the biggest day and dinner of the year. It can be a lot. It can be overwhelming at times. The pressure that we put on ourselves during the holidays can lead to us not enjoying even a second of it. But is there another way?

I’m not an expert in family physiology. I don’t have a diploma in gift wrapping, and I can’t tell you the perfect toy to get for your kid. What I can do is share with you the two biggest secrets that I picked up in years working in the restaurant industry. These will help you get through this holiday season unscathed.

Holiday Secrets – Getting Out Of December Alive 

In the food industry December is a crazy month. Restaurants are busier than usual because of all the people out shopping and not really having time to eat at home. On top of that, it is Christmas party season which makes things 10 x worse. It can be a really crazy month. But we always get through it. Come out the other side better than when we went in. Maybe a little battered and bruised, but we always make it out.

The things that we do in restaurants that get us through the busiest times can you help you too. No matter what, these two principles will get you through as they always have for us.

The secret to the holidays, unsurprisingly, is planning and preparation. Maybe not as sexy as you thought it was going to be, but true none the less.


For a handful of you out there this is going to seem like the most obvious thing in the world. Of course planning is going to help you get through the month. However, I guarantee that the majority of people reading this haven’t really planned out anything for holidays. Maybe they know where they are going to be on Christmas morning, or who will be at dinner, but that’s about it.

When I say planning what I mean is planning for everything. Take a few hours and plan out the whole month. When are you going to do your last minute shopping? When are you going to bake? Are you going to get the ingredients you need to do your baking on the same day you are baking? Did you already buy your turkey? What are the side dishes going to be? Who is going to help make dinner? Is anyone going to help with the dishes? What are you going to eat on the busy days leading up to Christmas? What’s for breakfast on Christmas morning, what about boxing day?

These are all important questions that you should ask yourself. Write down your answers and ask any other question that you think are relevant. As mundane as it may seem it really will help you. Even just the act of thinking about these things will help you.

Once you have things planned out it’s time to start phase two.


In restaurants we just refer to this as prep and that’s what we are going to call it from here on out.

So, what do I mean when I say prep. I mean get everything as ready as you possibly can before it needs to be done.

Planning is the act of thinking ahead. Prep is the act of acting ahead.

Anything that you can do before you absolutely need to do it is prep and it will help you. I mean anything no matter how small.

You are going to be wrapping gifts, you don’t want to stop because you ran out of tape. Right? Make sure you have more than enough. Make sure you have wrapping paper. Wrap presents as you get them home if you can. Save yourself from hours of wrapping hell buy spreading it out over time.

Baked goods freeze very well. Why not do all of your Christmas baking this week? Bake it, put it in the freezer and be done with it.

Pull your Christmas lights out and go through them before you buy your Christmas tree. That way, when you go to decorate your tree your not messing with the lights. You know they are ready to go.

Even Christmas dinner need not be a big stressful thing. Don’t believe me? Take a look at my thanksgiving post here. The same principles apply.

There are so many little things that if done ahead seem like nothing but if left until the last minute pile up and become a giant problem. The holidays are stressful enough. Do everything in your power to avoid adding more undue stress.


Again, I know that to some of you this all seems painfully obvious. But I also know that there people out there that just read this and a giant light bulb came on in their head. Sometimes the obvious things are only obvious when someone points them out to us.

I also know that these aren’t really holiday secrets but rather life secrets but they work none the less.

The final point that I want to make is that things don’t have to be as stressful as they often are. With a little planning and prep you may actually enjoy this holiday season. And if not, there is always alcohol.


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