What were the mistakes you made last year? Or, this year I will not...

(68 Posts)
LokiBear Fri 25-Jul-14 10:45:21

I love a bargain. But last year I ended up spending more because I bought things because they were cheap and then ended spending again because I wasn't sure if the cheap present was enough or right for the person. This year, I am going to think more carefully about the presents I buy for other people. For DH'S family I am sticking to getting something from the list they write. I also gave in to 'the twitch' for DH'S presents because her grandparents went mad and I felt pressured to compete. Not doing that either! Anyone else?

amyhamster Fri 25-Jul-14 10:48:22

I'm going to leave it until December
I overspend if I start early & there's often savings in December - and amazon is on time delivering smile

IsItMeOr Fri 25-Jul-14 10:55:04

This year I will try not to feel in the least bit guilty about only engaging with wider family to the extent that DH and I feel we can manage without completely exhausting ourselves, physically and emotionally.

DS may have a diagnosis of ASD by then, which should help GPs to understand a bit better why we're avoiding them, as the excitement of Christmas just seemed to overwhelm DS (now 5yo) the last couple of years, and it was hellish even without seeing GPs/mine and DH sibs and families for long last year.

I do buy early but that's because I like to buy the little things like stocking gifts and kitchen stuff when I see them, rather than "Oh I've got too many bags/ CBA going back to the car to dump these/can't be bothered queuing"

Mistakes I made (not just last year)

Don't expect the DC (especially 14.6 yo DS) to appreciate Kew Gardens Lighted Walk in the pouring rain. He didn't.

Don't make elaborate breakfasts, they (DH included) don't want them

Don't expect them to sit through a three course meal. For many years we've done a late afternoon dinner (when it's dark) but only one course

No-one eats Christmas Pudding. They'll eat a syrup steamed pudding (so I have my chance to use my Portmerion Holly & Ivy pudding basin and jug)

No-one eats Christmas Cake on Christmas Day. Start eating it a few days before (marzipan/iced) and keep the plain one to eat with cheese.

The DC love the Christmas Eve Hamper and the Stockings ( it's a tradition) but really, they want vouchers/cash. (DS saves his. DD likes a clothes spree)

And most important (for me) it's all about relaxing with my family. I plan, write lists, read the magazines. That's part of the build up and the planning for me. The DC and DH go hmm but that's up to them.
I love my lists grin

chanie44 Fri 25-Jul-14 12:52:55

Don't buy the children too much as they will get loads from family.

Clear out all unwanted/broken toys, clothes, crap etc in November.

Bargains are great, but only if it's something the recipient will appreciate.

Sellotape.

chanie44 Fri 25-Jul-14 12:52:55

Don't buy the children too much as they will get loads from family.

Clear out all unwanted/broken toys, clothes, crap etc in November.

Bargains are great, but only if it's something the recipient will appreciate.

Sellotape.

Picklepest Fri 25-Jul-14 13:13:27

Have Christmas in our own. We moved 3times in 12 mths. Dh and I wanted to be left alone with kids. We thought it would be fun.

Turns out it was shit stressful and we were both at loggerheads til Boxing Day. Organising breakfast meant dh missed presents opened. Controlling yr old meant 3yr old was rampant. The whole day was one f up to another as not enough hands on deck. A couple of extra people would have diffused and redirected and helped.

Both sets of gps were told we are hosting again this year and we were very apologetic in explaining why. Both sides laughed said told you so and are coming. Thank god.

Picklepest Fri 25-Jul-14 13:17:02

I'm also with anyhamster, I ain't buying til dec (unless tiny stuff) as massive pre Xmas sales meant I missed out on loads of savings being 'organised'

LokiBear Fri 25-Jul-14 13:42:40

That is true about the pre - Christmas sales. I have bought 4 presents so far. A toy pick and mix shelf to go with the wooden shop that DH is making for DD, A game for my niece, some Lego bits for my nephew and a family game for Christmas day from Santa. All were on sale and all will be wanted. This year I'm writing lists to be organised but only buying early if it is in the sale. If not, I'll wait until the pre - Christmas sales before buying. It's the list writing bit that I love anyway! Oh, and the wrapping!

TheOnlyPink Fri 25-Jul-14 15:56:41

Mine is opening the Christmas treats. I didn't open ours until Christmas eve and it felt silly to keep the nice things until then as we have big meals. So this year will start opening tins etc the week leading up to Christmas.

Another is leaving all the toys downstairs when the relatives come. While we were busy in the kitchen, every box was opened and toys were everywhere. I will leave a select few out and the rest are being put away until boxing day!

chanie44 Fri 25-Jul-14 18:52:17

Theonlypink, I did the same, I saved my Xmas treats until Xmas eve and then couldn't enjoy them.

Littleturkish Tue 05-Aug-14 07:38:00

Wrapping paper! I always run out and it's always a rush! Not this year- I'm getting organised NOW!

pukkabo Tue 05-Aug-14 08:48:50

Don't buy DC too many presents incase family decide to go bonkers again and buy loads like last year. It was horrible, they were totally overwhelmed and it was such a waste because most presents have gone unused.

Don't buy an eight foot tree, way too big for this house- was a total Lampoons moment grin. Stick to a seven foot.

