Friday, November 09, 2007

Ho, ho, ho

It snowed this morning. Didn't last long, but big, fluffy flakes that had my son (hatless and jacketless, of course) standing in the driveway with his face to the sky, cheering.

I also glanced at the calendar.

So the time is coming. The holidays, that is. Most of which will be at my house this year, because my two oldest work retail part-time and their schedules are easier if we take driving out the equation.

I love the holidays, I really do. But I don't love the madness, the sense that I'm running as fast as I can to try and get everything done.

So this year, I'm determined to pare it down. To keep the things that really matter, the things I truly enjoy, and get rid of the rest.

So how do you do it? I've tried a couple of times to do the pre-made meals, and it just doesn't do it for me. Heating all that stuff up is almost as much work as cooking, and my stuffing and gravy are simply better. (Any suggestions on particular shortcuts that work great, easy dishes that are always a hit, are much appreciated.)

I've happily given up much actual, in the flesh shopping. Thank Santa for the internet.

A real life Christmas tree is non-negotiatiable. I'd rather not have one, or have a really tiny one, than have a fake. (This is a point of disagreement between me and the dh. Some time I'll tell you about the year of the Great Christmas Tree War.) But I'm thinking about not hauling out the other decorations; we just redecorated, and I'm still admiring my new decor.

Hmm . . . I've mostly given up making Christmas cookies. I like to bake, but there's really nobody to eat them. (I refuse to consider calories on the actual days of the holidays, but we simply can't do that for a month. Not and still ski down the hill, rather than roll, when we head for the slopes after Christmas.)

What about you? Any good hints and tips for making the next months memorable but not crazy? What's a "must" for you, and what have you let go of?

Susie, who is reading a pile of Mary Balogh Christmas novellas. Is there anyone who does that better than she does?


Cait London said...

I'm hoping this year is very different from others. I usually work myself into a fizz between writing/deadlines and spending the month of December dedicated to surviving and taking the first week of January to rest. The presents are stacked up, ready to go. I buy thru the year and made jam for all. (I'm set to make apple butter now.) But I am cutting way back, tho I do like baking. I'm hoping that this year won't be as hectic, a real family fiesta at my house. A must for me is some night at the end of the year, just for me. I call a few old friends, light a candle or two, drink a glass of wine and polish my furniture. Then I settle down with a good book. It's a quiet time, a little present for myself before starting the new year.

Virginia Lady said...

I am always too stressed out for the holidays. Too many bad things have happened in Nov/Dec over the course of my life. But I make a few things easier.

One, I go to my Dad's for T-day and Christmas dinner. I bring an appetizer or a dessert . That's easy.

Two, I used to buy stuff all year long, but now I hit the day after T-day sales and kill most of the kid shopping and shopping for everyone but my husband and MIL.

Three, We host a Solstice brunch on the Sunday before Christmas. It's an open house format and pot luck if you care to bring something. If you don't, no problem. Come, eat, visit, finish your shopping afterwards.

And four, I try not to let perfectionism out. If the house isn't decorated 'just so', so what. We always have a live tree, sometimes it isn't up until a couple of days before the big day, but that's not all bad since I have a few people who are actually allergic to the tree. They still insist on it. I could live with fake. It's not as nice, but it doesn't make people wheeze either.

I try to make a couple of sweet treats at some point through the month, but I've come to the conclusion that I'm not June Cleaver and I'm never going to have a holiday like those TV shows can produce. I don't have a TV studio's crew to do it, and there's no way I can do it on my own or even with my three boy's help.

I've let go of perfectionism and I always keep in mind the idea is to enjoy the season. When it gets too tense, I step back and say "enough" I'm not having a good time, something needs to change.

Helen Brenna said...

I say ... put the DH to work!