Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Is Coming...

I mentioned the whole idea behind this blog is to aid me as I transform my "real" life into my "ideal" life...the countless small things I need to improve on to help my life run a bit more smoothly.  I should note too, that I'm not trying to achieve my dream life or anything here.  I can tell you right now, unless we win the lottery, that is not going to happen.  This is my day-to-day life I'm talking about.  I just want it to be a bit more special.  I want the mundane things, like housework and chores, to be on auto-pilot, so I can really enjoy the limited amount of free time I have with my family. 

To give you a concrete example of what I'm talking about, let's take Bill's birthday last Wednesday.  Now, that was the day we learned we were having a boy, so that part was really fun; but other than that I feel like I really dropped the ball.  It was all too last minute and rushed.  I managed to order him a present the Friday before, and thankfully it arrived by his birthday.  However, it wasn't much, and I wanted to get him more.  I also wanted to pick out something cute for Madeleine to give or make for him, but didn't get around to that either.  I didn't even get him a card!! 

Then, for dinner we were having fish tacos which we make fairly regularly.  For some reason, when we were at the store we were not seeing the tilapia in the fish case (which we usually use), so we bought another type of fish instead.  I don't remember what it was, but it did not taste good at all in the tacos.  After they wrapped our fish, we had a "duh" moment and saw the tilapia in the case.  Of course, we didn't bother to exchange it because the place was a mad house.  I wish we had though.

Finally, he asked for a big cookie instead of a cake.  Of course, I didn't order one or anything from the bakery, so his birthday cookie said "Happy Thanksgiving" on it.

I know he didn't care because he is super laid back...Mr. Chill if you will, but that's not the point.  It's not like I wanted to throw him a huge party or anything either.  I just didn't want it to be an after thought.

This is my long winded way of saying that I need to work on my time management / planning skills a bit.  So, I thought it would help me to at the end of each month take a moment to see what's coming up in the next month, so I can give myself a bit more time to prepare for everything.

December is obviously a big one with Christmas.  We're actually hosting my family for Christmas Eve too, so I want to make sure I'm on the ball.

Here's what December looks like for us:
December 1st - Breakfast with Santa at a work colleague's house
December 6th - St. Nick's
December 9th - Cookie Exchange party at a friend's
December 13th - Holiday Open House at my office
December 24th - Christmas Eve at our house with my family visiting
December 25th - Christmas at my mother-in-law's

In addition, this is what needs to be done:
- Bring Madeleine to see Santa
- Buy Christmas Tree
- Decorate for Christmas (tree, interior, exterior)
- Christmas Shopping (We have 20 people to buy for!)
- Christmas Eve Meal - Plan / Buy Ingredients / Make
- Christmas Cookies - Plan / Buy Ingredients / Make
- Wrap Christmas presents (make sure I have boxes, paper, and bows)
- Attend mass (last year we missed this due to an urgent care visit with Madeleine on Christmas Day)
- Christmas Cards - Create / Buy / Mail-out
- Mail Christmas gifts to out-of-town family
- Clean the house for Christmas Eve

I'm happy to say I can cross off two items on the list already.  We were stopping by the mall to pick up Bill's new glasses prior to visiting his brother over the weekend (they just had a baby), so since Madeleine was with us I decided to just take her then to visit Santa.  At 11:30 we were first in line to see Santa at noon.  Madeleine did really good waiting in line, then of course when we she sat on his lap this happened.  I totally love it!!
We also went to Stein's and bought a fake Christmas tree (50% off!).  I'm normally very anti-fake Christmas tree, but Bill convinced me of its merits.  It's much less messy, we don't have to water it, and now we have it going forward.  So, next year, buying a tree won't even be on this list!  I agreed with the one caveat that we would still do a real tree from time to time.
Are you guys already mentally preparing for Christmas, or is it too soon yet?  Do you have any tips for a stress-free holiday season?


  1. The holidays stress me out. I try to do things ahead of time to avoid a lot of stress. For example, I have been buying presents for people (mostly Maggie) since summer and stocking them away. I also buy a lot of stuff online. Generally, I make someone take a family photo of us at Thanksgiving that I then upload into Shutterfly (or a similar site) and order immediately after. I have let go of trying to have the perfect family photo for the holiday cards. I also use one photo, which saves time in going through all the photos trying to find more than that. Other than that, I don't have any tips, but look forward to any that others share!

    1. Madeleine just had a birthday a few weeks ago, so I'm struggling with ideas for what to get her for Christmas now. We also took 2yr portraits of her, and had a few family shots taken. I'm hoping one of them turned out descent for a card. I agree, the perfect family photo is hard to get (I think they only exist on Pinterest). If we don't get one, I'll just put a picture of her on the card this year.

    2. One thing that has helped us in the presents department (because Sept (birthday) and Dec (christmas) are fairly close as well) is that I try to think of things that Maggie might not necesarily be into right now, but will be in the spring/summer. That way, I can put them away for winter and have "new" things in spring/summer for her to play with. A good example of this type of stuff is outdoor toys.