Holidays tend to get people busy aaaannndddd stressed. They bring undercover expectations and can sometimes even force a facade. None of these things say “celebrate”.
We come around picnic tables and blankets, we bring casseroles and popsicles, bug spray and sparklers. A time to gather and celebrate can actually be a time of enjoyment and moments of sitting and breathing.
But how do we have the cutest set up, with the most delicious snacks and still find rest and calm at the same time?
TAKE CAPTIVE YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND CHECK THEY’RE REALISTIC
When we gather for the holidays, like the celebration of our great country on the 4th of July, let’s just take a moment to realize we DO have expectations of the day. We even have expectations of our kids and hubbies.
Before the jello mold is pulled out take a moment to play through the events in your head. Have you placed expectations on the people you love that could be unrealistic? Are you expecting kids on your lap watching the lovely fireworks and snuggles? Or have you considered the fact that it doesn’t get dark till after 9:00 PM and kids will be dead tired and probably a little scared of the noise? Not to mention traffic leaving the scene of the show.
Part of a wonderful and joy filled 4th means being prepared for normal life (ie – not Instagram-worthy photo ops) and not letting your expectations get away from you. Capture your thoughts and make sure they reflect realistic situations.
ASK FOR HELP AND INCLUDE ALL – “MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK”
Whether you’re invited or you’re inviting, you’ll probably be preparing! Whether you’re preparing food, or set up, or both don’t be afraid to ASK FOR HELP!
There is no badge, no honor and no award for “doing it all”. Include everyone, even the kids can do a chore or 2. I’ve been known to have a “job jar” for guests. It makes taking out the trash fun. The Job Jar puts little tasks and jobs on others, allowing you to host and manage.
My job jar includes (but is not limited to):
- Trash take out
- Set up chairs
- Clear the table
- Uncover food
- Take down chairs (and store)
- Store leftovers
You can make jobs whatever would be most helpful to you but give it a try. Include everyone at the party and don’t be too proud to ask for a little assistance.
SIMPLIFY YOUR PREPARATION – IT CAN STILL LOOK AMAZING
Just because you saw it on Pinterest and it would make your friends “oo” and “aw” does not mean you have to do it! Cause that little 3 hrs prep 8 hrs chill time is totally NOT worth an “ooooo”.
But you can arrange a beautiful cheese board or fruit tray that looks the part and took 10 min to create. Just remember that part of a fun 4th of July starts before the party. As you prepare use that as time to prepare your mind and remember what you’re celebrating, gaining perspective.
DON’T GET STUCK TRYING TO MAKE IT PERFECT
Gathering around the table during holidays is one of my favorites and of course I always have a camera in hand (even if it is just my phone camera). As you document the sweet moments together don’t forget to get the shot and then put the phone down.
Taking photos to capture the sweet celebration is so important but not the focus. Don’t get stuck with phone in hand, don’t let the stress of planning and people and food and expectations clog up the view.
If you’re ready to have a fun 4th of July follow these 3 tips and if you’re ready to get the best (and quickest) pics of the day make sure you sign up for my Challenge: Take better phone pics, so you’ll be prepared and confident to get the shot and then put the phone down!
Happy Birthday USA!