Thanksgiving to Christmas – Keeping Things Simple

Plan a simple and family-friendly Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. Create a cozy feeling by cooking and baking delicious recipes (like this cornbread cooked from scratch) that are easy and will provide comfort for your family and friends.

 

Plan a Simple

Holiday Season

Choose foods that are easy to make. Prepare parts of the recipes ahead of time (like bake cornbread and boil eggs for the dressing) before the holidays.

Can the dressing be made before Thanksgiving Day?

Cornbread chicken and dressing, a Southern Thanksgiving favorite, can be made before Thanksgiving Day. Some people make it way ahead of time, freeze it, thaw it the day before, and heat it up on the morning of Thanksgiving.

My family’s preferred way to cook the dressing is to make it in stages. For instance, bake two pans of cornbread two days ahead.

And as it’s already been done this year, the hen has been cooked two days ahead. Additionally, the celery has been chopped.

Saved for the day before Thanksgiving is deboning the chicken, slicing the onions, boiling the eggs, and chopping the eggs.


The process doesn’t have to be done exactly in that order. But by breaking up the recipe’s directions into three days rather than one, you don’t have to wake up at dawn on the turkey day to begin the dressing.

The way my mother taught me to make chicken and dressing was to also add herb-seasoned stuffing mix with the cornbread.

Perhaps, you aren’t from the South and aren’t accustomed to making cornbread. Included below is a cornbread recipe made from scratch similar to how my mother, aunts, and grandmothers made theirs.

Jump to Recipe

Activities that Make Holidays Memorable

Plan activities to make your holiday season simple and memorable. Save yourself from becoming stressed to the limit by:

  • preparing easy-to-make foods for holiday family gatherings
  • playing fun games
  • putting puzzles together
  • popping fireworks (if you live in an area that allows them)
  • drinking hot chocolate, apple cider, or tea
  • eating the holiday foods you enjoy
  • visiting with loved ones

No need to have everything perfect or tire yourself out. If you’re the host, ask for help in cooking and baking.

Creating an atmosphere of holiday comfort can be as easy as lighting a scented candle, playing a Christmas CD, curling up on the sofa with a book, or working on a puzzle.

Bake cookies, and top them with festive designs or sprinkles. Fill baskets with goodies to take to a neighbor, an elderly shut-in friend, or a loved one.

Food Traditions

Start new food traditions. During holiday season’s get-togethers, introduce new recipes to your family. Encourage your adult children to bring a new dish they’ve discovered. Blend the holiday menu with traditional and new recipes.

Hot dogs don’t typically fit in with the traditional Thanksgiving menu. However, the first official day my husband and I moved into our cottage was Thanksgiving evening.

We ate hot dogs and potato salad with our friends, Barbara and Jeff, who helped us move. It was the simplest Thanksgiving meal ever, but fun. Different than chicken and cornbread dressing, but we were happy.

Traditional Cornbread Made from Scratch:

Cornbread

Cornbread, cooked from scratch, to eat as a side bread dish or for a cornbread dressing.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword bread
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Cornmeal
  • 1 Cup Organic flour
  • 6 Teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Cup Organic 2% Milk
  • 3 Large organic eggs, beaten
  • 9 Tablespoon Vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  2. Grease a large iron pan and second smaller cake pan liberally with vegetable oil.

  3. Mix the dry ingredients together well.

  4. Add the beaten eggs and the milk with the dry ingredients until well blended.

  5. Pour the oil into the mixture and mix well.

  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cornbread.

  7. Insert a toothpick into the cornbread to check if it’s done (toothpick comes out clean if it’s done).

What Matters is Love

What matters the most during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season (or any season) is love. It does not matter how big and beautiful your house is to enjoy the holidays.

You don’t have to own your own home or have a lot of money to make a memorable holiday. But there is one thing you do need. Love.

1. Love – First, please take a moment to read Mark 12:30-31, New International Version (NIV) of the Holy Bible:

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”

God loved you enough to create you. Get to know him. He understands you better than anybody.

Do you read the Bible? It has a way of touching your heart at the very moment you are going through a trial.

Take more moments throughout this holiday season to hear what God is saying to you.

We get so busy with hustle and bustle of holiday busy-ness. Pick up your Bible. Open it. Even if it’s dusty. Even if you don’t know where to read.

Good Scripture to Start Reading the Bible

Start with John 1:1 in the New Testament. Read that first chapter. You can find out about creation there.

Want to know more about the Christmas story? You can find that in Matthew and Luke.

Love people. Think about the people that you feel really do love you. What do they do or how do they act that makes you feel that way?

  1. They listen to you.
  2. They call you often to chat or see how you’re doing.
  3. They like to spend time with you (doing a hobby, shopping, playing a game, etc.).
  4. They make you laugh and feel relaxed.

What else would you add to this list?

Want people to love you? Love people the way you like to be loved.

A good website to check out for more information on how to love people is http://www.5lovelanguages.com/.

Holiday Stress

Holiday stress affects everyone. When we feel stressed, it’s so easy to gripe about frustrations. Do keep these things in mind:

  1. Griping can drive people away from you.
  2. Biting remarks cut, so don’t say them.
  3. Keep expletives to yourself if you can’t resist saying them. They don’t help anybody – not even you. All they do is make your blood pressure increase.

Speak kind words. Go the extra mile to do something for a friend. Show love by doing actions such as:

  • listening
  • refraining from giving your opinion, unless asked
  • making someone’s favorite dish or dessert
  • giving a hug

Simple Ways to Enjoy the Holidays

There are simple ways to enjoy the holidays and to have fun at home. Focus on relationships, relax, and be hospitable (even to your immediate family members). A number of these ways are:

  • Cook at home.
  • Bake cookies with your spouse, children, grandchildren, or friends.
  • Watch a movie at home with your family and/or friends.
  • Pop popcorn.
  • Make popcorn balls.
  • Keep a variety of books displayed in your living room for family and visitors to browse through or read.
  • Play games.
  • Parch peanuts in the oven.
  • Visit a friend on Skype.
  • Play the piano if you have one.
  • Play a relaxing music CD.
  • Read.

Got more you can add to this list?

Make your holiday season simple, fun, and one that you will always remember with joy.

Send me a message in the comment section below if you’d like the chicken and cornbread dressing recipe.

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