Help me plan christmas - I really need your input ladies I´m totally stuck with a unuasal problem!

(44 Posts)
inneedofrain Sun 08-Sep-13 13:27:17

Hi All

Ok here goes, the first thing I must make very very very clear is that we have to WORK all over christmas, without outing my self think of something a bit like a hotel, December is a very busy month for us work wise and it is total chaos in trying to keep dd entertained when she is not at school and let us all have some christmas fun

Next thing is that I absolutely LOVE christmas.

Ok we have one DD(6) and she loves christmas too, But couple of years have been a bit of a nightmare and I am thinking of changing somethings around this year.

Ok still not sure if I am going to do the christmas elf for december,
In the month of December we do the following.
Advent calender which each day gives dd a piece to decorate the advent tree, She gets two little gifts on the 6th December and the 24th

Santa sends DD a letter in reply to her letter,

22nd and 23rd we do Christmas craft bits, eg last year we made a christmas bag for the renideer food, we make paper chains, christmas laterns, Christmas decorations etc. This year I think we are making a santa stop here sign!

24th, in the morning Miss Claus sends DD a letter asking her to make reindeer food with a hamper and all the bits, and Rodoplh asks DD to make him and the other reindeer a runway. We normally make something for Santa to eat (last year it was a giner bread house) at some point during the day we get a video message from Santa for DD.

The eveing of the 24th We (Dh and I) give DD a christmas eve hamper, normally contains, christmas towel and flannel (bought in bulk a couple of years ago) Hot Chocolate and a Christmas Mug, Christmas Pjs, A christmas DVD and blanket, and the book A night befor Christmas and her Christmas Stocking and a small christmas soft toy. We have found this to a be sure fire way to calm her down, So she gets ready for bed, we all snuggle up under the blanket and watch DvD whilst drinking hot choc and then do the runway and the reindeer food, put stocking out and the food for santa etc and off to bed to read A night before Christmas.

So far so good, I think but if anyone has any suggestions to improve please tell me!

Ok christmas morning starts with me getting up and going to work at 4am, I am normally back up at the house by 7.30. DD will come downstairs in her PJ´s and dressing gown and we do her stocking, WHICH will contain Christmas Clothes and hair stuff (gets her dressed easily with no problems) and other little bits etc.

By 8:30am we (dh and I) have to go back to work, so DD has a extra thing from Santa, he leaves her a treasure hunt little presents scatered all over the house with clues to the next one, DD does this will Granny and normally buys us and hour to a hour and ahalf, We come back up for about 10ish and all have christmas breakfast (NOTE DD will have had a snacky breakfast if she wants one whilst she does her treasure hunt)

Now something around 11am we start opening presents, we tend to do this in stages (as we have to go back to work often through the day) This is where the problems start! We have very little family but lots of friends and DD gets very very hyper at opening presents, and if they are NOT intersting enough she gets upset. Ie someone bought her crafting bits which DD was not happy about as she needs help to do crafting stuff, etc (please NOTE we had great fun with them boxing day),

We don´t have a sit down christmas lunch as the nature of our work, so we tend to do a cold buffett. Last year we made the HUGE mistake of doing this as and when the grownups where hungry and not setting the table up / having it at a set time, result was DD got over excited and hungry!

This year I am thinking about setting the table up and having a proper buffett (everyone at the table etc at a fixed time) so hopefully that should break the day up? Would this work do you think???

I am also thinking about putting all the little presents DD gets from friends, DH and I, School friends etc into a lucky dip box, and Letting DD dip into on and off? Would this be a good idea?

What could I do with the larger presents? (I mean things from DVD´s to her 1 or 2 large presents) Id like to spilt them up during the day so that we all get to see her open them etc, and get to spend time with her playing with them but I can´t have a repeat of last year as both DH and My Dad get really ratty and frankly unpleasant (TO ME) when DD was hyper etc. All suggestions welcome please!!!!!!!

I would just like to say that Last year was the first time I got to see DD open her stocking etc. which made my christmas so much nicer! Also whilst I am very grateful to my parents for comming and spening christmas with us otherwise DD wouldn´t get a christmas at all, they are old and often don´t want to play with her / have a christmas nap etc whilst leaving DD to entertain her self when I´m working. DH can be difficult and has problems dealing with DD if she is not behaving perfectly (which is a whole different thread) not to mention being very very busy at work so I have a lot on my plate and I really really need some help working everything out for this year!

Thanks if you have gotten to the end of this.

2cats2many Sun 08-Sep-13 13:37:58

God, that sounds like an absolute nightmare!

