Sunday, December 14, 2008

Working on My List

How are your Christmas plans coming along? I am famous in my family for being a complete basket case at Christmas time. Every year I plan to do things differently, to scale down, to not bake and make candy for everyone that I know, etc, and every year I drop a few things from my list and then manage to add 10 more.

This year is feeling a little less frenetic, though. I don't know if it is because I really have scaled back the presents this year, if it's because I decided to skip Christmas cards, or because I'm delusional and will be crazy in a few more days. But just in case I have finally figured it out, I'll share here what I've done/what I have planned as we move toward Christmas. I have essentially finished my shopping, with just a couple of small things I still need to pick up. What's more, yesterday I wrapped everything that I had in the house. I'm waiting on some things I bought online to show up, but it feels good to not procrastinate the wrapping.

I have forced myself to not bake until this week. I figured that would help me to not eat like a glutton for the entire month. This evening after we put the kids to bed, I baked my first (of many) batch of pumpkin chocolate chip bread. Over the course of the next several days, we'll be delivering loaves to piano teachers, RDI therapists, tae kwon do instructors, speech specialists, and all of the widows in our congregation (the diabetics will get whole wheat bread instead.) Then, I'll move on to cinnamon rolls for our neighbors and some of the people we serve in our church callings. Hopefully by next Sunday, I'll be ready to focus on Christmas cookies and candy for our own family and to share with a few close friends who haven't already eaten our food!

In terms of school, I am going to lighten the academic load this week. We will gather each morning for our "meeting" and then the kids will do some independent work: a math worksheet, journal writing, and some Christmas activity pages that I'll find on the internet when I've finished this post. They'll practice the piano and do a Russian lesson on the computer. We'll read a Christmas story together. Then they'll help me bake and deliver goodies. They are really hoping to have a holiday party akin to those they remember at public school, so I'm trying to find a way to fit something like that in. (They tell me that essential elements are crafts, goodies, cookie decorating, and friends.)

Last week over Sunday dinner, I asked Jared and my in-laws what kind of meat they wanted for Christmas Eve. I braced myself for the "prime rib" response, as I know they love it. It is just time consuming and expensive, but I can never resist making it when someone requests it. To my surprise and delight, they suggested a spiral sliced ham. What could be easier? With a low-maintenance main course and my presents already wrapped, is there a possibility that I won't collapse into an exhausted heap on Christmas Eve, praying that my children will sleep later than 6 am? That would be the true measure of success, but it's still too early to call a victory.

Other things that have gone out the window, however unplanned they may be? Blogging, for one. Early morning exercise. Taking pictures of my kids (these photos are all previous years). Math lessons. And I only wore makeup twice all week. Hmm. Looks like there's some room for improvement.

How do you stay sane in December?


Van Woerkom Family said...

In order to stay sane, I highly recommend NOT planning a December wedding. Good luck and enjoy your little ones before they go off and get married and leave home. :)

Joyful Noise said...

I do not bake cookies anymore. They are not good for me, and I do not see any reason I need to make 10 different kinds of anything. If we have time we will make loaves of pumpkin or applesauce bread, which I think is MUCH easier than cookies. Becky and the kids will make sugar cookies, but we will not make lots of different cookies (but I do have recipes....)

Christmas Eve dinner will also be much simpler. I may still do a prime rib, but I will probably only have mashed potatoes and a vegetable and salad. Things just need to be simplified when there are children involved.

The one thing I would really like to accomplish is to make at least one costume for our Christmas pageant. If I make one every year maybe someday we will have enough for all the grandchildren and they will not have to just wear blankets over their shoulders!

Prudy said...

Oh Michal, advice greatly needed over here. I think I should give up answering the phone. Honestly, every time I answer the phone it's another something that I need to do. Like tonight, another dessert for 30 for another worthy cause. I'm teasing...a little. It's good to share but it does get a little crazy! Not to mention all of the other kajillion and one things that I'm trying to do. I hope I can squeeze in a homeschool party. West really wants his friends over for a pancake breakfast. Sailor is so busy with the Nutcracker this year, so she doesn't need as much fun activities.

Ashley said...

Amazing... I have been giving up the make-up thing several times a week too lately. It seems to give me a few more minutes during the day to accomplish something that isn't going to washed, smeared or cried off before midnight. I just don't see the point on days that I hardly or don't leave the house. Hopefully, our husbands don't mind. "We promise we aren't letting ourselves go!"

