Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Christmas...How Are Your Plans Coming?

    I have been meaning to talk about this.

Often we've gone  elsewhere for the holiday. At least the first part of December. This year, though, because of still continuing to clean up the house, we'll stay put. No lazing around on warm sandy beaches, or sandy hotel rooms, for that matter. But we'll love watching holiday movies, and puttering around.
     There still are things to be planned for, like the Seven Fish Dishes.  We'll have them for Christmas dinner this year, instead of going nuts on Christmas Eve. Which probably means that we won't see our kids until Christmas Day, either. In past years, they may have (or not) slept over. I feel a little sad about this...but am looking forward to the glorious double possibility of going to bed on Christmas Eve at a reasonable hour, AND sleeping in on Christmas Day.

     A lot of money has gone for bathroom renovation this year, so presents won't be lavish. But I continue to do what I always do:

     *Look for discounts and closeouts - like this outhouse Christmas stocking, from Leanin' Tree.

oh my.

     *Check for new and barely-used items at the thrift shop. I've found everything there, from a blender still in the box to a cashmere sweater, with the tags still on.

     *Follow sites (like Moneysaving Mom) that regularly advertise Amazon and other website specials.

     *Request free samples, and look for freebies for Christmas stockings. King Soopers/Kroger's free Friday product downloads are perfect for this. (Last week's was a package of Trident gum.)

     *Stockpile foods I'll need -- like pecans (for Thanksgiving pie) and oysters (for the Fish Dishes). If they're on sale, and there's space in the freezer, they go into the cart.

     *Start thinking and planning for presents to make, particularly food gifts.
            Handmade presents may take time, but they're worth it, even if you can only get one completed this season. (Don't beat yourself up about it, either. One is good!)

We've also started a new tradition: if we come across a screaming bargain, we may well give it now, and do it in multiples, if it's something a lot of people would like.
     Case in point: Amazon recently had a heck of a deal on nut/dried fruit trays. Both girlies and Son #1, plus The Mama, got that present now, so they can enjoy it. I figure that fewer presents at Christmas will make less impact than a nice one now.

     You can certainly help yourself with planning sheets and deadlines. I've done this long enough, though, that I know what my family likes. Besides, winging it gives you freedom to change -- like switching to smoked salmon, when you find it at 75% off. Things like that.

     I'm considering some British customs this year.  Christmas cake, iced with marzipan, and mince pies sound wonderful, and I haven't made a Christmas pudding for ages.
     Aged eggnog sounds interesting, too. Did you know you can make it now, keep it mellowing until New Year's...and it's thicker and richer that way? If you're worried about bacteria, there's a second way that minimizes that danger, as well.
     We've got lots of eggs, thanks to a great sale. (No thanks to our chickies, who are only laying an egg every other day -- if they feel like it.) Maybe aged eggnog is in our future... and refrigerator.

     Start something now, and your Christmas celebrations will be that much more relaxed.

Another great idea -- a minimalist Christmas village -- from The Nester

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