So, let me get this straight, is there a time in the day when you are finished for good or will you be working in the evening too? Is your husband around when you aren't?

Is there anyway she can get out of the house for some of the day? I.e. go to the park or something?

I think all the other grown ups in the house sound like the biggest pain. Of course your daughter is going to get excited on Christmas day. Its totally normal.

If it helps at all, this is what we do on christmas day food-wise. When the children get up and say they are hungry first thing, they have a bowl of chocolate/sweet cereral (huge treat for them). Then we have a big brunch around 11ish with whatever people want (cooked brekkie, pancakes, croissants, fruit, whatever) and then we eat Christmas dinner in the evening at about 5ish/ 6ish. This is because we all have to go out to 12 o'clock mass in the middle of the day so a big lunch is out of the question. It works well for us.

aleene Sun 08-Sep-13 13:39:08

I'm sorry but I am not really sure what you are asking. But two things jump out - your DD being upset at certain presents, that is something she will just have to learn to deal with. Part of life is accepting any present graciously. Also your Df and Dh should be supporting you and not making your life harder. Tell them this?
Your xmas plans sound very detailed and your dd is very lucky you put so much thought into Christmas.

As an aside I used to buy masses of presents until I realised my DC didn't even remember them all. I scaled it back and they enjoy xmas just as much.

inneedofrain Sun 08-Sep-13 13:52:29

Sorry Its complicated to explain! Forgive me copy and pasting questions and answers

is there a time in the day when you are finished for good or will you be working in the evening too? Is your husband around when you aren't?

Ok we finish for the evening about 2230, DD is normally in bed something around 2000. Sometimes DH is in the house if I am working but more often than not he is working with me, The exception being the early morning, which I do on my tod. I would be happy to talk to DH about him staying in the house and me doing more work solo. If you think it would help? FYI I have the working day runs like this,
4am - 7:30 ISH,
9am to 10am ish
12- 2pm ISH,
4pm to 6pm ISH,
2100 to 2230 ISH

Is there anyway she can get out of the house for some of the day? I.e. go to the park or something? No park local to us, but we could arrange to get her out for a walk or something during the day. Either Dh or I would have to stay on site thoudh

I think all the other grown ups in the house sound like the biggest pain. Of course your daughter is going to get excited on Christmas day. Its totally normal. THEY are a pain to be honest, I normally go to bed in tears in the early hours of boxing day (I´m not prone to tears btw) but its just so exhaustingly frustrating that I seems to be running between about 15 different roles during the day and I don´t get anyhelp all I want is for DD to have a lovely time.

your DD being upset at certain presents, that is something she will just have to learn to deal with. Part of life is accepting any present graciously. I totally agree and DD and had a chat at the time, she was not nasty, just hyper and hungry! She is normally a lovely gracious child last year was not one of our best christmas, hence I want to change it about a bit this year.

Also your Df and Dh should be supporting you and not making your life harder Tell them this? DH and Df would happily cancel christmas as long as they could still have all the things the like about christmas! Honeslty it has been a source of many "discussions" and even the odd row.

When the children get up and say they are hungry first thing, they have a bowl of chocolate/sweet cereral (huge treat for them). Then we have a big brunch around 11ish with whatever people want (cooked brekkie, pancakes, croissants, fruit, whatever) and then we eat Christmas dinner in the evening at about 5ish/ 6ish, this could definately work for us and might be a better idea I would have to work about with the timings but I think we could do something similar.

I´m not really sure what I am asking I just need some out side input to try and work out how to have "Christmas" and cope with the working day at the same time.

inneedofrain Sun 08-Sep-13 13:56:10

Oh sorry I forgot to say thank you very much for even trying to make sense of what I was saying and replying.

raisah Sun 08-Sep-13 14:00:53

All the above ideas sound good particularly the set dinner time of 5pm. So people know when to expect the main meal & can plan their eating through the day. Two things make people grumpy on special occasions, low blpod sugar due to irregular eating patterns and alcohol! If you can control these two things in a sensible way then things should be fine.
H
How about having a visual timetable so that your daughter can remove the tabs once an activity is over. It will help her to see & focus on events through the day and that will be an activity in itself.

Put a velcro strip on an A4 card & then stick small pictures representing each activity for the day. So as each activity is completed your dd takes the pictures off so she knows its over & can see what's coming next.
The now & next boards are used in nurseries & for SEN kids and are very helpful.

aleene Sun 08-Sep-13 14:02:28

My exH used to work Xmas day and I know it can be a strain. But you shouldn't be going to bed in tears and run ragged. My advice is stop putting so much pressure on it being a perfect day. Your DD will have a good day if you have a good day IYSWIM.

raisah Sun 08-Sep-13 14:07:22

Posted too soon.
It will help to manage your dds expectation & excitement and will help take the pressure of organising activities off your parents. Everything will have been planned for them with the expected end time of dinner at x time.

