What Christmas tips worked well this year and what will you not be doing next year?

(194 Posts)
Monroe Fri 26-Dec-14 10:47:19

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas smile
I've picked up lots of tips over the years from these threads. This year we tried the lottery present opening for the 2 dc's. We had a jar filled with numbers that corresponded to the ones stuck to the bottom of the dc's gifts and they took turns pulling out a number then both had to find that gift. It stretched the opening of them out and they really enjoyed playing the "game"

What I won't be doing is buying loads of stocking fillers just for the sake of it. Most of them were opened and discarded within the first couple of minutes

Monroe Fri 26-Dec-14 10:51:05

And one thing I should've done but didn't. Had a good clear out of all the dc's existing toys. They now have things piled all over their bedroom floors. I'll be spending the next few days looking for homes for everything.

JuniperTisane Fri 26-Dec-14 10:54:06

We opened just the one present each from us to the children (Hot Wheels set and Duplo) and let them play with it till lunchtime, then showed them the bikes ready to take out in the afternoon.

We opened a couple more yesterday but most of it was saved for this morning. I'm glad we did it that way yesterday as this morning was a bit horrendous with all the unwrapping, but we needed to get it done so we could thank people.

I won't buy different types of pudding just in case next year fblush 3.5 of them are still in the cupboard. I also won't buy DH a whole brie wheel all to himself again. He's going to turn into cheese by the time he's finished it.

XmasEveDallas Fri 26-Dec-14 10:54:52

Jamie's Get Ahead Gravy was wonderful. Everyone commented on it and my mum was dipping left over roast potatoes in it at 10pm smile. Someone on here also commented that you should make double the amount of gravy that you think you'll need - I did that and it was a godsend.

I won't buy a full Turkey again. No-one but the dog wanted the dark meat and she's had a bad bum ever since.

I cut down on DDs presents this year and made her stocking fillers stuff to 'do'/make. That was great as she was busy all day making bracelets, hairbands etc rather than wanting people to play stuff with her at inopportune moments, and meant that I didn't feel guilt at being busy in the morning.

PoppySausage Fri 26-Dec-14 10:57:54

I must remember the feeling when people open their presents and it really doesn't matter what we got them. They are happy

Must panic less

HollyJollyXmas Fri 26-Dec-14 11:01:22

That was my last year making a turkey! It takes too long to cook and a big, juicy roast chicken is so much nicer.

On the plus side...

Re: what the previous poster said about stocking fillers - I have slowly phased out 'filler' crap as the DC get older. They get fewer gifts, but every one is something they'll really like. Its worked very well. They were chuffed with absolutely everything this year.

I applied the same principle to the presents under the tree about 3 years ago. They used to get a pile of stuff, but maybe only a quarter of it was really wanted/loved. Now I just get them 3 or 4 tree presents that I know they'll be delighted with - makes much more sense.

Ragwort Fri 26-Dec-14 11:19:05

Bought disposable roasting trays/dishes - hugely cut back on the washing up.

Nearly everything was 'ready made' for the first time ever blush - the only thing I shall ever make again is bread sauce.

candykane25 Fri 26-Dec-14 11:21:12

Setting the table on Christmas Eve.

And ditto with stocking fillers, they fell apart and were discarded.

NoLongerJustAShopGirl Fri 26-Dec-14 11:25:40

I would double the number of roast parsnips and roast carrots. EVERYBODY loved them.

WipsGlitter Fri 26-Dec-14 11:36:16

All went well this year. Still don't need to buy wrapping paper due to over buying a few years ago!
Disposable roasting trays next year.

ArcheryAnnie Fri 26-Dec-14 12:00:47

No-one but the dog wanted the dark meat and she's had a bad bum ever since.

XmasEveDallas that made me laugh. Poor dog! I hope she is a little less runny today.

I learned that if I don't make a xmas lunch, and instead allow ex and his (genuinely lovely) wife to have DS for a couple of hours to to the Big Xmas Meal thing with him, the world won't end, and it gives me a couple of hours to tidy up and watch a taped episode of Lewis with a cup of tea and a satsuma to hand.

I have also learned that however many mince pies you buy, it isn't enough, and however few christmas puddings you buy, it is always too many. (I have a pudding in the cupboard that is approaching its second birthday.)

