Christmas 2017 Review!!!

Discussion in 'Christmas Magic' started by AuntJamelle, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Well, we made it! Christmas past is past! Christmas future is far away! We can put our feet up at last! :)

    How did it go this year?

    What was your favorite moment? What worked well? What didn't go so great? Dish the dirt!!!

    I hope everyone had a GREAT Christmas!!!
    Minta likes this.
  2. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    Another Wonderful Christmas in the books.

    What worked:
    1.Working in dates for wrapping all month long and no last minute wrapping marathons. Next year I want to pencil in an evening or 2 for wrapping in Nov.
    2. Kept all gifts in the same location (master closet in totes) .. brought them when bought and hid them in the totes. No lost/misplaced/forgotten gifts this year.
    3. Kept a running list of my baking supplies - this made it easy when to came time for baking.
    4. Didn't set high expectations of a perfect Christmas - decided it I was just going to go with the flow. So much less stress this year, still had stress just not nearly as much as in the past.
    5. Kept a bottle of wine chilled during the last 2 weeks before christmas so I could get a glass or 2 when I did start to get stressed out (my mother has a tendency to stress me out and since she lives with us there is no escape)

    What didn't work:
    1. Trying to keep cramming in all my baking in 3 days. I want to set aside a weekend in the beginning of the month to make my banana bread and applesauce bread and freeze. I usually make 4 types but the those 2 go over better then the orange cranberry and pumpkin spice so next year I will cut them out. Also need to make my pie crust a week or a month a head of time.
    2. Buy more butter then what I think I will need. Had to run out on the 23rd to get more butter, the grocery store was a mad house and that was early in the day too.
    3. Didn't pencil in dates to go look at lights ... normally we do but didn't this year so we only went once and are hoping tone able to go tonight before people start taking down their lights.
    4. We hosted 3 days ... a family dinner with the inlaws on the 23rd, Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day dinner. it was nice but it was a LOT even with my SIL helping me cook. Next year we are going to do a buffet instead of a sit-down dinner and use paper plates for the inlay family dinner!!! My hands are dry from washing so many dishes over the past several days and yes my dishwasher did get a work out too. Unfortunately my Christmas dishes can't go into the dishwasher. Contemplating doing a left over dinner Christmas day instead of cooking other big dinner. We have so much left overs right now that I am not cooking of the next few days.
    5. I need to keep a running list of gifts that I buy. We wound up with a duplicate gift for our son.

    Over all I need to be organized... More organized in cleaning, decluttering, and prepping year round.
    Holiday_Mom likes this.
  3. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    How did it go this year?

    Being that it was our first Christmas on the island, it was hard to get into the holiday spirit. I need to work on that for next year. It also meant that it was hard to purchase online gifts and I had to search for places that would ship here. I ended up using my brothers Amazon Prime account and even then some things still wouldn't ship here and it cost a pretty penny to have them shipped to a family member and then have the family member ship to us. Overall, Christmas was good, just felt different this year.

    Favorite moment:

    I think my favorite moment was when the kids opened up the envelopes with the Wet’N’Wild season passes in them. The looks on their faces were great!

    What worked well:

    - I wrapped a good amount of things ahead of time. The rest we wrapped together just before Christmas. Since we didn’t have as much, it didn’t take long. We don’t really have anywhere to store things, or hide things, in this house so we had to use our bedroom closet and jam things in there where we could.
    - We didn’t do a big holiday dinner on Christmas. We did that for Thanksgiving and just did something I knew everyone would eat for Christmas. No pressure or worrying about cooking all morning.
    - We gave both dogs a bone right before we started opening presents and it kept them busy and out of the way.

    What didn’t:

    - We don’t have Amazon Prime and shipping is outrageous for the island. I ended up using my brother’s account. Next year I will pay for Prime, if only for a few months and then cancel it.
    - Due to the move and just generally being busy with life, I didn’t start shopping until late November. This is usually what we do, but we’ve also never lived on an island before. Lesson learned this year! We have to begin shopping much earlier!
    - We spent way too much this year on each other and DS. Now that he’s older, his gifts are just more expensive but we have to figure out some way to regulate that.

    Differences this year:

    - I didn't bake nearly as much as I usually do and it was okay. We didn't really miss the roll out sugar cookies and no one has hardly touched the things I did bake. What they have devoured were the Oreo Balls and the PB Balls. Next year I will focus more on candy instead of cookies.
    - I didn't do neighbor food gifts. We don't really talk to our neighbors, but I probably should have done something anyway. I did buy some mini bread tins and do plan on baking some Mocha Chip Bread, just haven't decided who i'm gifting to. Definitely my friend Kim and possibly DD's friend's family. We did give them some cookies yesterday because they gave us some.
    - We had a smaller Christmas this year. We spent the same, if not more on the gifts, but there were fewer under the tree. I chalk this up to being on the island and the cost of things is just more, plus we had to ship just about everything and shipping anything here is outrageous.

