The crocuses are barely pushing up outside and the first major holidays of the year are upon us. If thought of hosting your Passover seder has you stressing, trust me, bubaleh, it’s all going to be fine. We’re going to take care of everything… don’t you worry.
First off, forget about getting it perfect. It’s never going to be the same meal you remember from your childhood seders, nor should it be. Make the holiday your own by choosing your favorite traditions and letting go of the rest. Although Passover is one of the most religious of the Jewish holidays, families practice its rituals to widely varying degrees, with this in common: the coming together of family and friends to celebrate the freedom from slavery of their ancestral tribe… and to have a feast!
In more religious households, Passover prep can start weeks before with meticulous cleaning of the kitchen, and other areas of the house. In this way, the most relevant task to prep for Passover is the clearing of the fridge and pantry of any non-Passover food items. Too squelch any guilt you may have about wasting food, plan your meals leading up to the holiday to make use of anything in the freezer that would have to be tossed. Have a box handy to collect whatever you can donate to a local church or food bank.
A few days before the seder, pull out your Passover dishes, cookware and utensils and move the regular sets into another room. Set aside 30 minutes to clean the Passover set, and get them ready for use.
Make your shopping list according to each market you’ll have to visit, to gather groceries and specialty items for your seder plate. Divide your list by grocery store, farmer’s market, kosher market, etc. Be sure to save your lists on your computer for next year, to make shopping that much easier. We recommend Evernote for keeping track of these lists (and much more).
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, remember it’s okay to delegate. Have suggestions ready for when guests ask what they could bring. Or take the lead and reach out to family for help before you get too stressed to enjoy yourself.
With big meals like a seder, it’s helpful to create a timeline by working backwards from the time you want sit down. Post your timelines along with your lists of all that needs to get done, in easy to see block print on the back of your cabinet doors. It will make it easy for anyone to step in and help, and you can enjoy the satisfaction of crossing each item off as you complete them.
Give some thought to how you could make the holiday meaningful for you and your family. Remember, your guests will follow your lead, so if you relax and don’t stress out, neither will they. We’d love to hear what holiday traditions you keep each year at your Passover table, or one you plan to start this year. Chag sameach!