Christmas 2016 Recap...

Discussion in 'Christmas Magic' started by AuntJamelle, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    ((hugs)) to ALL! We've celebrated another Christmas! :) I hope everyone had a great holiday!!!

    Please share your favorite moments! What paid off the most in the prep you did ahead of time? What would you do differently next year? Lessons learned!

    Minta likes this.
  2. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    Between Shopping clearance sales all year, hitting Black Friday sales and having the Christmas club we were able to avoid charging anything for Christmas.

    This year we scaled back on Christmas Eve/Day Dinner and guest list ... Yeah not again. While it was easier on me in the kitchen it just didn't feel the same and didn't seem like Christmas Eve to us. So next year we are planning a Christmas Eve Party and big dinner on Christmas Day.

    I do need to following the HGP and HHP more closely next year or create my own version of it. I did great in the beginning but then slacked off. Then right after Thanksgiving I got a bad cold which put me behind even more.

    Since we are usually done buying gifts by the beginning of Dec I am going to take a day off during the first week or 2 in Dec and get all my wrapping done. I wanted to be done wrapping by Dec 20 but because I had a cold for 2 weeks that didn't happen. Instead of spending the 1st day of my vacation baking I was wrapping which of course put me behind schedule on baking. I was hoping for a less stress but unfortunately that didn't happen.
  3. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Minta - Sorry to hear about you struggling with colds so much! That makes keeping up with all the extra holiday tasks so hard, especially when not feeling well makes keeping up with the normal stuff hard already! :(

    One thing I highly recommend is Airbourne tablets. You can get them at Walgreens, etc. and they have saved my life this year. DH and DS got sick just before Thanksgiving and DH has been sick on and off - including developing a mild case of pneumonia - ever since. He is going back to the doctor AGAIN today. I've been taking Airbourne regularly, and I put DS on a high dose of Vit C as well. I've managed not to come down with anything although I've felt it looming several times. We push ourselves so hard this time of year it is so common to come down with some sort of yuck.

    I think I am going to add stocking up on Airbourne tablets to my holiday prep list for next year!!!
    Holiday_Mom and Minta like this.
  4. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    Gift wrapping ahead of time was a total win-win! I feel like I usually don't do this, thinking that it's easier to hide them unwrapped. However, this year we chose a wrapping paper for each child and then didn't label the gifts with names. The wrapped gifts stayed in our closet but we didn't "hide" them persay, we just kept our closet door closed and if someone happened to catch a glimpse it didn't matter too much because no one knew whose presents were whose. I would like to shop a little earlier but I like to shop with DH and that means it's dependent on his schedule.

    I think for next year and being in Hawaii where everything is much more expensive, we will need to set a budget per person and stick to it and be more creative with gift ideas and shopping. A lot of online stores will not ship to Hawaii or it will be astronomical cost to do so, so we will be rethinking a lot of things living on the island. I would also like to start saving in January for Christmas spending, we usually don't do this and just soak up the cost as it comes.

    I'm sure i'll think of more later.
    Minta and Christmaslvr like this.
  5. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for the Airborne tip AJ .. I will have to start stocking on those now cause lord know cold and flu season is still in full swing.

    Mrs. Soup .. We do a Christmas Club from Nov to Oct and we put $25 per week away. The bank mails us the check for our Christmas club at the end of Oct. The Christmas Club has been a real life saver and makes paying for Christmas so much easier.
    Holiday_Mom likes this.
  6. tanya

    tanya Well-Known Member

    Generally we had a great Christmas.
    A few things to tweak for next year. Wrapping early is just something that really works for me, And wrapping to a theme/ colour for each person makes my life so much easier. I will keep that up.

    I do find it more difficult that as Luke is older now- it is more tricky to have his gifts totally ahead of time. A few items on his wish list were not released until late December- XBox games etc. I found this hard as he is on school holidays and has a 6th sense about Christmas gifts. Not sure how to resolve this.

    The one thing I do need to work on is food. But this depends on if we stay home again for Christmas 2017. We spent years going out for lunch on Christmas Day- but Luke has wanted to stay home the last 2 years. I quite like staying home but also really love going out. If we stay home I need to realise that we are a family of 2 not 10! I also need to remember that we like leftovers the next day but not longer than that! I have thrown away too many items this year that just did not get eaten- the dogs are getting what they can have but we still had far too much.

