I have been chatting with my friends lately about Christmas! I suppose it is less than a month away! Eeek!
Last year I did something a little unconventional due to a trip we had planned. We departed for our trip on Dec 16 and returned at 3 AM on Christmas eve!!! How could I ever make Christmas magical with less than 24 hours!? I had to be extra organized last year, there was no other way around it!
Here’s the idea…
I pretended last year, that Christmas was on the 15th of December!
It seems basic, but it works! It helps being out of the country from then on, but I’m sticking to it this year and I’m going to share why!
It was literally the least stressful Christmas EVER!
The trip added enough chaos, but it didn’t change how busy we were as a family for Christmas or even just on a normal week! We still had so much going on! For starters, my kids were 7 and 5 years old (’nuff said for that!), we were having a dinner Christmas party on the 24th with my extended family, we were having my in laws over for Christmas day breakfast AND I had to work nights on Christmas night and boxing day night. Oh ya, and we were coming home VERY early on Christmas eve, remember?? (assuming no delays on flights home, the stress!!)
How could it possibly all work out!?!?!
By the time Dec 15th came, I had all of our presents wrapped, and hidden away ready to be set up. I had niece’s and nephew’s presents wrapped and ready for our family dinner party on Christmas Eve. I had gifts for our parents wrapped and ready because we would be seeing them on the 24th and 25th! I had teacher gifts already given. I had even prepped little neighbour/friend gifts and boxed them up ready to deliver.
I made baked goods for the freezer to bring with me to the Christmas Eve party. I made quiche and had cinnamon buns in the freezer to serve Christmas morning. I knew we were going to the Christmas eve party on the 24th and we were going to my parent’s house for Christmas dinner (which did take care of a bit of planning on my part, thank goodness!).
Overall, my husband and I were actually able to enjoy Christmas Eve night, despite our fatigue from our trip, luckily there was no time change or jet lag! We enjoyed reading Christmas stories with the kids before putting them to bed then we were able to set up a few things and head to bed ourselves!
There was no midnight to 3am wrapping! No last minute shopping! No “I forgot the grocery store would close”. It was all done! It was SOOO great!
It made for a bit of a busier end of November, but hey, the Black Friday deals are a great help too!
Here are some more details on how I made it all happen.
I started with lists. Lists upon lists. I mean who doesn’t love a good list!
Here is my list of lists:
- I made a list of all the people I was buying for, including everyone! Even teachers, neighbours, the mail delivery person, friends, and family.
- I made a list of foods/meals that freeze well so that we could skip the grocery stores for a bit after Christmas.
- I also made a grocery list of stuff that I could buy before the trip that would last until the 27/28 of December in case I was too zonked to think about it after my night shifts.
- I made a list of the baked goods that I wanted to make (including cookies for Santa and carrots for reindeer!)
- I made a list of the decor I wanted to make or set up.
- I made a list for packing (hopefully you don’t have to do this one too)!
Some of you may now be reaching for your special list paper to write down your own lists…but I urge you to STOP! If you don’t already…
Put your lists in your phone!
I mean really, you may forget to bring your paper list with you, but are you really going to shop without your phone? I mean most people I know take their phone to the bathroom!!!
I have a couple of list apps that I love for my phone (more on that in a future post), but a quick search in your app store should come up with some good results. I always look for a list app that supports sub-lists. That way I can organize my lists even better.
So now that all my lists were made it was time for action.
I started in my own freezer, to determine if I already had some food I could make use of. Then I made the grocery list, which was a sub-list from both my ‘baking list’ and my ‘meals to make and freeze’ list. But I did not shop yet! I was sure I’d think of something else to add.
Then I went to the basement, *sneak preview I have all my Christmas stuff perfectly organized in bins with labels for decor, crafts, village, and tree ornaments. All set up post purge!* I pulled out my Christmas stuff and started decorating.
Over the next few days it was time for thinking and planning what gifts I would buy for everyone on my list. I decided to make some homemade hot chocolate style gifts for the teachers and for the other/neighbours/friends boxes. So I added a few more things to my grocery list.
After I had decided on most of the gifts it was time to shop.
Once most of my shopping was done I decided it was time for baking. I found recipes that were easy and looked great on a platter. No time for fancy decorated sugar cookies, it was more about squares or treat clusters.
Baking led well into cooking, so I then made the quiche and a few other easy to prep ahead meals that my family will eat without too much fussing. I also purchased some pizza crust that I would put into the freezer for another easy meal. I made sure to have things like salami, cheese and crackers, carrots, apples and yogurt. I just needed to ensure it would get us through passed my night shifts.
By then I was able to think more about gifts and purchase the rest of them.
Now it was time to wrap!
I have always wrapped the “special gifts” in unique wrapping paper, coloured by person. Before the gifts are wrapped, I test that they actually fit in the stocking! That way I know which ones I could put under the tree instead. I hid all of those presents away in a box in my gift closet. Then I wrapped the rest of gifts.
After that, I was DONE! Well actually I had to pack our clothes and plane activities…but Christmas was done!
I know it may seem like a lot, but really, all of that has to happen anyway. Who wants to do it minutes before a party, or on Christmas eve!
So I tell you…mark it on your calendar…from now on Christmas comes early. Make it a hard deadline! If you don’t believe that you HAVE to have it all done, you probably will still be in the stores on the 23rd or 24th. When your deadline comes, try telling yourself you can’t go shopping anymore! Why not pretend you are on vacation!!
Make your list now and start shopping! Don’t forget to plan your meals. This year I will need to plan a few more meals since I am sure we will have less or maybe no parties this year because of COVID! But I can still make goodies to hand out!
I guarantee you, if you stick to your deadline, you will enjoy Christmas so much more!
Slow it down and take it all in, and enjoy the magic!