I used to plan Christmas down to the very last detail, I'd have a timetable for the actual day for the cooking so I knew exactly when to prepare food or put it in the oven or on the hob. Trips out and activities over the holiday season where planned well in advance. I'd sort out the clothes that we would be wearing in advance and even plan the weeks tv viewing so as not to miss anything good. (I'm going back to the days before On Demand or Catch Up television)
You see, as a child our Christmas' were always pure magic. My mum was a planner as well, little notes around the house everywhere. Food bought weeks in advance and stacked at the back of a kitchen cupboard. Nan would come to stay on Christmas eve and help with all the cooking. Then on boxing day our house would be filled all day with aunts and uncles and cousins.
But, I was a child, Christmas is always magic when you are a child, you blank out any arguments that may occur, or relatives that may have had a little too much to drink. You don't see the stress behind the scenes, the panic when the gravy goes wrong or the turkey isn't cooked on time. You forget about the arguments over who wants to watch what on TV.
I learned long ago that Christmas never goes to plan. I could tell you some stories of woe, of how things went terribly wrong. I've had a few Christmas' go that way. It doesn't matter how many lists you make, or how many plans you have you have to be prepared for mishaps along the way. Christmas is a stressful time for some, particularly parents. We say Christmas is for the kids and do our best to make it special for them, while at the same time running ourselves into the ground. Then after the Big Day, we feel deflated, worn out and broke...was it worth it?
Of course it was, and next year we do it all again because that is Christmas.
I've always wondered what it would be like to go on holiday at Christmas time, have someone else do all the cooking and entertaining. It's not really me though because secretly I strive on the stress. It's not Christmas if I haven't gained a few extra grey hairs, it's not Christmas if it's not at home with my family around me, doing what I can to make them happy, even if I don't get it right all the time.
So believe it or not, especially after reading this, I do love Christmas. I love the build up before hand, the manic Christmas shopping, the ads on tv, the Christmas films, old and new. I love making my Christmas cake weeks before and feeding it with brandy every week, then covering it with marzipan and icing and decorating it even though I'm the only member of my family that really likes eating it. I love turkey and brussells sprouts, Clementines and figs, Egg Nog and Baileys. I love Christmas trees and fairy lights, Christmas fayres and reindeers. There is nothing more magic than waking up on Christmas morning to the excitement of children when they see that Santa has been.
I love church at Christmas time, singing carols, kristingle, seeing the children take part in the Nativity play.
I don't plan Christmas down to the last detail any more. That doesn't mean that I don't plan it all, I just keep a more realistic view on it all. Things can and probably will go wrong but there is still a lot to fit in so a few lists are necessary, after all I wouldn't want to forget that special present that one of my littlies has been asking for since September!
So I write lists for present, food shopping, Christmas cards, decorations I might need after last years fell apart (must remember new lights for the tree this year, mine died on boxing day and wouldn't come back to life)
I write a menu for Christmas day to make sure I don't miss out on any of all that lovely food, most of which is total indulgence and completely unnecessary, but if you can't pig out at Christmas when can you?
I decide whether or not I'm going to entertain, and if I am I send out invites nice and early because people tend to get booked up quickly over the holiday season.
Most of all, my plan is to enjoy myself, and if the workload gets too much then I'm going to delegate or say that's enough. A tired overworked mummy is no use to anyone.
Do you plan Christmas to the last detail or go with the flow?