Post Christmas 2020 Wrap Up Discussion...

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AuntJamelle

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Lessons learned? Things you want to try next year? What worked well? What didn't?

I know this year was very different for many/most of us! Anyone struggling with post Christmas blues? How do you fight them? Dish it!!!
 

PamelaG

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It was definitely a strange Christmas without all the usual run-up to it - craft fairs, open houses, ornament/cookie exchanges, coffee dates, holiday lunches, shopping trips to the mail, etc. but I think that made us miss Vic less because we weren't doing all of those things without him.

No post-Christmas blues here, only looking forward to Christmas in July 2021 when we will celebrate as a family. Vic's presents are under the tree, not sure if I'll leave the tree up decorated or at least take the decorations down. He said to leave it as is so I just might do that!
 

Lori K

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I think my biggest challenge this year was that I wanted to keep things as normal as possible, stable ... and that just wasn't "it" this year. I felt a huge let-down on the 26th and 27th and even slept through the night, 10 hours straight! Since my husband passed in 2014, my Christmas has been fairly low-key, with pre-Christmas and Christmas Eve events with friends or extended family, and just a handful of people for dinner on Christmas Day. But Christmas during a pandemic, even lower-key than before (no holiday get-togethers with friends, short masked visits with extended family, only 4 for Christmas Day dinner), left me unfulfilled. Yes, there were some additional challenges this year that I was well aware of and thought I had adequately addressed, but it's led me to start rethinking how I'll celebrate going forward. Do I really want to do a big sit-down dinner, or opt for lighter fare in the future? I started paring down my Christmas card list this year, too. There are a lot of people on my list who I considered good friends, yet during the pandemic, their true colors showed through. I'm also thinking that we (my immediate family members) need to discuss limiting what we spend on each other. We are all in a position where, throughout the year, we can get what we want/need, leaving gifting to be more difficult. We're all adults now, and the smaller, more personal gifts and time spent together touched me more than the number of packages under the tree. And, there were some family dynamics that came into play this year; will need to see how things play out, as that definitely will impact Christmas 2021. Appreciative of the celebration of Christmas 2020, but learning from it, as well.
 

Myron's Mom

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No post Christmas blues here. I’ve already started planning for 2021. Plus I love winter, it’s my favorite time of the year.

Our Christmas was pretty normal this year. Just the 3 of us as it has been The large gatherings are a thing of the past since all of our immediate families are gone. I was still able to see my cousin and 2 of my closest friends. We had had a fancy dinner out with my husbands buddy and his wife.

There was a down side to this year. The worry of one of us getting sick and not having Christmas was one. The worst was the loss of my cousin Kathy and her daughter Beth. Kathy, my cousin Anna and my self were more like sisters. Also the loss of our boys who loved all the excitement that Christmas brings.
I too missed all the special events. We usually go to a show or concert. Instead we dressed up and had a very nice dinner out.

What worked well- pretty much everything. For a change I made just about the right amount of food. Everyone was happy with their gifts. My husband comment how much he enjoyed the entire month of December because we could relax and enjoy the season.

What didn’t work- The lights on the living room tree. Not the best year for tree shopping as I’m picky and the limited selection. The hot buttered rum- way too much rum in the recipe. But it was fun to try it. Online shopping thanksgiving weekend- I’m still waiting for a gift. Thank goodness it was a afterthought and not something important.

I’m thankful for the way things turned out. Looking forward to Christmas 2021 and hopeful for a much better year.
 

Ahorsesoul

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I am looking forward to next year too. We celebrated on Dec 20th. Was fine. I do not think the actual date on the calendar is important. Only one who didn’t attend was my stepmother. She isn’t feeling well at 89 yrs now so we just took here a plate of food. Food was pared down from some years because of all my medical problems that hit all at once. I did not wrap gifts. I put everything in Santa sacks. This went over very well. No long drawn out opening of gifts. We did take turns pulling a gift out one at a time. It gave us more time to visit. Will do this again.
 

sweetpumkinpye

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Christmas 2020!!! Can you believe it is over and we are writing our wrap ups?

For the most part Christmas was normal for us we hit the challenge of 2020 head on and did well.

We had DD, DFSIL my Mum, DS, DH and I here the Saturday before Christmas. We have done this the last 2 years and it works well for us. We had platters of cold meat and cheese, fruit and chocolate dipping sauces. I made a fruit punch and iced tea. After dinner we opened Christmas gifts from the kids to Mum and vise versa and opened the kids stockings. We then watched a movie. I did offer our traditional Christmas Eve basket which was largely untouched. I will cut back on this for 2021.

