Because we’re all so rushed right now, I’m reprising an interview Kate McKenzie did a few years ago about the McKenzie Family Christmases and some of the things she does to stay sane during a very busy time of the year. Remember, until Christmas you can find a full Organized Mysteries Christmas story on the Short Stories page of this website–just look for Short Stories on the black bar under the banner above.
Interview on Christmas Tips & Organizing with Kate McKenzie
Interviewer: Hello, I’m here today with organization expert Kate McKenzie. Welcome, Kate.
Kate: Thank you. It’s nice to be here.
Interviewer: The holiday season is coming up. I always get excited about spending the time with family and curling up with a few good books. What is your favorite thing about the holidays?
Kate: Being able to share the time with family and friends. Before Keith and I married I was always the one who took the holiday shifts wherever I worked. My parents passed away when I was at college, and I’ve never really been close to anyone else, so working through the holidays was my gift to my coworkers. But as soon as I spent my first Christmas in Vermont, I knew this was where I wanted to be. And now that we live here, I get to decorate my own home with Mother Nature adding all the Currier & Ives touches outside.
Interviewer: The holidays are a great time to get cooking and eating lots of great food. Do you have a favorite holiday food you enjoy cooking or maybe one that someone else makes that you look forward to?
Kate: I love to have crockpot soup going all winter, and at Christmastime it’s especially helpful because I can just leave small bowls and cups nearby and people can serve themselves as they like. My pre-motherhood career was as an event planner, so I always recommend having some kind of “filling station” where everyone can serve themselves since appetites occur for different people at different times. But I’m not a chef, so I look to the masters for recipes–websites like Oprah and Martha Stewart Living. They’ve worked all the bugs out for me, and I just make minor modifications to suit the tastes and dietary needs of my family and friends. Right now, one of my particular favorites is at www.oprah.com/food/Soup-Recipes-Bisque-Recipes–Hearty-Soups/1 There’s more than a dozen soup ideas there, including a squash soup I hope to try with pumpkin, and one of my favorite standbys, chicken tortilla soup. But this site also has a number of recipes using seafood and salmon, and with our northeastern location I really want to try a few of those this year.
Interviewer: Where will you be spending the holidays this year? In the snow around a warm fire, or somewhere warm?
Kate: Keith’s mom and dad are coming to stay with us, so they can see the girls discover their Santa gifts Christmas morning. In years’ past, of course, we stayed with his parents when we just visited for the season. Now that they live nearby, though, they suggested this alternative and I quickly agreed. It just made things much easier for everyone. And on Christmas Eve, we’re joining all the neighbors in our little cul de sac who are home for the holidays in a kind of traveling block party, with everyone spending a little time at each others’ houses all day. We’re pretty much guaranteed a white Christmas, so this gives us a way to move and visit a bit and celebrate without feeling trapped in our own houses all day.
Interviewer: Do you have a favorite Christmas movie or a favorite Christmas song?
Kate: I absolutely love old movies, and my all-time favorite Christmas movie is Holiday Inn where Bing Crosby first introduced the Irving Berlin classic “White Christmas.” The movie has that touch of romance, the “oh, no, what did you do?” moment when the girl leaves with the wrong guy, and then everything works out just right at the end. I love happy endings.
Interviewer: It’s a great time to curl up and read. Will you be taking any mysteries along for holiday reading this year?
Kate: Oh, always. I love short stories by Eleanor Cawood Jones, so I’m saving Death is Coming to Town–Four Murderous Holiday Tales to read over the Christmas holidays. I always like novellas and short stories during busy times when I don’t have big blocks of reading time. And this book is on sale for only 99¢. What a holiday treat! (Note: this last is newly updated info because of sale price)
Interviewer: Sounds like a lovely holiday season coming your way, Kate. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us today and for sharing your holiday tips.
Kate: It’s been my pleasure. Thank you.