Before it gets away, I thought I'd record the things that worked this year, and the things that didn't. I hope that I can be better prepared next year (I hope that every year!) so the holidays will run more smoothly. This year I had more time than usual to work on gifts, and I really liked being able to make so many gifts for friends and family. I think they were well received, and if not my family is very good at pretending!
Win: Gift wrap packages as gifts for teachers, club leaders, etc. I had one person thank me on several different occasions for the gift of gift wrap, tags, ribbon, and decorations to tie on to the packages. I loved creating the gift tags, and I am very happy to give a gift that won't be clutter for anyone else. Best of all, it is consumable, so I can make these up again next year, and it will still be useful!
Lose: I need better boxes (or something) for giving cookies to our neighbors. I used one-pound strawberry boxes, but I'm not happy with how that turned out. I need something better for next year. Hopefully it will something cheap and reusable or upcycled. I haven't received any returned tins or plates in recent years, and I avoid disposables and plastic wrap, so I will need to get creative. Fortunately I have plenty of time.
Win: We cut a tree from the back yard. It is very natural looking, but I like the way it displays the ornaments. I like the bead garland we have that loops from branch to branch. I especially like how we used a tree that was growing too close to the house, so it would have to be cut down anyway, and this way no tree was wasted.
Lose: I need an old-fashioned Christmas Eve church service. We tried another service this year, and I was disappointed without the traditional carols.
Draw: Playing charades with my parents Christmas night, after dinner and after the gifts had been opened, was definitely a win. I need to organize this a little better next time, to make sure both my parents and my kids know the words to guess. My parents knew "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," but didn't know "The Bridge to Terabithia." (BTW, for fun, try to act that out to people who have never read/seen it. Sounds like...tear!) If I make charade slips months in advance I should forget everything by Christmas morning.
Lose: Forgetting certain stocking stuffers until the week of Christmas. Running to the store at 9:00 at night to pick up crackers is no fun. I need to get them now, on clearance, or early next season.
Win: I stuck to what the kids asked for on their Christmas list, for the most part. I felt that I didn't get them enough, but Christmas morning they were excited and grateful for what they got, and excited about what they gave. I didn't need to overwhelm them with a lot of gifts just for the sake of having a lot. Not having clutter and guilt is definitely better than spending $50 last minute for Star Wars ships that my son never asked for, doesn't know about and never will miss.
I hope your holidays are more win than lose this year. I hope next year is even better and more peaceful.