How to plan for a three day yom tov


Ah, the three day Yom Tov. We get to do it three times in 2011, and that’s not all–this pattern will repeat in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2017! So how do you plan for a three day yom tov?

I use a steady, systematic method to plan that make things as easy as possible.

Start by writing out the days you will be preparing to make a day by day guide. One day per page works, although if you use a computer, just get them down. Then you need a list of what to do. Right now, focus in on non-cooking tasks. Include the cleaning tasks you want done, any special items needed for the holidays and time to order/buy them, clothes to buy/order, paper goods to get, guests to invite, etc. You can put them directly on days or make a list and then assign them to days. Here is an example of my Sukkot 2011 plan (the first pages are where you’ll find this part.)

Next, we move on to menu planning, cooking (and cooking planning), and food shopping. First comes menu planning. If you have lots of time, you can put that on a calendar day as a task. If not, get started! I like to look through cookbooks, browse blogs, and review my favorites. I prefer to have a few dishes from each–some new, most tried and true. Here is my Sukkot Menu Template.

Once you plan these out, you need to move on to the next step: your cooking plan. (See page 3 of my Sukkot 2011 plan.) This is where you write in what you’ll be making and for how many servings. You’ll put it all together. Hopefully, you’ve used some dishes for several meals to save wear and tear on yourself! Either way, write the dish and the number of servings you’ll need next to it. You can do children as halves, or do them separately: noodle kugel (10.5) or noodle kugel (8a + 5k). Either way, combine all of your meals and you’ll have a list of what you need to have on hand and in what amounts.

So you have your cleaning/prep plan, your menu, and your cooking plan. Wouldn’t it be good to have the groceries to use? 😉 Time for your grocery list. Go through each menu item, including things like condiments and dressing (so you don’t run out!), and write the amount you need. If you use my shopping list, I have a section of staples that you can circle what you need from. Those are the things I try to always have in my house, and when they are running low, I make sure to get more. Here is my grocery list. Update it to fit your needs!

Last, a pre-candle-lighting checklist: start with your Shabbat checklist (if you don’t have one, start with my Shabbat checklist). This is things like setting lights (timers or no timers), getting your blech set up, turning on crockpot, hot water heater, etc. Then just add in things for yom tov: a long-burning candle, eruv tavshillin, and any special items (Rosh Hashanah needs simanim, Sukkot has the sukkah, luav, and etrog, Shavuot has dairy foods and greens in the house, and Pesach is the seder and a whole slew of different goods!) Add your candle lighting times so you have a clear idea when your deadline is. Here is my Sukkot checklist.

There you have it–the basic structure of a successful 3 day holiday plan!

About Amital

A die-hard listmaker and observant Jewish mommy of 5, managing the challenges of life bit by bit with the help of a Shalom Bayit book and lists. And chocolate, of course. Lots of chocolate.

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