Also could you invite a friend around on day so she will have some kids to play with? It will take the pressure off your dd to behave perfectly & off your parents to entertain.

Parsnipcake Sun 08-Sep-13 14:12:15

Could you do Christmas day on another day, and either take dd to work with you - not sure what you do but could be fun for her? Or let her spend it with friend's family so she gets 2 Christmases?

kickassangel Sun 08-Sep-13 14:18:03

Do you have a garden dd could go into for a while? How much time do you have in advance to set things up? I remember having huge fun when finding my present was a treasure hunt, with clues around the garden. That would give dd some exercise, a grandparents could supervise without doing too much, and draws out the presents a bit. But it only works if you can set it up a day or two in advance, with clues in zipped up food bags so protected against the rain.

I also think that you are trying to do too muc, scale it back a bit and you will be less stressed. Any chance of a Christmas DVD to watch while the adults nap? Would dd sit quietly for that?

inneedofrain Sun 08-Sep-13 14:22:35

Oh Iike the idea of a now and next board!

My parents sadly do drink too much! They are not particularly old but are very entitled people iyswim! Neither of them is over 60!

I really don't want a perfect day I just want dd to have a nice day we spend little enough time with her anyway and we had a bad year lots of stress to deal with etc

I'm litterly run ragged over December eg dh like particular cookie last year I was still baking them at 2 am Christmas Day, dad like home made pork pie, dd mince pies, DM something else. I do all the wrapping, present buying, entertaining etc. I don't want a day off, I just want a nice day where I don't feel I have to managed everyone to stop any grumpy grown ups, upset dd etc! I'm just all out of ideas for this year of how to make it work for us, I've rven started to dread it this year.

So please keep the ideas coming!

OldRoan Sun 08-Sep-13 14:24:22

That sounds like the most stressful way to have to spend the day, OP.

I agree with what has been posted before. Could you maybe include a special Christmas Day bowl (you could buy a nice colourful one now in the post-picnic sales) and a small box of cereal in her stocking, or as a separate present, so you know she will have a big-ish breakfast but it will still seem exciting.

Does she like board games or jigsaw puzzles? A puzzle that could be spread out somewhere and done throughout the day might be a good way to occupy her, or if your parents could be persuaded to play a game that would distract her. I agree about getting her out if possible, I think that would be really helpful. A later Christmas meal would certainly make your life easier.

One of my favourite things to do before Christmas is to take the Radio Times and highlight all the festive TV we will be watching. Could you do that with her on Christmas Eve, choosing something that is on at an opportune moment - it will feel special because she has 'chosen' it in advance, but you will know she is being entertained.

derektheladyhamster Sun 08-Sep-13 14:29:39

I would try and do Christmas on another day. Are you busy on Xmas eve? That's a traditional time for presents. Then when your parents come on Xmas day your dd might be a bit calmer because the excitement of present opening is over

CaptainSweatPants Sun 08-Sep-13 14:31:09

Do you own a hotel?
Could you get staff in so at least 1 of you can have Xmas day with dd

aleene Sun 08-Sep-13 14:37:03

OP read that large paragraph in your last post again! you are doing too much and trying to please everyone. Who is trying to please you ...or even help you? if it doesn't get done, it doesn't get done. Theu are adults, tell them to lend a hand or keep quiet. You are working, which is stressful in itself I'm sure, and trying to provide a Super Day for everyone in your house. Delegate!!

Thumbwitch Sun 08-Sep-13 14:37:48

Your parents sound like an utter nightmare, tbh. Are you sure you couldn't do better without them there? They seem to ADD to the strain rather than lessen it! Would your DD be able to come to work with you now, she's a bit older this year and might be able to help a little, even. That would solve the childcare issues and reduce the strain on you.

Your DH needs to wind his neck in and do more to help and support you as well, by the way.

inneedofrain Sun 08-Sep-13 15:09:40

Ok, I´m going to try and get through all your fab suggestions!

Regretfully we aren´t in the UK so no telly, which is a bummer

DD loves Jigsaws we (DD and I) did 5 1000 jigsaws between christmas and New year last year, so that is a a definate

DD loves board games, DM and Df hate them with a passion!

