Christmas is in the air.
We get to stay home this year! I really like hosting for the holidays. Family comes to spend the day, as do friends. A couple years we’ve answered the door to discover that one of our guests brought along someone else who would have otherwise spent the day alone. I love it!
Decorating and other preparations have begun. My kids trimmed the tree last week. The season includes a unique family custom, begun when my oldest were little. Once the tree is up (usually the Sunday after Thanksgiving), my kids sleep on the floor near the tree and fall asleep gazing at lights and listening to Christmas music.
I’m looking at the various tasks I’ll need to do in the next few weeks.
There’s extra cleaning. If I were to wait until Christmas week, I’d be exhausted and end up in bed. Not good, so I’ve been scrubbing walls and window sills, vacuuming the curtains, double-checking for burnt-out lightbulbs (somehow we ignore those until the last one goes, and we’re left in the dark), cleaning the pantry, and various other tasks that could probably be left undone and nobody would ever notice. I like to deep-cleaning now, so that I can relax knowing everything is spotless. I just have to tidy-up when the big day arrives. Pacing myself really helps.
For years I wasn’t able to do more than two or three errands before collapsing with fatigue. In hindsight, that was probably my earliest warning of RA. It’s hard to do a marathon shopping trip when you can’t drag yourself around the store. I became a big fan of point-and-click shopping!
Sometimes one must visit a 3D-store, though, and I dealt with this by planning well in advance. By spreading out the shopping trips (starting Christmas shopping in October), I was able to keep the trips short enough that I could rest well afterward. This led to interesting situations a couple years.
My husband was working long hours, so I had to take the kids for all their shopping – including for my gift. They were disappointed that I wouldn’t be surprised on Christmas morning, but we made the best of it. Turns out I was surprised. I was so tired all the time that my memory was affected (enough so that my husband commented on it, much to the frustration of both of us). It seemed I couldn’t remember anything. Including, Christmas morning, gifts that I had helped purchase. I was genuinely surprised, which delighted the kids (and distressed my poor husband, wondering what was wrong with me).
Thankfully, the poor memory and bone-crushing fatigue are a thing of the past. I still prefer to shop by point-and-click. It’s great to have everything show up on my doorstep without having to make time to go out on the icy roads.
Not too much planning is required here, because I serve the same thing for every Christmas. Well, usually. A couple years ago our neighbor shot two geese and didn’t want them, so that year we also had Christmas goose added to our usual fare. Anyhow, I try to do as much in advance as possible, and the meal planning was done years ago.
Munchies are prepared a few days in advance, and set out after breakfast so that people can snack before the meal is served:
- vegetable tray
- olives (#10 can from Costco)
Our menu is really two complete meals:
- green salad w/ dressing
- green beans
- cranberry sauce (two kinds)
- mashed potatoes
- turkey gravy and corn gravy
This makes a huge meal that seems like it should be a lot of work. In reality, I’m able to relax and enjoy visiting with people because I try to delegate as much as possible, and do my portion of the work well in advance. Pies, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and dinner rolls can all be made ahead. With any luck, they’re not eaten in advance, too! There’s a little bit of a scramble for thirty minutes before we sit down to eat, but everyone is in the kitchen working together, so it’s a fun time.
There is now a list posted on my refrigerator.
Whenever someone calls to ask what they can bring, it’s easy to know what we still need.
This year we get to celebrate twice. Most of the family is coming on Christmas day, but some people couldn’t make it then, so are coming on Sunday afternoon. I’m looking forward to two Christmases this year.
Do you have any tips to make this time of year easier?