Wrap up of Christmas 2018

Discussion in 'Christmas Magic' started by sweetpumkinpye, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Christmas for 2018 has now passed and the planning begins for 2019.
    What worked for you all this year?
    What didn't?
    Are there things that you will change for next year?

    Share your thoughts and plans here.
    AuntJamelle likes this.
  2. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Christmas this year for us was a little different.
    DD moved out of our home in February and I suffered quite a bit of anxiety wondering what Christmas would be like for us this year.
    It was not like Christmasses in the past but it was fine. DD and BF spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with us so that was lovely. It was nice to have a new family member share our Christmas with us.

    The lead up to Christmas was very relaxed, I think because we had scheduled baking days quite early and I had also used the wrapping party days and Rudy days to do some planning and prep.

    Baking was good, just the right amount and variety. I have got biscuits in the freezer for early in the new year but besides that the rest has gone.
    There are a few things that were missed so I will add those to the baking list for next year. I am glad that I did trial runs throughout the year on a few new things. A caramel cheesecake that was on the list for Christmas was an absolute fail which left us more time to try something else.

    Dinner on Christmas Eve was very simple, we had fresh fruit, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, pineapple, kiwi fruit and grapes. We also had a cheese and cured meat platter. This was well received, was easy to prepare and easy to clean up. I bought the cheeses and meats at the beginning of the month and the fruit a few days before Christmas. This is something that we will do again next year although I probably will not get cherries as they were untouched.

    Christmas morning breakfast was very simple. DD and BF were going to his parents for lunch so we needed a light breakfast. We had coffee, fruit juice, ham and cheese croissants which were prepared early in the morning, apple danishes and cereal..The cereal were types that we would never have throughout the year and they were a hit. Simple breakfast served buffet style and hardly any prep. Will certainly do that again next year.

    Gifts were very well received. Once again I am so glad that I have the means and time to buy all through the year. There was a nice mix of practical things and fun things. Some gifts were very small and others were a bit more substantial.

    The stocking were filled with mainly practical things that will help the kids throughout the year. Things like, mascara, foundation, (for DD not the boys lol) deodorant, shampoo, razors, shopping bags, bottles of soft drink, teabags, socks and the like. The stockings are always a challenge to come up with interesting and useful things but is something I take great delight in organising every year.

    Dinner at my mum's was once again a lovely evening. We had a lovely meal that my mum had prepared the days leading up to Christmas. Cold meats and salads and a lovely trifle, fruit pudding and this year an ice cream station for desserts.
    There was a lot of food and we will sit down at our first planning day and see where we may be able to pull back a little. The variety was fine but we are still preparing way too much and think we can pull back a little on that.

    I also feel that mum gave out too many gifts, I will speak to her and see if we can pull back a bit on that. It will save her a lot of money and time if we can cut down a bit, As adults we really don't need a lot of things. She buys for a lot more people than I do so maybe this will help her.

    I am sad that we did not take many photos, I really wanted some this year but got too busy and forgot. I really wanted a family photo in front of the tree but never found the time. A must for next year.

    I cut back a bit more on Christmas cards this year, but did once again enjoy taking part in the MHH Christmas card exchange. Have made notes for next year and will budget for this swap.

    I made the decision to buy anything I needed before Christmas as over the past few years I find after Christmas shopping to be a bust. I have enough paper, tags and gift bags to last me a few years.

    All in all we had a great few days.
    Over the years I have struggled with changing times and how to adapt from doing Christmas with kids to doing Christmas with all adults. I hope that the family had a great day, it seems like they did.

    So now to move on to planning for Christmas 2019 and make more happy memories for my family.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
    AuntJamelle and Holiday_Mom like this.
  3. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    What Didn't Work
    I didn't start shopping early enough and found myself finishing up stocking stuffers the day before Christmas. I don't want to do this again.
    I baked too much, as usual, and we still have cookies sitting here that aren't going to get eaten and be thrown away.
    I wanted to do photo cards and we never made it out to take the photo. Will have to plan better next year and get out early to take it. I will set a date ahead of time on the calendar for early November.
    I wanted to go see the Honolulu City Lights and that never happened (probably won't before they start taking them down either). Priorities will be a bit different next year since it will most likely be our last Christmas here.
    I didn't get a couple boxes sent out before the holidays and they are still sitting here. I need to get them sent out this coming week.
    I never plan ahead for the elves and it always bites me in the rear. I would like to plan for them next year so i'm better prepared and not doing everything last minute.

