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27 December 2009 @ 10:18 am
An Organised Christmas  
This year, following a random link from neadods, I have followed the Organised Christmas: Houseworks Holiday Plan.

Well, I say, followed but I rapidly concluded that the people the website was aimed at had considerably more free time, and less need of a plan for organisation than I did. My favourite bit of entirely ignored advice was the suggestion that you make a decoration plan for each room of the house, not just for Christmas, but for your Autumn Theme house decoration and your Halloween Theme house decoration and so forth.

Anyway the tips that were definitely worth following, for my future reference and in case anyone is interested, were:

1) Pick one small housework/preparation thing to do each day. I think my "small things" were rather smaller than they imagined (nothing got "deep cleaned") and I've concluded that on the days when I commute I don't have the energy for this kind of thing, but it did help get on top of the tidying and other preparations.

2) Wrap presents as they arrive in the house.

3) Divide the Christmas Card list into sections and write one section per week through October and November.

4) Some time in October deploy the phrase "let's clear out any toys you no longer want to make room for Christmas presents".

Additional tips arising from my experience this year:

1) Work on the assumption that family will not bring any of the food they've said they would bring and will, instead, bring strawberries, pancake mix, and duplicate perishable items (such as salad leaves).

2) They will expect to be able to make pancakes on Christmas morning while you are trying to stuff the turkey. They will also expect to be able to make custard for the strawberries just as you get to the point where the cooker is overloaded with gravy and bread sauce, and you are rushing backwards and forwards basting the turkey every 10 minutes (as per Delia's instructions) and juggling the various foods that need to baked or roasted. Possibly instigate a rule that you are the only person allowed in the kitchen on Christmas day?

3) Make sure you have back up supplies of anything (such as chestnuts) which it may be hard to source on Christmas Eve, and which you were expecting family to provide.

4) Also assume that not everyone who says they are coming, will come, nor will they arrive and leave on the dates stated. Be prepared therefore with plans for consuming the vast excess of food acquired as a result.

5) Children drink more Pepsi Cola than you think they do.

6) Alternatively, go visit family for Christmas.

NB. We had a lovely Christmas, and though I'm complaining about our families' joint ability to mess up our plans it was, in fact great to have a house full of people just generally having a good time... and I did manage to persuade them to delay the pancake making until Boxing Day so the kitchen was marginally less chaotic at 8am on Christmas morning than it threatened to be.
bunn: Berriesbunn on December 27th, 2009 07:24 pm (UTC)
Strawberries at Christmas - with CUSTARD? Good grief.
louisedennis: Christmaslouisedennis on December 28th, 2009 10:15 am (UTC)

I get that not everyone likes Christmas Pudding. But we'd had a whole baking session on Christmas Eve where the children made themselves muffins and carrot cake to eat on Christmas day - so I was a little non-plussed when they all got left in the tin and out came the strawberries!
MysteriousAliWaysmysteriousaliwz on December 28th, 2009 12:55 am (UTC)
Bravo for surviving Christmas despite the best efforts of your family!

I've managed to avoid ever having to cook Christmas dinner, by means of travelling 1200 miles every Christmas/New Year to spend it with the in-laws and my folks. It's a lot of driving but I don;t have to wrestle with a turkey :)

Strawberries and cuatard?? *winces*
louisedennis: Christmaslouisedennis on December 28th, 2009 11:37 am (UTC)
I quite enjoy cooking Christmas dinner - it's not really a fiddly meal you just need plenty of space and with the best will in the world when four people are trying to use the cooker at once (I forgot that my Brother-in-law suddenly decided the parsnips needed to be par-boiled in honey) you don't have that much space.

Strawberries and custard, yes. More Christmas pudding for me though...
(Deleted comment)
louisedennis: Christmaslouisedennis on December 28th, 2009 11:38 am (UTC)
commanderian thought I was mad when I started it. I think a lot of that organisation plan as make work, but some things were good to get out of the way in small batches - that helped a lot.
Kargicqkargicq on December 28th, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
3) Divide the Christmas Card list into sections and write one section per week through October and November.

I like this idea -- that would make one card per week!
louisedennis: Christmaslouisedennis on December 28th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
It must be said that when I read your post mentioning how you managed Christmas cards I had a look at our list thoughtfully. Unfortunately we appear to know a lot of luddites...