    I do stock the pantry really well so that we dont really need to shop properly unless for fresh items til mid January but I need to keep better lists. I found that although we both love Chocolate and Shortbread- that we will be eating it until Easter! I was just buying it as I saw it and tucking it away forgetting what I had already bought.

    I will keep the Elf- as we both really like him! It was great and easy to have his gift items (just small things) planned and wrapped ahead of time.
    I do find that keeping an ongoing list of stuffer items on ebay and aliexpress helps. Plus ordering really, really early as postage can sometimes take over a month!

    I followed through on all weeks of the HHP this year- tweaked a bit for our home and Luke's early break from school. This was really helpful both with the house and in keeping me focused on all the other Christmas prep.
    Minta likes this.
  7. p.a.

    p.a. Active Member

    Once I said I was done buying for each person I stuck to it...that never happens. Lol not really a budget but I can go way overboard with little things that add up...not this year. I stopped buying those junkie things that my family never uses to...especially in thier stockings.
    Christmas supper turned into a late lunch this year and worked perfectly! First time in years we all sat down as one and really enjoyed the meal...very special!
    Minta likes this.
  8. p.a.

    p.a. Active Member

    Tanya this year I cut way back on Christmas Eve appetizers,,,,I stuck to some real favourites and that's it. We decided we could make some other apps after Xmas if we wanted them.
    As for Luke's gifts can you pre-order them? Here on amazon we can pre-order 'games' pay for them and then they ship as they become available.
    Minta likes this.
  9. tanya

    tanya Well-Known Member

    I did pre- order but I had to go instore to collect. The release dates were not til 22nd and 23rd of Dec. I was not prepared to take the risk on items shipping in time for Christmas morning. I know too many that have done so before and although delivery is guaranteed! Sometimes it just does not happen! Im thinking that maybe if this is likey to happen next year that I could perhaps organise an activity for Luke with some of his mates! Only issue with that is that it always at our house they hang out at!

    Luke is ok to stay home alone but won't especially if he smells the slightest hint of me picking up Christmas gifts.
    Minta likes this.
  10. luludou

    luludou Well-Known Member

    wrapping was not finished in time. Cards with $$ in them will be prepped earlier next year. As for the rest all was done in time.
    Minta likes this.
  11. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Our Christmas was pretty good.
    This year I decided to cut out the junkie stocking items and that worked well. I realised that I was spending money on things that people will never use so a complete waste of money.
    I really need to cut out a lot of the food items that we get in our stockings and as gifts. My mum is terrible at this and buys the kids a lot of food and soft drinks etc. It will take us months to use it all.

    The baking was just the right amount, we will have a few things to see us through to the new year but not too much.
    My mum and I have already debriefed a little about the main meal for next year. We know that we need to cut back a bit as I think we are still feeding a small army and there are only 6 of us!! We will just prepare smaller amounts of things which will also cut back on leftovers.

    I did not decorate alot through the house as we had just moved and I really did not have the energy or inspiration. Hopefully that will change next year.

    All in all we had a great Christmas, I feel that shopping throughout the year, participating in MHH wrapping parties and decluttering programs really help set up for a stress free Christmas period and I will be using these tools again in 2017
    Minta likes this.
  12. p.a.

    p.a. Active Member

    Tanya, well we all know how your mail ( thinking Christmas card fiasco...)
    Minta likes this.
  13. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    I forgot the mention that this past year I started keeping a shoe box for each person in the house in the our bedroom closet to store stocking stuffers. This made it very easy to keep tabs on the stocking stuffers bought and to keep them all in one place. In the past I would misplace one or two. Doing that again this year. I am also keeping a tote in our closet for gifts that I pick up through the year. This past year I keep everything in bags in our closet that was messy. We have space in closet for 2 totes so should I fill up the first one I have room to place another one in there.
  14. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    Great idea Minta with the shoe boxes in the closet for each person! I might have to do that. In reading through everyone's posts, I thought of something else. I made sugar cookies later than usual this year and we ended up with way too many. It'll be a week tomorrow since I made them and I gave two bags away a few days ago and still have a lot left sitting in the kitchen that are most likely not very good by now and will get thrown out. All that work to go in the trash. :( I was just too busy or didn't feel good since i've been sick off and on to make them earlier. I think next year I will just schedule in a baking day and make a smaller batch. I usually do it when I feel like it. Making the dough is the easy part, the hard part is the rolling and cutting. Of course, we'll be new to where we are living so I won't have people to bake for yet most likely either so my treats will be cut way down anyway.

