Thanksgiving was only a few weeks ago, and many of us are already gearing up to serve yet another big holiday meal. On top of all of the other end-of-year activities, the thought of planning a big Christmas dinner can be overwhelming. But if you know your DISC personality type, you can adopt strategies that will make the family dinner much more enjoyable.
One of the most enviable qualities of a D personality is their ability to problem-solve and delegate. Rather than zap your energy asking everyone what dishes they’d like you to make for the family dinner, do what you do best—make an executive decision about what the meal needs to include. Once that’s been decided, assign your guests one specific dish or task that they can do on the big day. Grandma can make her famous green bean casserole, Aunt Beth will be in charge of dessert, your kids can make a centerpiece, and your brother who doesn’t cook can bring the wine. Delegating is something that a D personality is naturally good at. So why not use that skill to your advantage when it comes to meal planning? Delegating will save you the time and expense of doing everything yourself, and since your guests are each only responsible for one small piece of the overall meal, they’ll feel included but not overwhelmed.
People with an I personality are naturally fun, energetic, and outgoing. Often, though, the challenge of planning, preparing, and timing a big holiday family dinner can be stressful for free-spirited and creative I types. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, people with an I personality type should spend time in the weeks before the meal prioritizing and deciding what’s most important to them. If you’re like most people with an I personality, socializing is one of your favorite things. If spending time with your guests is more important to you than preparing tons of labor-intensive dishes, why take on responsibilities that will make you unhappy and remove you from the social dynamic that you love? Embrace the two most magical words in the I personality’s holiday handbook: carry out. Most major grocery stores offer complete holiday meals that you can order for your gathering for only a small fraction more than it would cost to make it all yourself. Don’t stress yourself out by having to plan, organize, and execute a big meal. Just order it in. Or just order in the parts that are the least enjoyable to prepare yourself. Then you can spend your energy on the fun stuff.
Holidays are very important to S personality types. Sentimental, caring, and nostalgic, family is an S personality’s highest priority. S personalities like to show their love for their family through their actions, which often translates to planning a huge holiday feast that includes made-from-scratch family recipes that have been handed down over generations. And why stop at one dish from grandma’s recipe box when you could make two? Or three so that everyone’s favorite can be there? And when you were growing up, your parents always cooked a turkey for Christmas dinner that took all morning to cook and was lovingly basted every few hours. You can’t skip a tradition like that, right?
Wrong! When it comes to holiday meal planning, the biggest problem for an S personality is overdoing it. I’ve never been to a dinner party thrown by a friend with an S personality where there wasn’t way too much food—more than all the guests could eat in a week! Remember, you don’t have to make every dish you remember fondly from your childhood. Your family will be happy with one or two. But if you are an S that simply MUST do it all, then try to get as much prep work done as you can in advance. Make dishes a few days in advance and freeze or refrigerate them. That way Christmas day won’t find you chained to the kitchen, running around frantically to get everything finished.
C personalities are excellent at organization and timing. They will typically have the family meal planned out weeks in advance and have a detailed schedule in mind that will ensure that everything goes off without a hitch. A C personality is so organized and focused, though, that they often isolate themselves in the kitchen, trying to get everything done themselves. C personalities like control and will naturally gravitate towards taking on all of the responsibility for meal planning and preparation, as collaboration doesn’t mesh with their introverted nature. But if you’re a C, try to remember that your family wants to spend time with you at the holidays. If someone volunteers to help out, resist the natural urge to shoo them away. Accepting help when it’s offered will reduce your stress and make your guests feel valued and included. And if everything doesn’t go exactly according to plan, don’t stress out—perfection is infinitely more important to you than it is to your family and friends.
In the end, no matter what your personality type, remember this: holiday meals with family are meant to be enjoyed. Find the balance that works for you, and you’ll create holiday traditions that you can look forward to all year round.
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