Don't bother with the local 'carol singing followed by candlelight walk'. It was rubbish. Dark and cold, DC hated it, nobody brought candles and there was no actual carol singers- we just all stood around singing a list of carols except most people didn't sing. Awks.

Don't bake three cakes just for Christmas Day. Total waste. No way we could eat them all, I hate food wastage and there was a fair bit last year.

I think that's it. Last Christmas was the most successful so far.

WafflesandWhippedCream Tue 05-Aug-14 09:00:35

We are spending Christmas with family abroad - we did last year too.

This year I am not bringing any presents with us (for DC/DH, I will bring presents for relatives) - small stockings only and pantomime tickets wrapped up under the tree. Because they will get showered with gifts from extended family and I won't be able to fit everything in the suitcase on the way back. Last year we had to buy an extra suitcase to get everything home!

Nerf Tue 05-Aug-14 09:02:37

70 - the kew walk was expensive and crap. With you there.
We bought loads of Xmas themed food, but tbh were left with uneaten tins of biscuits and Xmas cake.
This year I will just get Pringles and chocolates and profiteroles for pudding.
Will try to see friends at some point on Xmas Eve and book the panto early.

wellnowthenmardybum Tue 05-Aug-14 10:28:19

My lovengly prepared christmas cake will be shunned it favour of cadburys £2.00 chocolate puddings

andsmile Tue 05-Aug-14 11:17:44

Too much too early. Including trees - couldn wait to ge them down, as fed up of them. Booked too much to do in run up then lazed about for two weeks.

Changed it for this year - booked Center Parcs, first time away at Christmas. It means we can take DM. So I'm viewing it as a neat packaged Christmas - all food will be delivered there for one week. Sticking to normal menus until then hence not wasting money and food and over eating. All acitivites are booked already and that is it. Not doing anything else unless it is free or part of end of school stuff.

I hope this i wil stop that slow build up snowball affect that you then relaise you peak too early and thats it done and feel a bit flat by xmas day IYKWIM.

Buying less toys - part of a minimal thing and more relaisitic with what they play with. It has to be packed into car so needs to be kept minimal too. Ive already started to think about this - in fact will be doing a list soon to start shopping from so I can lok out for deals.

BiddyPop Tue 05-Aug-14 11:40:00

Don't spend it "down home", even if staying in rented cottage. Rented helped, but it was still stressful, cottage was expensive, and we never got to enjoy any peace and quiet at all.

Besides which, after a 2 week holiday with my parents and all 5 siblings, partners and the children, not 1 of the 4 who live away from home intends going home this year! Only he 1 who lives at home and the one who lives in the nearest city.

Don't expect work to get quiet until Christmas Eve, and possibly even be busy then. So build in A few days off to get things done, and pre-arrange a few lunches to met up with friends. Or time will. Pass without meeting them at all.

I'm a lot better at not overbuying treats. ANd making sure they are ones we like, not commercially pushed Christmas necessities, but that is harder to do so needs planning.

This year

This year I will not get drunk on vodka while constructing a trampoline in the snow on christmas eve night prior to attempting the nerve wracking stocking switch.

Also I will buy fewer presents for the dds and will work out how to decorate properly with holly and evergreen so I don't end up with a disappointing display that occasionally drops on to the children's heads.

Treats Tue 05-Aug-14 11:52:31

I second not doing too much too soon. In my case, I'm going to sit on my hands instead of starting to issue invitations as soon as the children are back at school. I'm going to let plans unfold and give other people a chance to come up with their own thing.

With a bit of luck, certain people that I'd rather not spend the day with will be unavailable by the time we mention that they're 'welcome' to come to ours......

And also not buying too much too soon. I thought I'd stock up on stocking fillers in the summer sales last year, but ended up buying way more than I needed to by the time Christmas came round. I am starting to make a list of things that might be useful/appreciated but won't buy anything before November.

fuzzpig Tue 05-Aug-14 11:53:57

Don't get so much 'easy' food for the evening buffet. Actually ended up not wanting it. Will keep to simple fresh homemade stuff mostly.

andsmile Tue 05-Aug-14 18:50:47

Oh I forgot

DO NOT BUY <hollah's to all pre school parents> a big fancy wooden kitchen that took until 5.30 am to construct (no where to store beforehand) that she never bloomin plays with. attheend post reminded me of this as I didnt dare drink my rum and coke until I was on last few screws DH asleep forever..but he does the cooking!

I'm going to post on every 'have I got enought thread' - yes you have, it's very easy to waste sooooo much money. Im disgusted with the excess of previous years tbh.

One year pre DC DH and I spent £350 in Tesco on Xmas shop..it did include booze but we were not even hosting any meals at all shock.. and that was 10 years ago.

Sallycinnamum Tue 05-Aug-14 19:00:53

This year we will be eating baked beans on toast on xmas Eve instead of a rich meal. For the past two xmas days I've been throwing up in the morning thereby pretty much ruining the big day itself.

However one good thing came out of it. We cooked xmas dinner with all the trimmings on Boxing Day last year and we've now decided to make it a tradition. We're having homemade soup for lunch with a nice dessert and a buffet supper on xmas day instead.

Actually enjoyed cooking xmas dinner last year as Boxing Day is much more relaxed than the main day itself.

bimbobaggins Tue 05-Aug-14 19:52:30

Not buying every single item on ds list . Spent £100 on wwe that has never been played with.

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