    What Did Work
    I had a list started early of ideas for the kids and then after I had them make lists I filled in from there. Stocking stuffers were the hard part but I got those figured out as well.
    Food gifts went out early and that went well. I paired down who I gifted to and just did my bestie and DH's office and a couple ladies at the bus stop. I also did the bus driver and two teachers.
    House decorations went up the week after Thanksgiving and with that being earlier this year we've had maximum time with them up. We bought a new, bigger tree so that was nice. I do need a new tree skirt though.
    Christmas breakfast went well, I made my traditional casserole and I added homemade cinnamon rolls at the request of DS. They were made ahead of time and reheated on Christmas morning. I could make them even farther in advance and freeze them.

    Going Forward
    DH is always the hardest to shop for and DD is always the easiest. I find myself having to make myself stop buying for DD and search for things for DH and DS. I need to start paying more attention throughout the year to things that DH and DS might like or need and keep an eye out for deals on stocking stuffers that will last until Christmas or stay relevant until then. DH usually just picks up whatever he wants/needs so he's really difficult.

    I would like to open another account and start putting money into it just for Christmas. We didn't touch our savings or anything this year but it would still be nice to save all year instead of absorbing the brunt of the cost in the last two months of the year. I will speak with DH about this and see what he thinks.

    I might be back to add more later after I really think about things.
  4. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    We had a nice Christmas Week. Overall, I was happy with the way things went. Here are my notes:

    Changes for next year:
    • Need to find another tree farm. More and more people are cutting down trees and the selection was sparse.
    • Make only "Christmas" cookies next year: We had way too many leftovers of cookies in general. Those are in the freezer for youth group snacks.
    • Decide if doing one or two trees before Thanksgiving. If doing two, then set up artificial tree on Thanksgiving weekend.
    • Make up cookie dry mix in the summer. Attach cookie recipe to the bag for reference.
    • Make cookie dough and freeze in October.
    • Decorate the tree w/o the children if they are not available. They can add their ornaments once Christmas break starts.
    • Go through the Freezer Sessions 2018 Thread and write down the tips that I learned.
    What to keep doing:
    • Plan meals on days of concerts
    • Exercise and get to bed by 10 pm starting in October.
    • Cut out cheese, crackers and adult beverages after 7 pm beginning in October. Add in lots of fruits and vegetables to our meals.(This was the first Christmas in 6 or 7 years where I didn't get sick. I think my eating/sleeping/exercising habits played a part.)
    • Plan meals on days between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Keep them simple. Have everyone pitch in.
    • Stock up on extra trash bags, toilet paper, paper towels, Kleenex, dish detergent, washing detergent, etc. for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
    • Have plenty of cold and flu medicine available.
    • Take the time to organize and plan ahead. It is worth it. CrAzy things happen the week leading into Christmas and the week of Christmas. This helped me stay to stay calmer.
    AuntJamelle likes this.
  5. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Mary, there are some great tips in your post.
    This year I started to go to bed earlier and I felt the better for it. I am going to try this tip too for the Winter months. In times of stress we need to look after ourselves.
    Holiday_Mom likes this.
  6. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Things to Change/Work On:

    Chocolate dipped spoons cannot be made too far in advance, chocolate will bloom. Maybe a week ahead? Probably shouldn’t ship them either!

    If sending cookies to DFIL mark as something to be opened right away - he waited until Chr Day!!!

    Try to get more wrapping done ahead - wasn’t too bad but still had more to do at the end than I would have liked!

    Bake a bit more cookie wise that I did in 2018...was struggling to fill last cookie platters and had to make another couple batches of things.

    DS lost interest quickly in gingerbread house and it sat on dining room table unfinished for days - maybe just do full size gingerbread cookies next year. The kits you can buy in the store are little mini cookies and not as fun.

    Change up the appetizer selection for Chr dinner party - focus on little things people can pick up on the go vs dips. Even mini sandwiches do not go well - were largely uneaten.