Christmas Eve was spent with just DS, DH and myself. We planned fish and chips for dinner but no one was hungry so we did not have dinner. I had a small Christmas Eve basket which was once again not used so will probably cut this out next year.

Christmas breakfast was nice, we had juice, coffee, hot donuts and ham, cheese and tomato croissants as well as the really unhealthy cereal that the kids love. All of this was well received but think that next year I might offer danishes rather then the donuts. Will ask the kids their preference closer to the day.
We opened presents and as I had cut back quite a bit from previous years this went well. I think that every one was happy with what they got. After the kids left DH, DS and I opened our stockings and once again I think they were very well received.
We went to Mum's for Christmas afternoon which was nice. Mum also cut back with gifts this year and it made for a much nicer afternoon. We had dinner which was lovely and went back and unwrapped stockings. We were home by 8pm.

Boxing Day, DH and I went to Mum's for leftovers and we bought our gifts home.

The 27th was a good day, we took down the tree and managed to pack away all our gifts which was much better than the year before when it took me 11 days to pack it all away. I vowed to never do that again.

Baking: there was too much and I have had to put some in the freezer, the variety was lovely though.

Charity gifts: we donated to the charity Christmas tree at KMart, a women's charity and the food drive at the local church. If we decide to donate to a charity next year I think I will donate more to the church and not to the other charities.

Personal appointments: With Covid I did not do any personal appointments, my nails and hair have not been attended to all year. There were no lunches or dinners attended and there were no shopping days at the mall or Christmas markets. We did not go looking at Christmas lights at all. This was missed and I hope that some of these activities can re start in 2021

For the future,

2021 will be a different year for us.
DS has moved into his own home which is 3 hours drive from us, DD and DFSIL will be married in October.

We will cut right back on baking, with no kids in the house there is way too much for DH and myself.
I will probably keep the same amount of gifts, the kids got 15 presents each plus some cash plus their stockings. I think that this is manageable. I will try and make sure that the gifts and stockings are useful and thoughtful things that the kids can use throughout the year.

I am not sure if we will all be together for the Saturday before Christmas or on Christmas Day, it will depend on the kids schedules. I suffer from anxiety and the thought of not being together makes me anxious but this is something that I will need to deal with so that it does not overwhelm me.
I will write these ideas in my planner and make a note to re visit this thread in about July to keep me on track.
 

girlsinmo

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No after Christmas blues here though plenty of tiredness to go around. Plan on mostly resting up this week.

We usually all get together on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts. Then on Christmas Day for a big meal. This year it was DH, DGD & I here on Christmas Eve to open gifts we'd got each other while DD watched on FB video. We watched DD, DSIL & DSGS Open gifts first by FB video. This worked for us we were able to interact & see each one open gifts. The 3 of us also open a gift once a week in Dec spreading the joy out through the month.

On Christmas Day DD & DSIL came over to exchange gifts & eat a scaled back meal. Thankful we had leftovers but not leftovers for days. DD did go a bit overboard on gifts for DGD and she was a bit overwhelmed. We are to exchange gifts with DS & DDIL on New Years Day then our Christmas celebrations for this year will be done.

We shopped this year online again. It works for us as we don't like crowds and with covid around it was safer. One lesson learned is that it's better to take care of each other the best we can by doing whatever we can to stay as safe as possible. Another was it doesn't matter what day or how we celebrate. It's about the love we share and celebrating Jesus Birthday.

Another lesson we learned is it will be better to not cook several days in a roll. Breaking cooking up with days in between work best for us.

DGD hopes to do some virtual shopping next year. Hopefully her mom will do that with her.

Traditions are good but so is being flexible to do things differently maybe even start a new tradition.
 
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Holiday_Mom

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Christmas Eve is my absolute favorite day of the year. Every since the pandemic started and I saw that it wasn't going away, my goal was to make it to Christmas Eve and to do my best to make this COVID Christmas seem like Christmas but different. My second goal was to keep my family healthy by keeping healthy foods, vitamins and medicine in stock. Everyone managed to stay healthy and not get corona.

What Worked
As an introvert, this has been the best Christmas since 2002 when we were snowed in. No one came over and we didn't visit anyone. All my kids were home with me and dh. I didn't have to share any of them with anyone else. This will never happen again and I soaked in every moment of it.

The only thing we had scheduled for December was to cut the tree and go to dd's Christmas practices and concert. All extracurricular activities have been cancelled for the year. We just did the tree cutting.

We kept our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meal simple and didn't go overboard with the food. We all really liked how we were feeling on 26 December. Everything was pretty healthy with the exception of the Christmas cookies and the stockings filled with candy.

