Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Taking The Hassle Out Of Christmas - Part Three - Planning For The Big Day

Christmas is a time to create memories and family traditions, we have a few.

Everyone must stir the Christmas Cake
The tree gets decorated with more than just Mums input.
Streamers everywhere are a must.

I am a hoarder, I still have Christmas decorations that the children made me in kindergarten, and ones they had given me for Christmas itself, and even ones, my nieces and nephews made me, every year I still put them up, it gives the house a real warm feeling.

It doesn't have to cost the earth, Christmas is about togetherness and the joy of Creation.

I always start planning about October, as we normally have 20-25 people here for Christmas Dinner alone with people coming and going all day long, some Christmases are quiet and there may be 8-10 but that happens very rarely.

At the supermarket 

Start getting dinner bargains

I'm  always on the look out for specials

Party Drinks
Paper Tablecloths
Disposable Plates
Cheeses ( dates have to last till Xmas )
Pates ( again dates have to last well after Xmas)
Xmas Biscuits
Presents Ideas

Anything that you see, that will save you on the big day is a massive savings, keeps lists of what you have pre brought so you do not double up.

Decorating the house the family way

Decorations made with love are the best kind, sure we can go to the shop and spend $100.00 on decorations if we chose too, or if we could, but there is nothing nicer than knowing that all the decorations were made with love.

Making  Your Own Christmas Decorations

Pretty Pinecones


Dip pinecones in gold paint (either partially or all of the way) or use a mixture of water, glue, and glitter for a sparkling effect.
Place on side tables or use to fill baskets and bowls.
The little baby pinecones look really sweet in baskets around the house as well.

Dream of Sugarplums

For a fast, sweet decoration, put out bowls of holiday candy in pretty, stemmed glassware.
Look around the Salvation Army shops of 2nd hand shops and find some really pretty display glasses
if you want to leave them out for longer than one day get sweets that are wrapped.

Homemade Doorknobs

Deck the doorknobs with jolly kid-made bells.

It's a great activity for days when it's too wet or chilly to play outside and -- between your craft bin and the refrigerator -- you probably have all the supplies on hand:an egg carton, paint, glitter, glue, and yarn.

Egg carton
Acrylic poster paint
Embroidery needle
Jingle bells

Step 1
Cut the cone-shape pieces that separate the eggs out of a cardboard carton (one egg carton will produce five bells). 

Step 2
Paint each divider, using acrylic or poster paint. Let dry; apply glue along the edge of the divider, all over the outside, or wherever you like, and sprinkle with glitter. 
Step 3 
Thread an embroidery needle with yarn, poke a hole through a bell's crown, and pull yarn through partway. For a clapper, slip a jingle bell onto the end of the yarn; tie a knot above the jingle bell. Tie several bells around a doorknob, staggering the lengths of the yarn. 

Salt Dough Initials

Salt Dough Trees:

Using the same salt dough as above, but colour it green, then roll out make tree shapes and poke a hole for the ribbon then bake following instructions above.

The recipe involves lots of gloopy (PVA) glue drizzled over the cooked, cooled shapes, then smothered in glitter, sequins, pom poms and any other small paraphernalia you can find!
Shake off any excess glitter 

The finished, delightful, ornaments!
Hanging up by their strings, waiting for the tree!

Crepe Paper Streamers

Now days you can get all different colours of crepe paper and balloons so you can theme your lounge into wonderful colours and really give it that festive feel..
Just cut  the crepe paper wad into about 8 pieces lengthwise,and then sellotape one end to the wall or ceiling and twist and unwind then once you get to the other end of the room sellotape that to the wall or ceiling and secure it

Fruit Pomanders

Although these are very time consuming to make the smell they give off is amazing

You will need

Whole Cloves

Decide on a pattern and work the cloves into the skin of the orange  do it over a plate or towels as the juice may leak out.

Once you have your clove design tie a ribbon around the orange and either hang it someone to permeate or place in bowls somewhere close to where people sit, so they get that Christmas feel.

Pre Planning Who Will Be There
It always good to know ahead of time how many you will be expecting, so try emailing or phoning and get numbers in, not just for the food side of it, but everyone at my place on Christmas Day gets a gift, so I can be on top of the list rather than get a surprise on the day
If you have a Christmas Dinner where family and friends bring a plate, co-ordinate it so that you can phone ahead and ask if they have a preference for what the bring, that way your full menu can be planned just from making a few calls and it spreads the costs evenly and doesn't just let one person cover the bill.

Everyone has different skills, so utilise those skills

My teenage nieces love doing the desserts, so that's cool, it saves me having to do them, so I can focus on something else, they purchase the ingredients and make them up, and that is their families contribution.
My sister cooks the chicken  so once again she buys the chicken and cooks them, and brings them down covered in tinfoil, ready to go in the warmer drawer.
We do have some booze, but mostly you bring what you drink, so that way, you don't have to buy stuff you may never touch again till next year, and believe me even beer has an expiry date, so I found out.

With lots of people come the seating woo's, so when you know your numbers add 4 ( for just in cases) and then go about hiring chairs or borrowing off friends and family, so you can make sure everyone has a seat at the table.

Christmas Day is not always fine, so always have a backup plan.

Depending on numbers attending it may be beneficial to host Christmas somewhere people friendly than the average house, you may chose to go to a restaurant or another venue that totally caters for Christmas Dinner, I guess it all depends on your budget.
Maybe hiring a big tent or marque is the way to go.

Of course with lots of people comes the use of the very important room, so pre plan it may be beneficial to hire some portable toilets, and showers if people are staying over, and also gather bedding from friends and family, or request those that are staying over bring there own bedding

Lots of people
Lots of people, means lots of people to keep occupied, and you do not want them inside, so keep them occupied we have a Christmas Day Sports bag, it has softball bat, tennis balls, cricket bat, softball mitts, rugby ball, woosh ball, and lots of  old family board games and cards.
Of course after Christmas this bag needs to be checked to make sure nothing needs replacing, and that games have been put back together properly and I normally rubber band them so no parts can escape.

Rubbish Bins
Plenty of rubbish bins and rubbish bags need to be scattered around as there is one you can guarantee with a lot of people there will always be rubbish.
And the less you have to pick up the better.

Glad wrap & Serviettes, Plastic Knifes , Spoons and Forks
Make sure you have plenty of these items, we have a family kit, that has loads of real knifes, forks and spoons and also a plastic tub with tea towels, so that dishes can be done outside, and after each meal all utensils go in there and they can get dealt too outside away from the house.
Paper plates get chucked so it a minimal clean up mess.

Have you noticed that everything now days needs a battery, so look clearly at labels and see what you will need on hand on Christmas Day, and always keep some spare, for those children visiting that open a toy and then are upset because it can't be played with.


Although it is only one day it is a very special day and by being orginised it makes it a lot easier to manage.