Hosting a holiday meal? Think you're going to prepare things while your baby naps? Well think again, this is highly unlikely as babies instinctively know when you want them to fall asleep, and they will simply refuse or worse, fall asleep for 10 minutes and your hands will be up the turkey's butt when they start wailing- try these tips I recently employed and you'll be a holly jolly mama!
Things You Will need:
Husband/Sister Wife/ Partner/ Friend that likes babies
*Wine is probably the most important thing on this list.
Step 1: Get organized. Before you had your baby you probably could just whip up a holiday meal and if you needed to run out of the house to buy things at the last minute no problem! Having a baby changes up the holiday baking game. Make a list of all the dishes you want to prepare and then create your shopping list. Do not deviate from your plan, for this to work you need to have all of your ingredients in the home before you begin cooking.
Step 2:Keep it simple. Now is not the time to try new recipes, stick with your tried and true stand bys. It's tempting when your mother sends you gorgeous recipes from the New York Times but don't give in! Mashed potatoes and stuffing from a package are delicious and will totally suffice.
Step 3: Handle things the night before. Set the table and prepare whatever you can the night before the big holiday bash after you put the baby down. Pies and cookies are good candidates as well as side dishes that you can easily warm in the oven or heat up in the microwave. Warning: If making a pumpkin pie, you will notice a remarkable similarity of what's in your baby's diaper and the pie filling.
If you don't have a partner, you need to have a friend or relative who likes wine and babies come over.
Step 4: The big roast. This will depend on your family's tradition and what time your baby wakes up in the morning. But for us it worked to have my husband prep the turkey and it get in the oven while I fed the baby. If you are doing ham or other type of beast that needs a long cooking time I suggest this as well. You can do it all but you shouldn't, put your man to work.
Step 5: Preparing food while baby is awake. For some food preparation you can wear your baby in his carrier. I wouldn't do this while sauteing food or chopping up spicey peppers but peeling potatoes and carrots is quite doable if your baby enjoys being worn. If your baby does not enjoy being worn (mine does not) set up your baby swing, pack n' play, newborn lounger or jumper in the kitchen. Make a real game of it, singing songs about what you're doing and laughing and smiling at your baby.
Step 6: Open up wine and and drink it. (Omit this step at your own peril.)
Step 7: Get some helping hands. Tell husband to get his butt in the kitchen and pick up that baby who is no longer entertained by your song about carrots that are happy and they know it. If you don't have a partner, you need to have a friend or relative who likes wine and babies come over. Have this friend hold your baby while you continue to cook. Give this friend a glass of wine that she can reach easily while holding the baby.
Step 8: Drink more wine. Think how cute your husband is holding the baby. Feel glad you married him and that he is the father of your child.
Step 9: Snap out of it! You've got to get the potatoes mashed!
Step 10: Pass off Baby to others. Let your guests take care of Baby, everyone will want to hold him anyway. Then you and your husband can do all the last minute things when they arrive like warming the rolls and making gravy.
Alternatively, skip all of the above steps (except the wine) and just order take-out and start a new tradition! You're the matriarch now and you can do whatever you want. Crispy duck from your local Chinese restaurant is a great alternative to killing yourself trying to make a magical holiday meal when you're sleep-deprived and dealing with the many traumas joys of new motherhood. Or better yet, get yourself invited to someone else's holiday extravaganza and bring them some wine.
What are your holiday hacks? Inquiring moms want to know! Post in the comments below. After all, it takes a village to have a Happy Holiday!