ArcheryAnnie Fri 26-Dec-14 12:02:43

Also agree on the stocking filler crap. Bought one for DS's stocking, and he's shown no interest in it, but has already read and finished the book that was in his stocking. I may major heavily on nice things to eat in next year's, and leave even the one bit of tat out altogether.

dwarfrabbit Fri 26-Dec-14 12:09:14

Got bossy with cellphones which were to be switched off all day but allowed when I was doing meals. Pretty blissful as I could get on and then our family time was just that. I had my phone time after lunch and everyone cleared up! Best Xmas ever esp end of downtonfsmile

JuniperTisane Fri 26-Dec-14 12:42:55

On the subject of stockings, my two are 4 and 2 so I went for stuff that needed absolutely no opening or help to use/play with. I would buy the bouncy balls again, also the little vehicles and the little books but I would leave out the inflatable globe.

Also chocolate at 6am in a stocking makes for a messy cot sheet which means housework. NO. NO CHOCOLATE IN THE STOCKING TIL THEY ARE OLD ENOUGH NOT TO DRIBBLE fangry

trixymalixy Fri 26-Dec-14 13:15:16

I second the get ahead gravy and setting the table on Xmas eve. Bread sauce froze well too. Also disposable foil roasting trays cut down on the washing up.

We had a drinks station in the hall, so people weren't traipsing through the kitchen to get drinks and getting in the way.

chanie44 Fri 26-Dec-14 13:38:33

Buying presents throughout the year meant I've had a stress free December. Although one relative wasn't happy with what I bought and it can't be returned.

It's too stressful to visit both sets of family on the one day.

We need to declutter way before Xmas.

To make sure OH tells his mum not to buy me clothes for Xmas - bless her, she does try but it's always supermarket or lidl.

To give OH a list suggested items he can get for me. He got his sister to buy me an item of clothing from a shop I don't even like.

lemisscared Fri 26-Dec-14 13:45:54

cooking gammon in the slow cooker -like a boss i don't actually know what that means but young people say it alot

harryhausen Fri 26-Dec-14 13:49:36

We turned off the TV in the evening! We recorded everything we wanted, had some waif and stray friends round who made us play games we'd never played before. HUGE fun. Dcs want to play the same games today visiting family.

Agree with less puddings. I too cut down on stocking tat. Just a few nice bits and special chocolates.

Mulled cider in the slow cooker all day went down really well.

Buy less wrapping paper!

ArcheryAnnie Fri 26-Dec-14 13:53:29

Mulling cider in the slow cooker - genius, harryhausen!

insanityscratching Fri 26-Dec-14 17:55:23

I made pastries and fairy cakes before Christmas and they have been very lovely and so much nicer than shop bought so will bake again next year.
Filled stockings with mostly useful stuff instead of tat which was well received but dd loved the light up balloons and ds the nano blocks.
Dh and ds gone to football today and have enjoyed the peace so will encourage a repeat next year too.

TheScottishPlay Fri 26-Dec-14 18:06:22

I am definitely going to buy throughout the year too to save last minute stress.
DS will definitely not be having a console next year. DH was still in pjs at midday trying to set it up!
We all had a wonderful Christmas though.

Misty9 Fri 26-Dec-14 18:14:45

Definitely less presents for ds; it was just the four of us for Xmas day so I wanted to make sure he had enough fun stuff to play with (he's three) But although yesterday was fine, today he's been overwhelmed by all the options and his behaviour has been shocking.

The second thing isn't a tip for me because I'm never having any more children but I underestimated how much attention and entertainment 8 month old dd would need and keeping her from trashing her brother's toys was very tiring!

I would definitely stress less about the meal - starters were skipped and we had to tag team the main! Bloody kids smile

Nosynora Fri 26-Dec-14 19:43:10

Anything I want to remember for next christmas I write on a post it note and stick it on December on the calendar

Bonsoir Fri 26-Dec-14 19:47:03

Best thing ever is getting my capon cooked by my butcher in his rotisserie and collecting it on Christmas Eve for dinner that evening.

Stupidest idea was eating another capon cooked by me in my own oven the next evening. One Christmas dinner is enough!

RhinestoneCowgirl Fri 26-Dec-14 19:49:37

I steamed the pudding in a slow cooker (just bought one on FB for a fiver) which was great because it was less steamy and didn't take up any space on the hob. We don't have a microwave.

Christmas Eve was mainly spent sewing as I was finishing DD's Frozen dress. Consequently I didn't have time to do baking, last prep etc so instead of getting stressed about it I just handed off jobs to DH and MIL who is staying with us. Worked really well. DS loved decorating the Christmas cake with Nana (and I got to sew in peace without MIL monologues... wink)

We also actually managed to clear as we went when doing the Christmas dinner (dishwasher working over time) so the kitchen wasn't a greasy mess by the evening.

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