Dear Miriam | Plan Now to Reduce Passover Stress in 2023

Matzo for Passover with on seder plate on close up
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Dear Miriam,

I find Passover to be incredibly stressful, and I’m relieved that it’s over. As I put away my dishes and my Haggadot for another year, I’m wondering if there’s anything I can do as I pack up to make the holiday easier when next spring rolls around.


Next Year with Less Stress

Dear Year,

While I’m sorry you had a stressful holiday and, it sounds like, a pattern of stressful holidays, you have the amazing opportunity, right now, to give your future self a gift. This gift can take the form of excellent organization or detailed notes. It can take the form of deep learning and deepening community. It can also take the form of enjoying 11 months of not Passover before you have to deal with it all over again.

The opportunity for excellent organization is right at your fingertips as you put away your dishes. Make sure everything is packed away neatly so that you won’t discover any dirty or broken dishes next year. Wherever you store your dishes, make sure it’s easily accessible so that dragging them out of storage won’t be an added chore. If you found that you didn’t use any particular pieces of cookware this year, get rid of them rather than continuing to store them.

Before you put everything away for good, open the lid one last time to see how you’ll feel when you see everything again, and if you could improve the experience, go ahead and do it. Your future self will thank you.

While the above tasks are quite tangible, the need for the less tangible pre-preparation should not be underestimated, and now is the time to write down your thoughts. What foods did you overbuy, and which did you underbuy? How long did it take you to prepare for seder? What did your family actually want to eat for weeknight meals? Do you need more storage containers next time around, or more tinfoil? Did you melt your spatula and you’ll need to replace it? Was there one flavor of tomato sauce far superior to all the others?

Write. It. Down. I recommend sending yourself an email or physically making a list that you tape to the inside of wherever you store your Passover dishes.

Beyond the food itself, who did you host this year for meals, or who hosted you? Do you want to share a meal again next year? Make a note! Was there a particularly meaningful reading someone shared at seder, or an article that helped shape your understanding of this year’s celebration? Print them out, bookmark them, put them somewhere that you’ll remember.

Anything that made your seder spectacular, anything that made your children laugh or your parents smile, anything that added to your understanding of why we bother with all this in the first place — give yourself a chance to revisit and remember.

After you’ve done a thorough brain dump, give yourself a break. Enjoy a bagel, or walk and talk with a friend while talking about anything besides food or cleaning. Remember to count the Omer and prepare for Shavuot, which, however that looks for you, is almost certainly less work than preparing for Passover. Look at the blooming trees, meditate on how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.

Gradually, the stress of this holiday will fade and, hopefully, next year at this time, you’ll enjoy the gifts you’ve sent to the future.

Be well,



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