Mahina said...

this is probably our most frantic christmas! i typically (read: not this year) am done shopping and wrapping gifts by the end of october so i don't have to worry about that aspect of it. we can focus more on the making treats for friends and celebrating, etc.

however, this year is so not like that! but i am just decideing that i can't do as much in my current state and there is always next year!

i am with ashley! i don't do make-up unless absolutely necessary, like for church. it saves me time! i also wear a hat almost every other day so i don't have to do anything to my hair! this will change, but for now, it works!

Suldog said...

The ham definitely wouldn't fly at our gatherings (not that pigs fly, anyway.) Has to be turkey, which I cook. I love it, really, but it is time consuming.

Anonymous said...

It's a dangerous time for us Martha types who are "careful and troubled about many things." The real trick is to find "that good part that will not be taken from" us.

Traditions are important, family time is important, good food is important. You always make Christmas wonderful. And you are doing a great job of "Mary-ing" this year. Keep up the good work. We all will love it no matter what you cut out or add on.

Love you,

Bunsy said...

In the past I never really got to spend the good quality time with my husband and kids that I wanted to because I was too busy cranking out the cookies and goodies. Now that I'm in Turkey and the number of people that I know that celebrate Christmas can be counted on one hand my life has become a lot easier. I don't know what to tell you. You could always move. I'll need some advice on this dilemma when we move back to the states.

Rebecca said...

I have high hopes for everything every year and get nothing accomplished.

This year I was actually on my way there when pregnancy and hospitalization interrupted my plans!

The only thing I really, desperately want to get done is to have all presents wrapped before Christmas Eve. Why? Because Christmas Eve is James' birthday, and I don't want him spending it wrapping presents.

I also want to get the family cookies made. The three they look forward to every year are fudgy crinkle, russian teacakes w/ almonds, and raspberry-filled shortbread.

Rebecca said...

Pecans. I meant russian teacakes with pecans.

Becky said...

Having no money helps with not trying to buy presents for everyone you know. I'm going on the assumption that everyone who would be expecting presents from me knows that I have no money. I am going to be trying out Pruddy's English Toffee to send out as presents to teachers etc though.

Love the sunshine... said...

My family is an easy Christmas fix. They always remind me that whether I spend 6 hours cooking or 2 days cooking, it will only take 10 minutes to eat and hour to clean! Don't I have a great support? Thanks for the blog! Ian has lost his baby fat cheeks! Hope all is well. Keep your chin up and please post a recipe for the pumpkin chocolate chip desert!

Melissa said...

Congrats on being done with your Christmas shopping. I think that the earlier you finish your shopping, the less insane you go during the holidays!

Christine said...

My list is always too long... stuff doesn't happen- and I try to not to worry about it. But I never give up the make up. :)

Angela said...

We have skipped the holiday here. Everything is on the slow down after all of the weather tragedies, and you know what it feels great. I will bake cookies tomorrow- more for me than the kids! :) Last big bash before the diet ..sure!

Tamlynn said...

My daughter turns 8 the day after Christmas and my wedding anniversary is the 22nd. So we prioritize.

We skipped the ward Christmas party, the RS Christmas party, the HP group Christmas party and the stake choir concert. No work party for my husband this year.

Don't worry, we had plenty of other excursions including mutual, scouts, orchestra and taekwondo Christmas celebrations. is my friend. I've done 95% of my shopping online this year.

So far, so good.

Trying to Stay Calm! said...

I'm new here :) What a great blog :)

Kim said...

Oh, please don't measure the success of the day by whether or not you had makeup on. Why do I feel my Mother looking over my shoulder with an unhappy look as I type that? : )

Hey, if you need a Christmas party just bring the kids to Amber's b-day tomorrow. We'll be decorating gram cracker houses and some of the other "typical" Christmas party things. You can tell them it's their "school party" but you get to sing happy birthday too. : )

I'm not sure if my prego mind is just delusional this year or what but I keep thinking there is more time. HA! Christmas is next week right? Can't wrap what I haven't bought. Time to go shopping!

Keli and Mike said...

I am usually pretty good about getting things done in a timely manner in December so I can enjoy the Christmas spirit. This year is making me crazy. We got the keys to our new house two weeks ago and things have been so hectic. The entire house needed a deep clean, new paint, and TLC. I didn't realize how much time it takes to paint! We ended up painting a couple of rooms then moved in last week. We are still in the middle of a HUGE mess. We don't even have a Christmas tree (which is a must on my list). So it doesn't really feel like Christmas this year, but we do have our own house, yea!!

I enjoyed your cute Christmas card! Sounds like you're doing great!!