We did a Zoom meeting with my side of the family the Sunday before Christmas. I surprised them with a Christmas Photo Scavenger Hunt. They sent in pictures of things they had to do as a team. Some pictures were in their homes and some were taken outside of their homes. Then we gathered back online 3 hours later to name the winner. I made an online photo album to share with them. It was hysterica to see some of the pictures especially when I saw my siblings and parent do things outside of their comfort zone. These are classic and I am so glad we did this.

Wrapping early and often was a great help. With dh working from home alongside me, colleges doing a lot of online classes and some of my dc's college campus being closed, I didn't have space to wrap in common areas like I did in the past. All wrapping was done in my room. I had a cute wicker basket set with cookies, German chocolate and Christmas tea. When I wrapped, I had that available as well as listening to either a Christmas podcast or listening to a Hallmark movie playing online in the background.

What Didn't Work
Now you'd think that I would like online shopping but I don't. I prefer to shop in person and be able to have the gifts in hand rather than wait on FedEx, UPS or USPS. I tried to get what I could in person but sizes and colors were sparse in the store. I had to order things online. I'm still waiting on a gift that was ordered in November before Thanksgiving. Either it is sitting in the warehouse or some one gave it to their girlfriend for Christmas. Time will tell. UPDATE: I just received an email that the gift is undeliverable and I will be refunded.

We had flooding in our basement late Christmas Eve and early Christmas morning due to the rain storm we had. We lost power in the morning. In the future, if I know we are going to have a storm on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day, I think I'll make up a pot of coffee and put it in the carafe.
 
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MrsSoup

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This Christmas was really not much different than the way we have celebrated the past few years living on the island. One major difference was that I ordered probably 95% of gifts online and everything (thankfully) arrived with no problems. I even ordered DH a last minute gift that he mentioned and it arrived on Christmas Eve a few days after ordering. Even Eli's Raddish Kids box shipped from TN and arrived the same day through FedEx (that was the company not my doing). I was shocked when so many are having such issues with delivery of other items! One issue is that my mom sent two packages at the same time, one arrived as it was supposed to and the other we are still waiting for. We have two presents under the tree because we are waiting on the other box with the rest of the presents and the stockings from my mom. The kids check the mail at least 5 times a day and keep asking me to check the tracking. It hasn't changed. Last scan was a departure scan on the 21st in San Franscico, CA, so it really should be here by now (packages were sent Dec. 12). My guess is it's sitting in a warehouse somewhere unless they literally put it on a boat to get it across the ocean, even then it should be here by now.

We bought a handful of items randomly in store, just Legos really and I bought a book or two for DH and candy for stocking stuffers. I found that I dreaded going to the stores because they were so packed, even with people wearing masks, it was uncomfortable. I used to love shopping in the store with the Christmas music and being able to browse and look for neat items I might not otherwise find while sipping on a coffee. I couldn't do that this year because of having to wear a mask and I missed it.

We cut back on presents this year as well and set a budget that we actually stuck to, well I did for DH and the kids anyway. I'm not sure about DH but it seems like he did looking at my presents. I was actually right on budget for everyone or under. The kids didn't get as much under the tree as they usually do but they didn't even seem to notice and I was happy for that. They all seemed to be really happy with what they received. A good prep for next year when we will not be as cushy in the finances and it will definitely be a smaller Christmas.

I baked a week and a half before Christmas so I could give food gifts to the teachers at school so there wasn't anything left for when we all went on break and I wasn't baking again. I did make sugar cookies and PB Balls. No one touched the sugar cookies and i'm about to throw most of them out today with the trash. Very disappointing since they are so much work. The PB Balls were demolished by DS and DH only got to eat a few. I will make Peanut Blossoms this week again since DH didn't eat any the first go round. I will wait to bake next year until closer to Christmas I think since I will hopefully be teaching and not have time anyway. We'll see. We didn't have anything special for Christmas dinner and I ended up eating Knorr noodles because I didn't like what was planned, burgers. I feel like we should have had something everyone liked but that's hard to figure out. We haven't figured out our traditional Christmas meal yet and I really want to figure that out. Next year we will be back in the area of my family so we'll be together with them i'm sure. Whether we host or go to my mom's who knows.

I really had planned on and wanted to drive around and look at lights and drive downtown to Honolulu Hale and see the Tutu Mele and Shaka Santa but we didn't and now it's too late. They usually leave it up until January 1st, but this year they said the 26th. We've lived here 4 years and never went down there. So bummed. Oh well. I didn't however, get the family to walk down to the neighbors Christmas display and take photos on Christmas Eve. I think i'm going to have cards made and send them out as New Year's cards since I didn't do it for Christmas. :)

Overall, a great Christmas despite the adjustments and me working and being super stressed out like never before with edTPA. It happened and it was successful.
 
