We Came Together

Now is the time of families, of celebration and togetherness. Whatever your creed or faith, whatever your nation of origin or background, now is the time when families come together to celebrate. I sort of wish I knew why, because it seems like a truly fascinating phenomenon. If you have a larger family, or you have just started your family, here are a few things to keep in mind for family traditions. So, strap-in and get yourself ready, because today we are prepping for the holidays.

GET YOUR DECORATIONS OUT

I don’t know you, but I know my family hates that I don’t decorate for the holidays. I put that on them mostly; after all, they could have made that a thing for me, but they didn’t. Despite being an outsider for the decorating prep, I know a thing or two.

  • Pull your decorations out of storage. If you are sacrificing space in your house for boxes that you only use once a year, we need to talk. Get a storage unit. It’ll massively increase your total available space in the attic or basement.
  • Take the hit and go big. Yes, I know you don’t want to do that. I don’t want to do it either. I know that it will make those close to me very happy, so I take the hit. That means wreathes, and pine, and ornaments, and little statuettes. It makes the space look cluttered, but that’s the price of having a family.
  • Stay reasonable. This may sound counter to the first tip, mostly because it is. If you don’t think it is possible for you to decorate the outside, or if you know when that inflatable snowman goes outside it is staying outside, maybe don’t set it up in the first place. Know what is a reasonable ask for you, and work with that.

PREPPING DINNER

What holiday is complete without an absurd dinner spread? I’m talking turkey, I’m talking gravy, I’m talking mashed potatoes. If you don’t feel 15 pounds heavier after the meal, I dare say that you did it wrong. Here are a few tips for cooking a couple of holiday staples in my household.

  • Ham: you are going to want to score the meat to help it keep its shape. That means with a good paring knife you just barely cut through the skin. Any more than that and you are cutting into good meat, and risking it drying out too much. That’s not what we want here.
  • Turkey 1: spatch-cocking doesn’t work. That’s where you take the spine out of turkey, flatten it out on a baking tray. It’s supposed to help the turkey cook more evenly. Problem is that turkey legs cook more slowly due to the higher fat content. Instead, it is more worthwhile to just get two meat thermometers with separate alarms set.
  • Turkey 2: turkey is an incredibly lean meat, which means that it dries out very quickly. An easy way to help fight this is to rub some butter just under the skin. Mixing the butter with herbs is a great way to intensify your flavors.

GETTING THE ROOMS READY

Now is a good time to get the rooms ready for your family. Not sure why, but it seems to be a big thing for families to occupy the same space during the holidays. If this is a thing for your family here are a few things to keep in mind straight from someone who, as a twenty-something, has had to share a bed with his elder brother.

  • Don’t do this if you don’t have space. This is the biggest, “oh really?” thing that is in this whole blog. No one wants to double up on beds, except the couples that are home for the holidays.
  • Pull mattresses out of storage. Coming right back to the storage unit, if you are a little shorter on space than you should be to even do the whole thing grabbing a mattress out of your storage unit.

These tips should help your holiday season go by a little bit more smoothly. Every little bit goes a long way after all. The smoother this can go, the more you can focus on what is important: family. Also, food. That’s one of my favorite part of the whole thing.

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