    Thoughts for next year:

    - Begin much earlier with the shopping!
    - Look into signing up for Amazon Prime, even if only for a few months and then cancelling.
    - My mom said that they decided with my brother that next year the rule is that everything has to be homemade. I love this idea but need to start thinking now because I’m a horrible procrastinator.
    - I would like to spend less next year and find more local things to buy instead of having things shipped.
    - Homemade cards, possibly. This is just another thing that costs double here for a smaller amount of product.
    - Make sure cell phones are on SILENT!
    - Have a second breakfast option for the kids since they don’t like the traditional breakfast that I make.
    - Pay attention throughout the year and keep a running list of what the kids say they want when we're out and about or sitting around. This will make shopping easier. They were very late in getting lists together this year and they were not good lists.
    Holiday_Mom and Minta like this.
  4. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Minta - Sounds like you were pretty on top of things! Sorry to hear the baking was crazy for you!

    Mrs Soup. - For your first Christmas on the island it sounds like you did pretty good! You'll ease into things I bet and have an easier time next year I hope! I believe that Prime is a yearly charge? You can do a free month trial though?

    Christmas 2017 Recap:

    - Our season was unfortunately dominated by my illness. :( I got sick the Tuesday after Thanksgiving with what I assumed was the stomach flu. After 3 weeks of awfulness I ended up in the hospital the Tuesday before Christmas and was there until Thursday. My blood count dropped dangerously low and I had to have a transfusion. Ultimately a colonoscopy revealed that I have Crohn's Disease which is part of a group of conditions that fall under Irritable Bowel Disorder. Things had just gotten crazy because it drug on so long with the assumption I had the flu. My blood counts are still pretty low but not like they were. Seeing GI dr soon and will try to get things under control and in remission.

    - Finishing decorations was difficult once I fell ill but we managed. I was feeling a little better the weekend I got the gifts to ship taken care of and I got Christmas cards out in a reasonable amount of time considering.

    - Had to cancel our annual Christmas party, dinner with BIL and girlfriend and our original date to do Christmas with my sister and her boyfriend. We've rescheduled for this coming Saturday.

    - Christmas Eve we were visited by BIL and girlfriend briefly, and by our neighbor. We also made a small visit to MIL that morning which was nice.

    - Christmas Day we went down to family in neighboring town at about 1PM - had a meal and visited for a bit before coming home at 4PM. Was nice to see them! We normally only go down for Easter and Thanksgiving but it was lovely to add in Christmas this year.

    What Worked Well:

    - I have to say that my early prep SAVED MY BACON. Gifts were purchased, many wrapped before I fell ill. Gift bags helped with most of the rest.

    - Cookie dough was in freezer. Once I realized I was not contagious I did distribute most of it. There is quite a bit left though so will gift some more to my sister and send rest in to work this week. Just have to finish baking the dough!

    - We kept Christmas Eve meal simple - marinated turkey breast, Stovetop stuffing, Rhodes frozen rolls, etc. Chilled pears for dessert :)

    - I did make a cheesecake to take down on Christmas Day - and Deviled Eggs - and was glad I could do at least that! For once all the eggs peeled perfectly! I guess the universe tossed me a little break there, lol!

    What Didn't Work Well:

    - We always take a picture of DS and dogs in front of the tree to include in Christmas Cards. The delay in finishing the tree did cause some stress since I couldn't get cards finished until we got photos back. Not sure of any other way to handle this other than putting tree up earlier than Thanksgiving weekend which I am going to seriously consider.

    - The tree lights. UGH. We should have enough LED lights now to do the whole thing and fingers crossed I have a much easier time next year!

    - Outside decor was minimal this year due to illness. Will try hard to get lights purchased and up before Thanksgiving weekend - it's just too much to do inside and outside all in those 4 days!

    - Cancelling our our plans! Lots of food in the freezer that was meant for the party. Trying to figure out a date for a post Christmas party so I can use it up!

    Favorite Moments:

    - DS running into our room Christmas morning!

    - DS opening his XBox - he was thrilled!

    - DS opening his Russian Nesting Doll, lol. He asked Santa for it which cracked me up! I ordered a holiday theme one from Amazon and it is really cute. He's played with it a lot.

    - DH opening his new Ninja blender. Ours was on it's last leg and I think it was a hit!

