There’s usually a moment, between Christmas and when the kids go back to school, to reflect on what went well with our Christmas events and hang at home days. I don’t mind reliving a few sour moments if it could help keep me from actually reliving them again next year.
But these pearls are wasted if they don’t bubble up in time to do better next year. So I am writing this post with two simple lists AND putting a note on December 1, 2012 to go back to this entry and read it. My ghosts of Christmas Past and Present can and do text each other. Here’s the message from them to my ghost of Christmas Next Year.
Start pulling recipes early, and putting items on the grocery lists before crunch time.
Do one or two big* catering gigs to earn a little cash for gifts.
Plan, with a calendar, some outings that might feel like a hassle when you start out but will make great memories.
Use a walk to think through cooking plans, and to get a breather once the goose is in the oven*.
Send someone else to do the big food shop. Conserve your energy.
Make cookie dough ahead, and assemble a simple kit with royal icing and sprinkles. That is what the kids work on while you bake still more cookies. You will need more cookies.
Use Pandora for your background music.
Accept movie-watching as an activity; stock your DVDs or Netflix queue on Thanksgiving weekend.
TiVO some old SNL Christmas episodes from years past. (Jimmy Fallon & co singing I Wish It Was Christmas Today!) This for when your ridiculous side is fading away and you start to get way too serious about cookies or tinsel.
Share calendars, (thank you iCloud!), gift lists, grocery lists, recipes, and ruminations, with your tech-savvy relatives using some simple, fun apps*. For the rest of the family, write an ‘agenda’ for the next day in big marker and tape it to (the inside of) your front door every night before you go to bed.
Take some kids to the Nutcracker.
Stick to my FlyLady routines.
Plan anything for New Year’s Eve if you had anything a (if the kids were well through Christmas week, they will probably be sick on New Year’s. Or your babysitter will. Or you will.)
Do a cookie exchange unless you are prepared to tell no one, and hide the cookies. The variety, compared to a zillion dozen of your own excellent but now boring gingerbread slackers hanging around the kitchen, will prove to be too powerful a temptation to children, Grandpa, and yourself. I just know that we would not eat 6 dozen Gingerbread People in 36 hours, but hey lemme just try one of these 7-layer-bar looking things…
*catering: If I want to have time for baking for my own family, don’t take any gigs for after Dec. 10. Limit 3 parties or 500 people total, and plan to use the restaurant staff for help, and I might as well plan for at least one all-nighter. Better than catering: sell baked goods on Facebook.
*Christmas Goose: worth it? You decide. Recipe link here.
*my fave apps for holiday management: iCloud shared calendars (if you have PCs in your fam, Cozi is also very good) Gifts HD for iPad (last year I used Better Christmas List for iPhone), OurGroceries, Evernote
, Epicurious, Paprika, and Facebook.