    Pick smaller and lighter things for gifts to ship - ended up spending $100 in shipping charges this year! :eek:

    Remember to pick up dated Christmas photo frame for DS photo with Santa - I forgot and they were all gone this year! Although he may be too old to do it next year, we'll see!!!

    Scale back on freezer meals for us or alter things to fit Keto plan since we have 4-5 meals in freezer still that may not get eaten. Don't plan on desserts for any meals for just us at home - cookies in freezer will be plenty if I make enough.

    Slightly increase budget on presents for my sister and her BF - felt like they got more for us this year than we did for them!

    Things That Worked Well:

    Dinner with two BIL's and their respective others was great and was so nice to see everyone. Plan ahead to do this again and give myself time to test gluten free/dairy free menu options for the one SIL.

    Stayed on target with wrapping and prepping things to be shipped. Was so good to get them out the door on time!

    Decor was just enough - kept things simple and DH even commented on how nice it was! :)

    Everything went pretty smoothly this year, really, which is great! The long term prep really paid off!
    Holiday_Mom likes this.
  7. housewife2

    housewife2 Well-Known Member

    changes for this christmas 2019 i will not buy so many sweets ended up throwing too many away. just bc some look good arent always good either. bought some sugar cookies hard as arock , fruitcake didnt like . have tons of choclate but have kept them .
    Holiday_Mom likes this.
  8. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    I just thought of something else I want to do better for next Christmas - Take the time to stop and write down an idea for a gift or stocking stuffer. I think of something, tell myself to write it next time I'm sitting down but then I forget by then. :rolleyes: Yesterday I was using the lint roller and then I remembered that is what I wanted to pick up as a stocking stuffer. I swear I waste more time and money by rushing through something instead of slowing down and making note of the work right then and there.
  9. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    Mary, great idea. As I get older I need to stop and write ideas down as soon as I can. I have a notebook in my handbag and several here at the house. Don't want to forget those great ideas when we get them.
    Myron's Mom and Holiday_Mom like this.
  10. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    I went to my mum's on Friday and we had our annual planning day. We do it early in the year so that we have a fresh perspective of Christmas.
    Dinner will be much the same as we had last year because it is easy and it suits us. We did discuss that there was too much food for dinner so mum agreed that we can cut back on what we make. Not the variety but certainly the quantity.
    I also explained to mum that there were way too many gifts for my family and that this year we should cap it. Luckily she agreed with this so it means that she will spend less and not have to worry about what to buy the family.
    We have started a shopping list so have some idea of what we need to buy and can pick it up if we see it on special.

    Glad that she was happy with what we have suggested as I was a little worried about her reaction.
    Holiday_Mom likes this.
  11. Myron's Mom

    Myron's Mom Active Member

    I had to laugh when I read about writing stuff down and the lint roller! My son got and set of lint rollers for Christmas. And if I don't write stuff down right away it's gone for me too. I actually keep a notebook on my nightstand so I can write stuff down. Not sure why I think of that kind of things at bedtime but I always do.

    Things to change:
    For sure get a smaller live tree for the sun room. It was beautiful but so tall I couldn't put the tree topper on it. And it was a bear to put in the stand it was so heavy.
    Less sweets. I've been cutting back on my baking every year. I need to cut back more. We are not big sweet eaters and with a diabetic husband we need very little. If I do any baking I'll just do 1/2 recipes. And no candy.
    I need to make more time to just sit and enjoy my decorating efforts. I didn't spend much time in the sunroom this year and missed out on enjoying the beautiful tree. The longest I was in there at one time was early Christmas morning (thats my "special time").
    The last thing is to pay more attention to what my husband wants, interested in or likes. I really struggled with his gifts. He always gives me a list but atleast for me just getting the items is not all that fun. Of course we are at that age where we have pretty much everything or just buy what we want.
    Everything else went as planned. Gifts were well received, entertaining guests went well and Christmas Eve dinner was perfect.
    I love working and planning ahead. So nice to be able to enjoy the days leading up to Christmas because everything was pretty well done. I wasn't exhausted and my back didn't hurt. The only thing that was missing was snow :rolleyes:
    Holiday_Mom likes this.

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