Simplify the Holidays Group Coaching

Simplify the Holidays


Thank you SO much for the overwhelming response to my survey last Friday! It got me so excited about my upcoming course, I just had to share some tips early. I know so many are concerned about their children being disappointed if the focus is shifted away from gifts and I wanted to give you some encouragement right away. This is what I do in my family, and I’ve seen it work in dozens of other families.

Click below to listen to my audio recording:

I am VERY close to finishing up my holiday group coaching program. I’ve been working on this for quite some time and am finally ready to wrap it up. I’m getting ready to start the group by the end of this week.

This course will be entirely focused on “Simplifying the Holidays.” It will include 5 weekly 60 minute recordings with tips and methods from me, a private facebook group to keep everyone encouraged, weekly checklists to work through and holiday menu plans.

In a couple days I’m going to be sending out another audio recording, I’ll talk about general ways to simplify the holidays and I’ll have a simple menu plan ready for you. So be watching for my next email.

Blog article referenced in the recording:

And I’d love to know- would you tell me what foods you are expected to serve? Do you always do turkey or ham? Do you want to try something new or just organize your day so the cooking flows easily and you’re not completely exhausted by the end and dreading the clean up?

Please leave a comment below and let me know. Also, if you know of someone who would enjoy this, please share the love. 🙂

P.S. If you are not signed up to receive my newsletter and want to be sure to hear the next recording, click here and sign up.



  1. Anna on 11/01/2014 at 9:49 PM

    I would love some ideas for simplifying the meals- it seems like all there are just so many different dishes and then the leftovers are crazy and the fridge is stuffed for the next 2 weeks.

    We typically do a Turkey and a Ham. It’s just too much.

    • Rachel on 11/02/2014 at 11:39 AM

      Ok. Thanks Anna!

  2. Sherri on 11/01/2014 at 9:52 PM

    Christmas dinner is ok, but I would love to know how to organize all the food for company that stays over- breakfasts, lunches, snacks. I don’t want to spend the entire visit in the kitchen.

    • Rachel on 11/02/2014 at 11:39 AM

      Definitely. Thanks Sherri!

  3. Liz on 11/01/2014 at 9:55 PM

    We have a typical turkey dinner, but I would love some simple sides that are “real food” (i.e. no marshmallow laden sweet potatoes) and that don’t take much time or something I can make ahead.

    • Rachel on 11/02/2014 at 11:38 AM

      Sounds great- thanks for commenting Liz!

  4. Jamie on 11/02/2014 at 12:18 AM

    My situation is tricky and unusual, but my husband is newly diagnosed as allergic to beef, pork, turkey, tomatoes, and lemons among many other things (those are the ‘big ones’) so we will be looking for some seafood options that don’t break the bank and/or chicken ideas. I do not host the big holiday meal at my house, but am looking for some fun ideas on how to ‘jazz up’ some of the things he can have, since wherever we do go we will need to bring a meal for at least him (I wouldn’t ever expect a host to change the whole meal for just one person).

    • Rachel on 11/02/2014 at 11:36 AM

      That is definitely a challenge! Food allergies are tough. 🙁

  5. Kathryn on 11/02/2014 at 1:11 AM

    Jamie have you thought about rabbit meat for your Husband?
    I used to raise rabbits for meat,the meat is very mild,heart healthy and great for diabetics and would probably be safe with your Husband’s allergies.
    It can be prepared any way you would prepare poultry.
    Perhaps do a search for meat rabbit breeders in the area or stop by a local feed store and ask if they can give you any leads on meat rabbit breeders in your area.
    If you like it and it works for him you might even want to raise them yourself which can be done even in very urban areas.
    Just a suggestion for an alternative meat you may enjoy.

  6. Corinne on 11/02/2014 at 2:37 AM

    Holiday mealtimes are not horrible for us. Christmas Eve is a community potluck with family and friends before going to church. Then, in a traditional year, I host Christmas day brunch. The family, and any friends who are included, come to our house to open gifts and then eat. I do a lot of prepare-ahead with muffins, a fruit and nut bread, and a nice fruit bowl, then on Christmas morning, I throw a bacon and egg casserole in the oven when everyone arrives and by the time we are done with gifts, everything is ready. Christmas dinner is at my parents’ home and everybody contributes something. My usual contributions are coleslaw or broccoli salad and mashed turnip, my Mom does the turkey and stuffing, my SIL takes on cranberries and desserts, etc. The next day is Boxing Day and, after a breakfast of leftover pastries from the previous day, we all pack up and head to my brother’s, where he and my SIL host a bunch of people for another holiday meal. We all bring any left-overs from the previous day and we end up having a big potluck of left-over food.

    It wasn’t always like this but expectations for one family to do it all became unrealistic as our families grew, and this was our solution. It might not work for everyone, but for the past 10 years, it has come to mean a lot to us, getting to spend this time with family and close friends.