    - Brewing a cup of freshly ground Kona coffee and eating a left over piece of Key Lime Pie! I received the coffee and the grinder from a friend and boy was I happy!
    Holiday_Mom, MrsSoup and Minta like this.
  5. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    Mrs Soup I love the idea of homemade gifts.
  6. Minta

    Minta Administrator Staff Member

    Oh AJ you really have had a rough time this year. I hope and pray things are much better for you next year and that you get better soon and find an easy way to manage that Crohns disease.
  7. halimer

    halimer Well-Known Member

    Things went well this year.

    Hanukkah came at a good time - not too early and not too late. Our party went well despite some last minute guests. DS was a marvel frying all the latkes. Everyone had a good time! I did figure on people bringing desserts so I didn't make much on my own.

    My gifts were all bought and wrapped early/on time. I keep a running list of peoples gifts from year to year and try not to duplicate because only DS gives me a list, which is very helpful. DH is always a problem but I manage. Amazon Prime is a MUST! it has paid for itself many times over.

    Movie and Chinese/sushi worked well for Christmas again this year. Didn't really need to make a a big Christmas breakfast - maybe just do bagels and lox next year. We had dinner with friends so the only problem was finding parking.

    Do overs: too much food for Hanukkah party - don't make so much egg and tuna salad
    buy more eggs and milk ( and butter ) than you think you'll need
    have more wine and eggnog
    Holiday_Mom and Minta like this.
  8. luludou

    luludou Well-Known Member

    My guest are NY's Eve, so still coming up .

    AJ so sorry for you, seems dd might have crohn's too, waiting for results in January :(
    Minta likes this.
  9. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    We had a pretty good Christmas.
    A few things to change,
    Christmas Eve dinner, ask the kids what they want to do. We tend to eat too much and then are too full to enjoy our Christmas Eve basket and movie.
    Christmas breakfast. DH does not want a big cooked breakfast. He would rather have cereal and fruit juice and have room for dinner later in the evening.
    I need to take more time when putting the presents under the tree, there were too many in a bunch for DS and I had to look through the piles for DD's.
    I also need to help DH when it is time to wrap my gifts. I bought a phone cord and charger and he wrapped them separately. He wrapped every little thing that I had bought separately so I ended up with too many gifts rather than what I had planned.

    What worked well.
    We cut back on baking this year and we used it all up, I think we need a few more baked goods but not as much as last year.
    Perfect amount of gifts. The kids got 20 gifts each. Some bigger, some smaller. 20 is the perfect amount for us so I will try and aim for that again for 2018.
    Dinner at mums was lovely, perfect food, great variety. Good company. We got beautiful presents from mum.
    I tried really hard not to let things get to me. Just because it is not "perfect" does not mean it is ruined. Keep is not that important.

    What to do in 2018
    Continue to shop through out the year it is the only way that I can manage to get all the presents and stocking fillers I need.
    Continue to buy good quality stocking fillers, not crappy stuff that will get thrown out without being used.
    Continue to purchase food and baking goods throughout the year, it really does make it easier to budget.
    Continue to wrap early and just be on top of things so that if trouble strikes all will be good and there won't be a panic.

    Plan, plan, plan and keep moving forward.

    Overall I think that Christmas 2017 was a great one......just sad that we have to wait a whole year to do it again.
    Holiday_Mom and Minta like this.
  10. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    The three days of celebrating Christmas with family was nice. We started on Christmas Eve with a buffet dinner at our home. Christmas day was a buffet dinner at my brother's home. The day after Christmas was a sit down dinner at my sister-in-law's home.

    My favorite moment was having everyone around the tree opening gifts. :)

    What worked
    I'll have to give this more thought but off the top of my head, I'm so glad that I prepared frozen meals in October and November. My children were in a number of Christmas concerts. The meals came in handy for the various nights we had Christmas concerts to attend. Then we had to unexpectedly make a number of dental/medical appointments for the week leading into Christmas. I was so glad for those meals!

    What didn't work
    Wrapping gifts, getting interrupted and not finishing what I started. A few gifts got labeled wrong or didn't get labeled. Next year, short of the house being on fire, I will finish wrapping a gift completely, including putting a gift tag/gift label on the package and then I will deal with the commotion outside the door.
    Minta likes this.
  11. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    LOL! I like the wine idea!

    If we have more than 12 people over, we use Chinet plates. They have worked out nicely for buffet style. I like to wrap the utensils up in a napkin with curling ribbon and put them in a basket. My brother uses Christmas motif paper plates and keeps his utensils separately in a caddy. Napkins are in a pile.
    Minta likes this.
  12. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry to hear that you've been dealing with illness since November! That early prep did sound like it saved you.

    I'm glad your son liked the XBox too!
    Minta likes this.

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