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Christmas 2014 - our first 'proper' Christmas!(6 Posts)
This is my first post although I'm an old member with a new account because I cant remember my old details.
I am very excited for Christmas 2014. In fact, I have only rejoined mumsnet for this forum! Previously, we have spent Christmas day split between both sets of parents. At the in laws with all of DH's family from 6am - 1ish, then on to my parents for dinner until late. When it was just the two of us this arrangement was perfect, but since we have had DD I feel like it is all a bit much. Last year our DD was 2 1/2 years old and I felt like we had to rush through 'santa' in the morning to get to MIL's and do their Christmas traditions, then rush on to my parents to do dinner my parents way. Both sets of parents did stockings and bought piles of presents for DD even though we asked them not to buy too much as we wanted the 'Santa' presents to be special. Obviously, we didn't say anything because we didn't want to be ungrateful, but it was a little upsetting that 'Santa' visited three houses for DD, and had left far more stuff at the grandparents house than he did at home! Both sets of grandparents took over a bit to be honest and everything was so rushed. We ended up getting home and just collapsing. I was so excited in the run up but felt like it was a massive anti-climax.
This year, we have decided to have Christmas at home, but will be inviting my parents for Christmas dinner. A few months ago DH suggested in a joky way to his family that we might invite them for Christmas dinner at our house but DH's sisters got quite upset as they didn't want to give up their tradition of going back to their parents house. Therefore, we decided not to rock the boat and instead we will be popping up to MIL's for an hour mid-morning on Christmas day, and then having my parents come to us for lunch. That way DD will be able to spend most of the day at home with her toys but both sets of grandparents will get to see her open presents.
So, after that huge back story (sorry) I would love to hear any tips people have for:
*hosting the perfect Christmas dinner
*making the day magical for kids
*home made gifts
If you can point me in the direction of any threads that help with the above I would be very grateful.
Sorry for the long thread.
In terms of the dinner, do as much of the cooking as you can in advance. I cook my turkey on Xmas eve and carve it up, reheating it in gravy. Veg can be prepped and kept in water etc.
Christmas is about spending time with family, not cooking. Also, remember it's just one day, so manage your expectation.
Same about pre preparing. I made and froze a lot. Cranberry sauce, fresh stuffing balls, braised red cabbage, buttered leeks, potatoes pre boiled and frozen (ready to roast from frozen). But gravy from m&s - saves a lot of hassle. Tom kerridge does a good carrot recipe where you cook them the day before and warm them on the day .
Bread sauce make a day ahead .
On the day I put the turkey in and do a lot of warming up .
I also lay everything out on a separate table so people can help themselves.
We always have Christmas Day at home, even before having children. We used to have a bug family gathering, I would cook for everyone and our guests would stay over.
Now, with having children no one stays over and the number if people we have for lunch has greatly reduced due to various reasons. This year I'm contemplating a Christmas Day just the 4 of us. I find when we have guests we always end up rushing through breakfast and present opening just to get ready for our guests arriving and it would be nice for one year just to relax and go with the flow, my only worry is it wouldn't seem as special to the kiddies and would seem like any other day once presents had been opened.
In terms of food prep I do everything in advance, make and freeze Yorkshire puds (yes, we have these with Xmas dinner, we love them haha) freeze stuffing, par boil roasties and freeze them. I also make desserts that can be made s day or so before then be chilled in the fridge or frozen. I make 2 or 3 nice desserts and that means we have left overs for guests on Boxing Day etc.too
Thanks. I hadn't realised just how much you can make and freeze in advance so will definitely be doing that. I think I'm going to have a trial run before the big day anyway! Not quite sure how the in laws are going to react when we tell them we aren't coming up for the whole morning. MIL always cries when we leave before Christmas dinner as it is, and we have usually been there since 6 am! I think I'll wait for them to bring it up. I'm looking forward to having more time to watch DD open her presents and then actually play with them, rather than scoop her up and into the car to go from one house to another. MIL usually insists on having our gifts from extended family at her house too because she likes to make huge piles for everyone. This year we are going to put them under our tree so that when we get the their house we can just spend an hour or so with them. Other wise we will end up being there for hours because they open presents one at a time and there are 8 people so it takes ages. My parents aren't coming until 3 pm so even with a visit to the in laws it should give us plenty of family time. Family politics makes planning 5 months ahead essential! Haha!
Try to do as much food prep in advance. I cook turkey crown day before too and slice it up, peel veg, make stuffing, soup etc.
Try to be realistic - don't aim for perfect. I've learned this after many years! You will forget sprouts or burn stuffing or get a bit too tipsy, but it won't be end of the world!!
My biggest problem is I try to cram too many activities and traditions which ends with dc being over excited and stressed. Keep it simple with little ones! Last year ds who was just about to turn 2 had a complete melt down on Christmas Day - far too many presents, people, too much visiting for him. So this year people can come to us and I am cutting back on the Santa presents.
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