    We also didn't really have a Christmas dinner at all. I wasn't feeling good and ended up laying in bed most of Christmas day afternoon/evening so nothing was made. No one really cared but I felt sad that the tradition of a meal was lost this year.
    Minta likes this.
  15. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    Mrs. Soup .. Are there any soup kitchens in your area that feed the homeless and poor? If so they might enjoy the left over cookies instead of tossing them. Sorry to hear you were not feeling good on Christmas. I always keep a roast or 2 in the freezer that can easily be placed in the crock pot for days where I am not feeling good. The crock pot does all the work while I am resting and the family still gets a decent meal for dinner.
  16. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Minta, great idea on the roast in the freezer. A few years back I hurt my back just before Christmas and nothing was wrapped and there was no dinner so to speak. Luckily I had a Turkey breast roast in the freezer and although it was not a great meal, the kids ate.
    I always make sure that I now have the wrapping done by the start of December and that there is always a freezer full of stuff that we can make a meal out of.
    I don't ever want to go through another Christmas like that one.
    Minta likes this.
  17. teachermomof2

    teachermomof2 Santa's Elves

    Christmas was okay. I had the day off before Christmas Eve, so food prep for Christmas Eve was much easier and less stressful. We really stuck to a budget this year and did pretty well, so I am happy about that. We only charged online orders and paid them off as they were billed, so no Christmas debt. I overdid it with cookies and candy....definitely made less than usual, but have had only my mil down to visit, so we have a lot left. I sent cookies to my mom and dad, so that used up some. Our aunt and her family usually stop down, but they didn't this year and left our gifts at MILs. I feel sad about that since they were just at a stone's throw away. Christmas makes me realize how dysfunctional our families are....crazy stuff.

    I love the shoe box idea for stockings. I usually just throw the bags in the closet. I did buy useful things this year....deodorant, bath gels, pens, pencils, gum, etc. and the kids liked them. So I will continue to do that.
    Minta likes this.
  18. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    One thing I learned from previous years was to stock up on cold medicines, vitamins and tissues early in September. What I didn't anticipate this year was that we'd go through the supplies so early and so quickly. Pertussis was going around. While the test showed my children didn't have it, we still had to deal with hacking coughs for a number of weeks. I will buy a lot more next year.

    I've been streamlining the service gifts (church office, bus drivers, mailman, trash men and recycling men) over the last couple of years to simplify things. It's either Pepperidge Farm cookies and Hot Chocolate or it's a bag of nice coffee. I realized that I could buy these earlier than I have been which then means that I could wrap them earlier than I have been.

    I also saw first hand this year that the school secretaries and principals receive so many gifts that they make 5-6 trips to their car to empty their office the last day before Christmas break. I think I will move their gifts to St. Valentine's Day. It's not the same as Christmas but it might be a nice "pick me up" gift in the middle of winter here.

    Decorating was done very late because I was trying to work with my teens' schedules. We kept it very basic which works for me at this time in our very busy life. However, we had the decor up for 11 days and then we took it down today. It didn't seem like it was long enough. Next year, it will go up during Thanksgiving weekend whether my children are home or not.

    We host Christmas Eve for 18-20 people each year. Over time, I've developed a detailed list of Christmas Eve prep work. I am so thankful that I did. Two days before Christmas Eve, my dh wasn't feeling well. Then the on Christmas Eve, I woke up in a fog but knew things had to be done. I couldn't even think. I just knew that if the family could look off the list and do the work, then we'd be fine. I really believe that list saved us. took medicine and was feeling better by mid-afternoon. Whew!

    This was the first year that, for the most part, I kept up with the wrapping as things were bought. I also bought things earlier when I could. Stocking stuffers were practical things like make up, hand warmers, pens, Chapstick, travel size toothpaste and tissues that I was able to buy in September. I'll definitely do that early shopping again.
    Minta likes this.
  19. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Holiday_Mom, a think that it is great idea to swap your teacher appreciation to Valentines day. As you said, it will be a nice pick me up.
    Minta likes this.
  20. Christmaslvr

    Christmaslvr Active Member

    Love the shoe box idea!
    Minta likes this.

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