At what point did society become so obsessed with perfection?  We want the perfect decor, gifts, food, wrapping, tree, cookies, indoor lights, outdoor lights, shopping…all while creating debt and chaos that no one needs.  Some will stop at nothing to find the perfect toy, only to find it’s in the corner and not touched after a month or two.  Have to get the cards written, addressed, stamped and mailed.  One more trip to the mall or wait, I can log in online.  Just a few more ribbons, a couple of bulbs, another strand of garland, one more little gift.  Whoa!  Hit the brakes my friends.  All of this madness is raising our anxiety and stress levels to all-time highs.  And for what?  Here’s a thought:  let’s stop stressin’ over the dressin’!

This means keeping it simple–all of it!

Let’s Begin With the Food

Now, I’m all for traditions, but if they stress you out, it’s time to make a change. If you love making the big meal and it brings you joy; by all means, go for it.  However, to ease the burden of a big, fancy meal, consider these tips:

  • If you make a ham, cook it on the 23rd or 24th then slice, heat and serve on the 25th.
  • Lasagna, stuffed shells or the like can be made ahead of time and frozen until needed.
  • Delegate side dishes to other dinner guests; you don’t need to be a super hero.
  • Use decorative paper plates rather than the good china and serve buffet style (using throw away trays).
  • Make certain to have take home containers so you have minimal leftovers to worry about.
  • Assign clean up tasks so it’s completed in no time (don’t be afraid to do this–your guests want to spend time with you and don’t want you stuck in the kitchen alone!)

Remember the goal is no stressin’ over that dressin’!

Who Doesn’t Love Appetizers?

Of course, another option (and my personal favorite) is to make a meal out of appetizers.  Who doesn’t love amazing appetizers?  Below are links to the recipes.  It’s easy to set up multiple stations (this also allows guests to move about and mingle as they seek out different items to sample).  Pair with sangria, different wines, sparkling water/juices, or ciders and you have the makings of a cozy little gathering.  By having all guests bring something, you can almost visualize the tempting feast set before everyone–without the hassle of creating a multi-course meal.  Additionally, you just might feel more peace and less anxiety!

Check out these sites for some wonderfully festive (and easy ideas).

It’s Always Autumn  

Stop Stressin' Over the Dressin'
Edible Trees






Cozy Little House


No Stressin" Over The Dressin"
Fun & Festive







Womans Day

Stop Stressin' Over the Dressin'
Red, White and Yum








The Recipe Rebel


Stop Stressin' Over the Dressin'
Berry and Bright

No Biggie

Who Doesn’t Love Charcuterie?









This is simply a snippet of the wonderful appetizers that will be certain to make your holiday meal or informal gatherings merry and bright.  If we Stop Stressin’ Over the Dressin’, we will have much more time to be in conversation and fellowship with our friends and loved ones.  Imagine having the time, energy and desire to to spend these precious moments with those we care for the most.

Please share one of your favorite appetizers with us and include the recipe if possible.  (You can share in the comments or pop over to our  Facebook Page)

Next Up:  No Dysfunction Here (Managing the guest list, guiding the conversations, & creating memories to last a lifetime!)