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Minta

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No Post Christmas Blues here .. to busy thinking and planning for next year!

This Christmas was very low keyed for us which is not normal. We cancelled all of our planned outings ..NYC, local christmas train ride and a hayride to look at lights at a farm not far from us. We parred down Christmas eve, only had extended family that is in our bubble here. We were originally planning an open house christmas eve with about 25 + guests. Hoping to be able to host that next year.

What didn't work out so well:
I started my Christmas Vacation the Tuesday before Christmas which cut me day short on baking so we spent time on Christmas eve rushing around delivering cookie boxes.
Did not get gift lists completed earlier, spend a good part of Dec running around for last minute gifts. A last minute gift I ordered for my mom was suppose to be delivered Dec 22 but it got lost in shipping. Had to order a replacement which should be here today.
Mailed out 2 packages 2 weeks before Christmas - shied 2- 3 day priority mail. One package still hasn't arrived although it did arrive in the state it was sent to. SIL said their PO is a hot mess and packages are being received up a month late. Will send out packages much earlier next year.
Made 3 pies for Christmas eve/Day dinners. Everyone was so filled up on the cookies and breads I made that no one had pie on Christmas Eve. Still have some pie left in the frig now. Maybe net year I will only bake 2.
After the fall baking I didn't keep better track of my baking supplies and had to pick up flour, and spices last minute.
Forgot the plastic silverware, thank DD was working at the grocery store and was able to pick up some before she came home from work.
Bought stamps for my Christmas cards so late that they were sold out of Christmas stamps. Next year I will buy them in Oct/Nov.

What worked:
We decorated with more lights inside which made it feel even more festive. Plan to decorate even more inside next year.
Instead of a sit down dinner Christmas Eve and Day we did a lunch meat platter, crock pot of meatballs and some sides on Christmas Eve and that worked out so nice. I got to spend more time with the family and less time cooking and cleaning up. We used festive paper plates, napkins and cups.
Broke up the wrapping in smaller jobs so I didn't feel so over whelmed and was to get most of the gifts wrapped earlier than planned.
The Sunday before Christmas I premade some meals - lagnana and sloppy joes so I would not have to stop baking on the 22nd and 23rd to make dinner. Just had to heat them up and dinner was done. Will do that again.

The cleaning and prepping Plans:
Had all the intentions to follow these plans but that did not happen this year. I just wasn't into it at all and because of that certain parts of the house like our master bedroom/bath were a train wreck. The garage was a hot mess too. We have a pool table out there and its such a mess that we can't enjoy that. I have already started penciling dates all year to declutter/purge and deep clean. DH and I have already been discussing cleaning/purging and reorganizing the garage and shed as soon as it gets warm this spring.

We did score matching shower curtains and floor mats in 3 different christmas patterns so next year I am doing themes in each bathroom. My moms will be gingerbread men and candy canes, the kids in Santa and our will be in red, green and gold. I am excited to do that.

I am hoping and prayin for a more normal Holiday Season next year.
 
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Ahorsesoul

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. I did make sugar cookies and PB Balls. No one touched the sugar cookies and i'm about to throw most of the out today with the trash. Very disappointing since they are so much wor. The PB Balls were demolished by DS and DH only got to eat a few. I will make Peanut Blossoms this week again since DH didn't eat any the first go round. I
I have the same problem with cookies And candy. Usually I’m the one who doesn’t get any treats. I now split them up into storage bags and label with names. We do trade cookies between each other. Ones for guests get put in the refrig or freezer. We do this with ice cream too since I do not eat mine quickly.
 

sweetpumkinpye

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I am really enjoying reading the wrap ups. I am making notes in my planner.
 

AnnieClaus

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For us it was still basically the same as other years- we celebrated with those we see all the time. The only difference is my older brothers usually come right before Christmas or right after. With COVID, that didn't happen this year.

What worked- Because I had been keeping up on house cleaning, I did not have to do a major deep clean right before Christmas. That was a tremendous help as it is the "house prep" that causes me the most stress when I host (I host CE).

I still would like to buy and wrap earlier so I can just relish the month of December.
I plan on keeping a spreadsheet of what was purchased for who and when it arrives and is wrapped, I'll highlight in green.
Plus I usually take a jaunt to my bf's every December (she hosts a huge party) and it takes a full weekend away for prep. If I'm all done with prep, that trip shouldn't cause so much stress and anxiety.