    • Rachel on 11/02/2014 at 11:35 AM

      That’s nice Corinne, I love the system your family came up with.

  7. Karen on 11/02/2014 at 9:34 AM

    At Thanksgiving we have the traditional turkey meal with pies for dessert. The Christmas meal is always hard since I travel on Christmas day to my own families gathering. I would love fix ahead foods so I’m not in the kitchen for the entire holiday. THANKS! Love your hints and suggestions.

    • Rachel on 11/02/2014 at 11:37 AM

      Great- thanks Karen!

  8. Vince on 11/02/2014 at 9:35 AM

    We are an Asian family, which always adds work because in addition to the turkey dinner that everyone expects we add festive Asian dishes like spring rolls and dumplings, which are very labor-intensive. Our Italian neighbors similarly always make a lasagna. Simplifying multi-cultural meals would be a real help.

    And I would also be interested in recipes that re-use leftover side dishes: it’s easy enough to re-purpose roast turkey and mashed potatoes, but what do you do with the extra stuffing, cranberry sauce , yams, gravy, pumpkin pie, etc.?

    • Rachel on 11/02/2014 at 11:37 AM

      Wow, that is a tough one Vince, I’ll have to put some thought into it! Thanks for commenting.

    • Christine on 11/02/2014 at 12:05 PM

      There’s a soup some people make where they put all the leftovers into a pot and add broth. I’m not sure as I’ve never made it but our friends love it. Just an idea.

  9. Courenay on 11/02/2014 at 9:43 AM

    THANK YOU so much for taking the time to do this project! I enjoyed listening and your insight was right on the mark and gave me some great ideas on getting my kiddos involved in looking outside themselves for ways to share with others. Looking forward to your next installment 🙂

    • Rachel on 11/02/2014 at 11:38 AM

      Awesome, thank you! 🙂

  10. Cathy on 11/02/2014 at 12:39 PM

    My mom always did a full turkey dinner and I started out that way as well. But the past few years, we have just chosen a simpler meal that sounds good to the majority of us and gone with that. One year it was meat loaf and au gratin potatoes; another year, ham and hashbrown casserole. I will usually spend some extra time on a special breakfast dish and/or dessert for the day, but still way less time than the whole turkey ordeal took.

    • Rachel on 11/02/2014 at 12:50 PM

      That sounds great Cathy!

  11. Michelle on 11/02/2014 at 1:26 PM

    We always do holiday meals with extended family, and everyone brings a few, large dishes to share. Those days with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and great grandparents are idyllic. What I struggle with is how to make our meals as a family of five still fun, festive, and memorable–without them being completely overshadowed by these large gatherings of 20 or 30 family members all together. And what to make for breakfast on those days that is still fun, festive, and not time consuming for mom. 🙂

    We usually do turkey, ham or prime rib for holiday meals. Another meal we have done is brunch for holidays–quiche, baked goods, ham, potato casserole, salad. That is a fun option, as well.

    • Rachel on 11/02/2014 at 9:29 PM

      Oh good point! Thanks Michelle!

  12. Sheri on 11/02/2014 at 5:00 PM

    Our Thanksgiving meal varies from the usual turkey and dressing to ham and sweet potatoes. But the cooking jobs are divided among family members, so the job is much easier for everyone. Plus our gathering is typically small and we keep the number of dishes to a minimum.

    • Rachel on 11/02/2014 at 9:28 PM

      Thanks Sheri!

  13. Sharon H. on 11/02/2014 at 6:32 PM

    I am not naturally organized internally. I cannot make things all come out hot and ready at the same time on my own, the way Grandma always did.

    But I can think, and I have pencil and paper. And I steal ideas from everywhere if I think they will make my life easier.

    A colleague of my husband’s mentioned that she planned her dinner parties in reverse. If dinner was served at 7pm, then the butter had to be taken out of the refrigerator at 7 minus 2 hours, and the roast had to come out of the oven at 7 minus 30 minutes.

    So I began a timeline, using my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, working in reverse. Now I have a simple, easy to follow plan of when to do each step. It’s one meal where it’s fine, even preferred, if the menu never changes. Tradition is king. So my handy chart works well over the years.

    • Rachel on 11/02/2014 at 9:28 PM

      What a great way to figure it out and organize your day! Thanks for sharing Sharon!

  14. Kimberly on 11/02/2014 at 11:47 PM

    This year is going to be different for us. It will just be my husband and I. We don’t have any children and normally we spend the holidays with our extended family. I have no idea what I’m going to make for just the two of us. I will definitely get a Greenberg turkey but after that, no idea. I don’t want leftovers for weeks!

  15. Angel on 11/04/2014 at 12:45 AM

    Thanksgiving is the over the top meal for us. Christmas is more relaxed, but we pull out all the stops for thanksgiving. I have a love/hate relationship with this big meal. It takes a lot of work and it’s over in 30 minutes.

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