List for Christmas Future

Posted on January 1, 2011


We had a lovely and quite white Christmas and New Year. But I was left with a slight feeling of disappointment in myself under a general sub-heading of ‘Must-Try-Harder’.

I was about to write a list of things to do differently next year, but I just know I’ll lose it so here it is, preserved in cyberspace, my List for Christmas Future.

Start thinking about presents sooner

I dislike shopping so much that I try to do most of my Christmas shopping in a single hit. I really need to start thinking about things much earlier so I can choose gifts more carefully and in less of a hair pulling rage. When I say sooner, I mean like now. If I see something that someone will like, get it, or at least write it down.

Make the time to select bespoke gifts

I know lots of people who make really special things and sell them on Etsy and Folksy or on their own sites. I am so chuffed when someone carefully selects something handmade for me I want to make sure I do the same when I can.

Get gifts for Ern’s friends

This is not something that I ever imagined would be on our to-do list, but Ernie got some lovely cards and presents from his canine pals and I want to make sure he returns the favour.

Get a Cheesy Christmas CD

Even though we don’t have one, it seems imperative in my mind to have a Christmas Carol CD playing when we put the tree up, or when we have people round for drinks. I need to buy one in the sales to play next year.

Someone will get ill

This year I was prepared for this one and stocked up on pharmaceuticals to cover all eventualities. One or all of us will usually be quite ill over the break. The boy spent this New Years Eve throwing up (a sign of New Year’s Future?) and I was poorly next day, unfortunately it was not due to alcohol, because in all the kerfuffle I never touched a drop.

Don’t put the tree up whilst in a grump

For reasons unknown I was in a bad mood when we put up our tree and decorations this Christmas. Not only did it show, as I only put up half the decorations I usually do, but it is supposed to be a fun time with the boy. I want to make his Christmas memories good ones, not ones where Mummy is shouting at the ‘stupid frickin tangled fairy lights’ or wondering if she can have a 2nd sherry at 3pm.

Get a real tree

I flip between thinking its a big waste of time, resources…and trees, and thinking its the only proper option. We have used the artificial tree for the last couple of years and I think next year we should go natural. A massive fat tree that won’t even fit through the door.

Buy good wrapping paper

I don’t mean really fancy stuff, but packs of 3 for 2 from Paperchase that is sturdy and good at folding and sticking. Oh, and lots of ribbon too.

Buy gift tags

You will NOT get around to making your own. Even if you do you won’t know how to stick them on. Writing the names on with a Sharpie Marker for the last 2 years was just lazy (see photo above) even if you did stretch to a silver Sharpie this year.

You won’t make a wreath from scratch

Do what you did this year and buy a lovely lush green one for £7 then add fancy pants seasonal things that make it look homemade. Oh, and make sure you have florists wire and new sticks for the glue gun, plus lots of red ribbon (for some reason you will need at least 5m to get it round the door).

You WILL need more fairy lights in 2011

I know you are sure that you have more fairy lights than this and will ask where have they all gone? The ones you put on the tree have pretty much had it. You will spend 2 hours untangling them and then re-tightening every bulb as they flicker on and off. You DO NOT HAVE any outdoor lights left, they died of death several years ago. You will need to buy some more, but Ed will still not want to spend the best part of an afternoon up a ladder in the rain attaching them to the house. Think of somewhere else to stick them.

“Think of somewhere else to stick ’em”

When the ground is not frozen, in the Summer perhaps, plant some sort of fir tree in the front garden. That way you can wang you tree lights on that instead of trying to illuminate the house. Or stick some random illuminated deer out front to amuse the neighbours.

Either make stuff…or don’t

Every year I have intentions of making lovely homemade items, and sometimes I do manage it. I am not sure how much people really want chutney or cheese straws or pickled shallots, but they sometimes get them in a homemade hamper. Mostly I save bottles for some fabled homemade vanilla essence but then forget to order the vanilla pods in bulk, or all the vodka gets drunk. I need to either do it, or shut up about it.

Accept Santa

George will go on telling us that he believes there is a Santa, until we stop filling his stocking and eating the mince pie. I am pretty sure he knows that it is all a big lie, but he daren’t let on, just in case it isn’t. He certainly isn’t going to start questioning it in December. So accept that you will need to ‘bite the carrot’ and drink the sherry until you just tell him the truth.

Invite friends round for lunch more

Not necessarily Christmas Day Lunch, but having people around for lunch over the holidays is nice. They can bring their kids, so we don’t all need babysitters, we get to eat and chat together much more than if we tried to go out for an evening. It’s all a bit grown up, but I guess we are now too.

Take a Day off together

Taking a day off together before Christmas is a very nice luxury if we can fit it in. Either having a leisurely Christmas shop with lunch thrown in or, as we did this year, having a day at a Spa. It got the whole holiday off to a good relaxing start and provided a good divide between Ed’s hectic work life and 2 quiet weeks at home.

Embrace the leftovers

But only save the things that you will really use.

Some things are worth cooking…

…some things aren’t.

DO make your own mince pies, pastry, Christmas pudding (use Domestic Jules Recipe but leave out citrus peel and currants and add a spoonful of cocoa), brandy butter, sausage rolls (by Ed) and trifle. Question: Why did I not make trifle this year? I bought a new trifle dish and everything.

DON’T bother making mince meat, Christmas Cake (unless you make those little ones like Grandma did) Note: Get the mini cake recipe from grandma Wendy.

Also, one of the two Christmas puddings that the recipe makes is enough for us for 2 ‘sessions’, so you can donate one to a friend. Hands up anyone?

Make new memories

We have had all sorts of festive escapades in the past, like taken George on the Santa Special Steam Train, or gone to Center Parcs Winter Wonderland, or just done daft things and taken photographs (say no more). Make sure we make some fun memories each year.

I am sure there are lots of other things that I will add to this list as I think of them, but that will do for now.

Here’s looking forward to a fabulous Christmas 2011.

Posted in: Claire, House, The Suttons