We have a huge garden but over Christmas it is very regretfully out of bounds for anything even vaguely exciting (its crap really)

We don´t run a "standard" hotel but I do work with with animals. Last year I had avergage 153 animals in my care, from middle of november to mid january it is not a suitable environment for DD, she does like helping with the little bits she can though! As a comparison in a normal month I have somewhere between 80 and 120 to look after daily.

We don´t have staff, everything comes down to Me at the end of the day.

I have thought about doing Christmas on another day, but it would have to be either in NOvember or Late january. Don´t miss understand we are very grateful that we are so busy but if is such a slog.

A couple of years ago DD spent Christmas with my parents, she had a terrible time, (confirmed by a load of people)!

I was just trying to figure out if I could manage Christmas without DM and DF, or if maybe I could ask them to come up around lunch time if not? I´m actually on the brink of phoning DH best mate to see if he would be interested in coming over and spending christmas, he would atleast help entertain DD!

So far, I think we will add the special ceral for Christmas day and a new bolw etc At least that will mean dd is fed early!

Then brunch something around 11am with home made porkpie, sausgae rolls, ham etc.

I defintaly think the now and next chart is a good Idea.

Maybe a christmas walk, if I can manage it maybe I could plant a small bag of presents or something at the end of the walk? ie walk to the local neighbor (over a mile away)

say presents between 2 and 4pm?

Then main meal at 6:30ish????

Maybe board games and or DVD after meal?

Would that work you think???????

OldRoan Sun 08-Sep-13 15:13:52

<Whispers> is your DH Father Christmas?

I think your plan sounds good, and if there is any way to have someone other than your parents helping I think your stress load would be dramatically reduced.

OldRoan Sun 08-Sep-13 15:15:52

How far away is your work? Would it be possible for the walk to be for whoever is entertaining her to walk to you and you could walk back with them together? I appreciate it may not be walkable/safe/enjoyable.

inneedofrain Sun 08-Sep-13 15:25:30

Work is about 50yards from my front door! We live and work on site.

God I wish dh was father Christmas, that way I would atleast have the elves to help me.

Would I be insane to make up a pick and mix bag, that DD could help make with different activities in it, so that when I´m with her could pick something out and we could do it togther? like do a puzzle, play xyz game, whatch a DVD, make a christmas picture?

I actually dream about stealing DD out from bed in the middle of the night and spending Christmas day just the two of us in a hotel somewhere!

2anddone Sun 08-Sep-13 15:58:56

If you run an animal boarding kennel type place can you not rearrange the animals day for one day? Maybe feed first thing and last thing and exercise them in the morning and then once dd is in bed? Surely it wouldn't hurt for one day? (this is coming from a pet owner that wouldn't expect constant care on Christmas day, before I am flamed!!)

aleene Sun 08-Sep-13 17:23:04

Sorry, its me again. why does your DD need a small bag of presents at the end of a walk or a pick and mix bag of activities? Genuine question. I know you want her to have a nice day but some of this seems overboard. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh.

inneedofrain Sun 08-Sep-13 18:25:04

Sorru Aleene

It was an incomplet thought. We always exchange gifts with our neighbours but normally do it after christmas. what I was actually thinking was Dh and DD could have a walk over taking our gifts and exchange.

With regard to the bag, no dd doesn´t need one, but I tend to run out of ideas of what to do to keep her occupied quite early on in the day, I was just thinking that it might help me.

If you have never worked through christmas it much be difficult to understand but the only way I have a hope of it working well is to have plans in place.

Floralnomad Sun 08-Sep-13 18:33:09

I wouldn't go and exchange gifts with neighbours on Christmas Day ,the last thing I'd want on Christmas afternoon would be neighbours turning up ! Can your OH not just manage the animals on is own for one day and then you can stay home with your dd ,as you seem to be the only one who doesn't find her too annoying . At the end of the day she is only going to be little and do the Father Christmas thing for a few more years and you should both enjoy it . Like was said up thread if its a boarding type place you run it won't hurt the animals to play second fiddle for 1 day . I have horses on full livery but I'm quite happy to think that for 1 day they just get the bare minimum .

aleene Sun 08-Sep-13 18:34:50

Actually if you read my post at 14.02 I said my ExH used to work Christmas day (with me helping him at times). Also my father worked Xmas day every single year until he retired so I am not unsympathic to the difficulties involved.
But I still think you are doing too much, not asking for help, trying to please everyone else and you yourself admit you are dreading it. Take a step back and see what could be done differently, without adding to your work.
And yes, now you have explained about taking presents to the neighbour on a walk, that does sound like a good idea.

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