Around the House: Bring In Early Shabbos With the Serenity of a Queen
By Yehudit Garmaise
With Shabbos coming in at 4:18 p.m. this week, every moment up until the zman must be carefully planned.
While just one month ago, Friday mornings allowed plenty of time for doing some work, running to the grocery store for last-minute items, doing a few errands, and then cleaning out the refrigerator to clear space for cooked Shabbos food, winter Shabbosim mean business.
To be ready to light candles at a time that is merely late afternoon during the week, we must stay focused.
By following a few tips and tricks this winter season, we can bring in early Shabboses with organization and calm.
1. Only do a small amount of work Friday morning, and then close your laptop until Motzei Shabbos or even better yet, Sunday morning. Nothing makes early Fridays more stressful than pushing back the time at which you can Shabbos prep. Set a time, such as 10 a.m., when you must stop working to get your home into Shabbos-mode.
2. Make sure to get your Shabbos grocery shopping completed by Wednesday. Nothing creates a harried feeling like trying to clean up your home, do laundry, run to the store and the dry cleaners, and cook all on the same day.
“Don’t make yourself crazy,” Rebbetzin Rivka Stern always says. Don’t try to do too much at once. Save our errands for Sunday. Schedule cleaning help for Thursday, so no one is in your way when you are bustling area.
3. Complete all non-food Shabbos preparations on Thursday: Instead of spending at least an hour throwing away unnecessary papers and putting things away on Friday morning, make it a practice to get your home mostly ready for Shabbos on Thursday. Clear off surfaces, clean the refrigerator, put things back in their places, finish laundry, and set the dining room table by Thursday night.
Not only will doing so allow you to get right to cooking on Friday morning, but seeing the house set for Shabbos on Thursday reminds everyone to pitch in and ask what they can do to help.
4. Ensure that something is coming out of the oven just as your children come home to serve them. Not only will your cooking give your children the taste of Shabbos, but you won’t have to stop what you are doing to make something new.
5. Assign everyone in the house one or two “Shabbos jobs” to be done every Friday, such as putting away muktza toys, ripping toilet paper, emptying bathroom and bedroom garbage cans, taking out the garbage, putting new bags in trash cans, straightening out the shoes in the front of the house, and unloading the dishwasher, so it is empty for Shabbos.
6. Consider starting whatever cooking can be frozen starting on Monday: Instead of trying to cook three large meals on one short day, consider making one dish that freezes well each day of the week. Challah, soups, kugels, brisket, and desserts all freeze well. Save chicken, potatoes, rice, cooked vegetables, and salads to make on Thursday at the earliest.
7. Pick up a few extra things, like dips, salads, and desserts. You don’t have to do everything yourself. When guests ask what they can bring, think about a few things that would really help you and save you time or a trip out.
8. Make sure to sit down and eat a small lunch on Friday to feel energetic. Tasting what you are cooking does not count.
9. If you need last-minute items, don’t try to get them yourself. Have them delivered or ask your husband or children to pick them up for you.
10. Make sure to set aside special books, magazines, and newspapers so you can read for a bit in your neat and regal home before heading to bed early on Friday night.