For the last several years I have wanted to do a "dessert" night in December. My family over for coffee, wine, and several beautiful desserts. That didn't happen again this year....
I asked the girls in the family what they thought about a "Christmas Girls Cocktail" evening and they really were excited about that so would like to do that too as we kept finding fun recipes like, "Snowflake Martini."
I do always make a "Christmas cocktail" for my CE. This year was "Christmas Punch"- simply vodka, oj, cranberry juice, ginger ale.
Last year was "Christmas Sangria."
I made alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions.

I would also like to have my Christmas cards printed and addressed by Thanksgiving.

That's about it here. Without my usual holiday get togethers that I attend- up to 17 in the month of December- I actually had energy and felt rested. THAT has been glorious!!!

Annie
 

AuntJamelle

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Love, love, love everything that has been shared so far! So much of it rings true, so many great ideas and things to note in my plans for next year!!!

What worked well this year:

- Wrapping done early

- Online shopping was almost 100% with Amazon and we had good luck with getting packages on time

- I baked ahead and froze cookies for giving - almost guessed right on amounts, had to bake a bit more early in December

- Being flexible on food. We moved Chr Eve food to Chr Day, and Chr Day food to the day after. We spent most of Chr Eve prepping food for someone we realized needed some help. Loved being able to do it - and I was able to make more of what we were having for her - having 5 pie crusts in the freezer for example meant I could quickly pull another one out for a 2nd quiche, gave her half of the frozen cheesy garlic bread, half of the huge bowl of dip I'd made and so on - it really worked out perfectly because we had too much food for just us!

- Making a homemade gingerbread house (ahem, actually it was quite an eye opening experience, but a massive quantity of icing covers a multitude of sins!)

https://flic.kr/p/2koXBEH
What did NOT work well:

- Like so many others, I had trouble with shipping packages. I shipped 7 boxes on December FIRST - 4 boxes made it to their destinations within 3 days - boxes going to San Diego, Salt Lake City and Indianapolis (we're in northern Indiana). The boxes going to Colorado, Nashville and Georgia - not so much. The box going to Georgia was delivered Christmas EVE!

The other two boxes are STILL not delivered. It is beyond frustrating. The box going to CO was the only Christmas that family would have as far as presents to open. I spent hours on hold multiple times with no progress. I ended up wiring money at the last minute so they could get groceries and do some shopping for presents.

All of these boxes had cookies in them - what cracks me up is that the box that made it to GA a month later was still raided for cookies by our teenage nephew - immediately. LOL - maybe they've stayed frozen? Just praying the other two boxes make it - 95% was handmade gift items I can't easily replace. Once they do arrive I'm asking for my shipping to be refunded, I paid big bucks for Priority 2 and 3 day. Unreal.

- I made a froze a full size lasagna for Christmas Day - should have made two smaller ones and left one in freezer for another time.
 

Myron's Mom

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The gingerbread house is very cute. You guys did a great job!
Mail was very frustrating this year. I’m still receiving cards mailed the first week in December. And my gift I ordered still has not arrived or according to tracking has not moved. Apparently they stopped scanning stuff weeks ago so who knows where it is.
 

MrsSoup

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AJ- My mom mailed two boxes to us on Dec. 12th and one arrived within the said timeframe and the other just arrived on Jan. 2nd. Everything is getting held up in California for some reason on this side of the states. I also was tracking something else (had no idea what it was- turned out to be my probiotic pills) and it went from Arizona, to Oklahoma, to North Carolina, and then magically showed up in the mailbox. Craziness! I hope your boxes eventually make it to their destinations.
 

Minta

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From what I was told … is that postal employees were given 2 extra weeks of vacation due to the pandemic and they were told they had to use them by the end of the year. A lot of postal employees used that extra vacation time in Dec and now add to that all the extra packages being mailed and more employees being out sick with covid and you have the makings of a perfect mailing nightmare. I finally got an update this morning about a package I shipped that has been stuck in the Land of Oz for the past 3 weeks and it is suppose to be delivered today.
 

sweetpumkinpye

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Postage was bad here too. I posted domestic Christmas cards on the first Monday of December. It took 2 almost 3 weeks to get to their destination and 2 of those cards (DS and DH) were coming to our own address. :rolleyes:
 
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AuntJamelle

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Craziness!!!! I am happy to report that the box to CO arrived yesterday morning!!! So happy! And they are telling me the cookies were still delicious - so I'm just going to go with that!

Just one box left "out there" somewhere! That is wild about the postal workers taking their vacation - ei yi yi! Perfect storm!