Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas Countdown-Will it Bring Me Joy Part 2

In part two, I'm sharing my preparations plan. If it does not bring me joy, it is off the list. Food is a part of a good celebration and I am sure I will eat more than my share but no sense getting into debt, laboring for hours on things no one really likes, and cooking more than realistically can be consumed. I know I will have limited reserves each evening. Meals will be simple. The blessing of a 4:00 sunset is that dining by candle light is an option every night. I have drawers of candles, tea lights, and votive and an abundance of holiday candle holders. Nothing warms my wintry home more than the glow of a real candle. A simple, but festive table brings me joy.  

I'm on the look out for a sale priced pre-sliced ham. That worked so well for DD2's confirmation, and all I had to do was unwrap, put in the crock, douse with lemon-lime soda, let it all heat through, and voila. I know no soup bone for post Christmas soup, but I can buy a cheap ham hock if I really want the leftovers. DD1 doesn't eat meat, so a vegetarian version of bean soup is better anyway. This will save me an hour or more on Christmas transferring the ham from roaster, slicing, and putting in the crock pot to stay warm. I'll also batch up the potatoes for Christmas Day ahead of time and have freezer to oven appetizers ready to go, batch cooking them as well. 

I'll share treats with those I work with, family gatherings, and with close friends. I'll simplify what I make and bake to a few specialties, and skip the ones that are everywhere. I'll make my assorted truffles which my extended family and friends go crazy for (smile, smile), but won't make cut out cookies. I've no problem buying Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix for a few dozen peanut blossoms because they are DS's favorite. I'll have DD2 do a couple batches of M&M cookie's, plenty to share with her friends. I'll bake mini bread. I can double a batch of banana or pumpkin and get 7 mini loaves at a time made. Breads store so well in the freezer wrapped in plastic wrap, and  ready whenever needed. For work, just a communal goodie tray will do, adding some clementines or other fruit, saving the time to make individual gifts. I like my coworkers a lot; a pick me up mid week in mid month might be just as if not more appreciated than a cheap novelty item or treats to take home right before we break.

I love receiving Christmas cards, but to receive one must give, so I will continue my tradition. However, as I have been doing most years, I do the photo cards, already signed, with a brief update on on the family to photo copy and insert. I'll carry the envelopes with me with my address book or phone ready to address in downtime. Last years went out three days before Christmas, but I'm ahead of my timeline this year as I used photos from the Alaska trip. Decorating needs to not rival Macy's either. I had a brief thought of decorating two trees now that I have my family room back, but have nixed that. I am though ecstatic to put my Christmas village back up with room to spread it out. 

Presents are part of our Christmas, no getting around that for me. I've got a list ready and will/have done much on line, or at the shops near my work. It is so much less headachy to just put in an extra hour at the end of the day  a minute from my parking space than make a special trip. I've patronized some local small businesses as well, so happy to help the local economy, plus used online conveniences. I'll wrap as I go, using last years wrapping surplus, adding a roll or two if needed..

So in short

  • simplify meals
  • simplify baking
  • simplify cards and decor
  • simplify presents
Sounds like  a plan to me.


  1. Good for you! I think, unbeknownst to me, our celebrations have always been simple. I never understood Christmas stress until I lived in the 'burbs. Just the decorating alone was awe-inspiring. But, no way I am going to hire somebody to string lights, as they did. I know I am lucky, as a SAHM, I don't have work obligations, but I never did get the notion of cramming things in the calendar at the darkest time of year. As for gifts/treats, I love it when people give me something handmade, and hope those who receive my creations feel the same. Funny, though, that when you've been doing this as long as I have, your social circle consists of those who feel similarly. Perhaps my kids will take a different approach to the holidays when they have their own homes, but I have made it clear that while they are always welcome to join us, they are free to create and observe their own traditions as they see fit, changing them as it suits their lifestyle at the time, as we do now. Enjoy your joy, and thank you for your blog.

    1. It works out well for my son to have time off between Christmas and New Year's so this is the 2nd year in a row he'll b e home, but three years he just couldn't spare the time form a new job, or school obligations.I learned he was quite resilient, and made his own kind of holiday, as did my daughter when she also was living abroad on year, and the following year had moved to CA with my son.I'm just trying to enjoy what it is, when it is, and hope to create space for others to do their things.

  2. I love reading this. I did put up two trees again this year (I usually do 4) but I only have the lights on them. I have just about decided to add more lights and only have lights and bow toppers. I am thinking of just calling them art trees.

    1. If I had done the second tree it would have been minimalistic. My daughter left her mini tree so I might borrow it.


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