Thanks and Giving

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     You send the kids back to school, turn around once, and it’s Halloween. Before you can sneeze, it’s Thanksgiving and you’re about to get hit by the Chrismakkuh bus.


     Our time is scarce, and many of our other resources get stretched awfully thin this time of year. We want to do it all; we want the cleanest, best decorated house, the most delicious dinners, the perfect homemade gifts and baked goods. Some of us drive ourselves crazy and get there; many of us beat ourselves up for not getting it done. Some of us feel guilty for not doing as much unto others as we would like.

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     Here are a few ideas to help you get a handle on the holiday insanity while working in good deeds in a manageable fashion. You may remember a few of these from last year’s Thanksgiving Throwdown, link: http://www.drawlmag.com/hospitality/2011/thanksgivingthrowdown/ and we’ve added ideas for helping others.

  • Clean and donate! Go a step further than just clearing out the cabinets and donate any non-expired food you won’t use soon to the local food pantry. You’ll have more room for your holiday baking supplies and nonperishables, and you won’t waste perfectly good food. More importantly, someone who needs help will get it.
  • Shop and give. While you clean out the kitchen, note what supplies you need for this year’s feast and baking. Keep the list with you and buy when items are on sale or you have coupons. When you find a really good deal, buy extra and donate. Your wallet will barely notice the hit, and by the time the big day arrives, you’ll be stocked. Alternatively, donate the money you save by shopping creatively.
  • Find your dishes and linens and bequeath the extras. Streamline your kitchen supplies. Have those casserole dishes sat untouched for more than a year? Do you have seven sets of measuring cups? A young person starting out or a friend fresh out of a relationship might be able to use those. Failing that, donate them to a thrift store or offer them to your church fellowship hall. While you’re digging up the annual servingware and cleaning it, look for pieces you can give away. The same goes for linens. If you have tablecloths and mats you know you’ll never use again, pass them along.
  • Deliver a dish that doesn’t have to be returned. Fill a castoff dish and deliver it. Cooking two casseroles is usually scarcely more time intensive than cooking just one. Is a friend hosting her first Thanksgiving? Is a neighbor going through a really stressful holiday season? Offer up a pan of your signature side and tell him or her to keep the dish.

     These small tasks will help you be well prepared for your holiday cooking and hosting, and the small gestures go a long way toward helping those who need a hand.

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