Doing family Christmas for 1st time, on a budget, with 19m and 6more and working ft -help me with a plan!(19 Posts)
So we are refusing to spend our Christmas travelling between the grandparents this year (last year car broke down half way between and I snapped and said never again!). So we are having 6 adults plus DD18m for Christmas (Gps quite happy with this . DP has lost his job so it's v tight money wise.
Plan for 25th will be nice breakfast, pressies, long walk on the beach (house v small and should curtail my parents drinking so they are still conscious at dinner) ideally with nice picnic goodies and then Xmas dinner 1700ish so DD can go to bed afterwards.
I have already started my prep by making lots of Sausage rolls for the freezer!
What else can I do?
We have a few Xmas Decs but have never had a tree before.
We made Xmas cards last year (easier with a 9 month old who will hold still long enough to do multiple footprints).
I have refillable advent calendars (collected lots as I'm a teacher) so want to calendars for DP and DS what to put in?
Have agreed with family to do small/no.presents (apart from for children) so ideally I'd like to make some pressies too.
Help lovely yuletide mumsnetters!
Can you get your family to contribute some things? I usually ask Dh's parents to bring wine and sil brings snacks and things like that. It helps a bit with the cost.
With little ones I would either put the tree up early and train them to leave it alone or put it up last minute if they are unlikely to learn to leave it alone =)
Presents: Are you good at baking? You could do gift baskets or cellophane bags with nice biscuits. Felted soaps are fairly easy rosiepink.typepad.co.uk/rosiepink/how-to-make-felted-soaps-and-pebbles.html, and you cold say that the children helped if they end up looking a bit daft (as mine did).
Your christmas sounds lovely. We have also decided not to travel this year. Last year we drove to Sweden to have Christmas with my mum. It was wonderful, my first Christmas at home in 12 years, but the drive home was a nightmare with snowstorms and what not. This year we are relaxing at home.
Either order the whole Christmas dinner ready made or start making and freezing now. Aim to have as little to do as possible on the day itself. Do a menu plan for the other days as well and start batch cooking and freezing while you're still relatively energetic. Get the family to bring wine, crackers, cheese, chocolates and pudding.
I would get cards written and ready to post in November and try to get as many gifts bought and wrapped as you can. Don't go mad buying gifts for your DD if money is tight. Biscuits are a great idea if you want to do homemade. You can make and freeze uncooked biscuit dough and then slice and bake straight from the freezer the day before. I found an off cut of red gingham in my local fabric store which was much cheaper than ribbon when cut into strips.
I did Christmas for 10 when I was 6 months pregnant and it is tiring. If your partner has some time on his hands delegate some of the prep to him. Especially cooking on Christmas Day.
Ooo I love the felted soap idea! I can bake and used to loads before DD was born. I'm thinking of making millionaires shortbread as I know this freezes well. I'm very keen to do a little each week - esp if DD is helping as her attention span is not long!
Thanks treats, I'm afraid DD won't be getting any presents from us this year. Sounds awful but she will get presents from GPs and friends. We will be all about "experience" this year, carolling, going to see Christmas lights, making things and having fun... Hope that doesn't sound mean but one income which dries up in February doesn't give many luxuries... Mum has offered to buy the turkey but I'll see if I can persuade her to do wine and cheese instead!
Get the visiting guests involved ASAP.
Write a full menu planner for all meals and from that a full shopping list. Divide the shopping items between all the people coming, encourage them to bring items ready to cook, so peeled sprouts, and ready made cranberry sauce not a box of berries.
If any of them have any faddy or exotic needs, they should bring their own supply.
Encourage them to make mince pies, puddings etc. Keep telling them both how very helpful the other Granny is being.
Keep the meal simple, you don't really need 14 kinds of vegetables. If you are having a starter, something like salmon pate is easy and looks nice, just buy a good quality one.
A cheap idea for tree decorations as I see you live near a beach, collect shells and string or glue them onto wool or garden twine and wind around the tree. Or if you are near a wood, collect pine cones to hang on the tree.
Your main problem could be keeping everyone sober enough to enjoy dinner at that time.
Yes, delegate very specifically. Someone bringing pud and brandy cream, someone cheese and biscuits, someone a very simple starter eg smoked salmon/rocket/rye bread, that can be put in fridge and plated up quickly. Everyone brings wine.
It's not awful . It's very sensible. She won't remember not getting a present - she'll remember having everyone round on Christmas Day.
Turkeys can be quite costly so weigh up which contribution is more valuable.....
Remember that Christmas dinner is actually just a slightly posher Sunday roast no need to get into a panic about it
It's a great idea to ask people to bring things with them, you could make a Christmas cake now and have that for desert/nibbles
One of my hates is people getting in the way just as the last minute meal prep is under way. Also the grandparents suddenly deciding they need a wee or appearing in the kitchen offering to help just as you have hot food in your hand.
About 15 minutes before the meal is on the table I announce ok everyone at the table. Then I hand round a game that will keep everyone out of my way and the children entertained. One year it was Pom Pom pets. Everyone had 10 pom-poms to make an animal. Another year I had little cardboard cut outs of each guess and they had to colour them in with crayon. Pipe cleaners always work well too. Anything small that can stay on the table is best.
I so agree about getting people seated & settled before the meal starts, so irritating when they clear off to the lav just as you are bringing in the main course, it's usually men who do this.
This is why I think a small cold starter is so useful, gives them all time to get seated and faff about, can be plated up well ahead of time during the morning so not taking up kitchen prep time or space, and gets them all to the table as they can see food there!
Good plan! Don't be shy about asking guests to bring things and think beyond christmas day itself. Could a guest bring some bolognese for christmas eve? (we do lasagne and garlic bread christmas eve, made and frozen in early Dec.) A ham combined with leftover turkey is not cheap or original but is a really easy way to feed people on other days. Makes for delicious carbonara too!
We did our first Christmas last year for x7 adults, x2 other people's children and X4 our own (including 3 month old twins who were still breastfeed)! It is totally do-able and much less stressful than I'd anticipated.
We made gingerbread men/ Christmas shape biscuits for neighbours and also 'Christmas sugar' which was just nice demerara sugar in jam hard with few teaspoons of mixed spice, nutmeg etc and couple of sticks of cinnamon (leave a gap at top of jar so you can see sticks, looks very pretty), tie with crimbo ribbon and couple of pinches with instructions to put in coffee or hot chocolate ).
For meal, we didn't bother with stater, got Dad to bring a fish dish (his preference to turkey), hubby did meat (ham&turkey) and I did veg. We thought in advance about how many hobs/ pans we'd need and written down rough times to put stuff on which was mega helpful. Set table night before. Defo keep people out of kitchen, my dad was trying to take photos of us with steaming pans in our hand...not ideal. If beach is near, you may want to head back a touch before gps and your dd to give yourself a chance to prep more.
Depending on your family (we also have more kids) we also had a 'kick out' time where we'd politely told people we'd be happy to host until around 8:30, we wanted the house back and I was still doing night feeds so was shattered, otherwise they could have stayed for hours.
Oh, and finally, Let gps do dishes. I normally always say 'no, leave them, i'd rather spend time with you and do them later' but was shattered and wanted time with dc so let a couple of them do dishes so you don't have them to do that night.
Come 9ish, all kids were in bed, dishes were done and we'd all had a lush day. Enjoy.
Please could you explain in a bit more detail the Christmas sugar it sounds great.
We use foil roasting tins for the oven, really cuts down on the washing up.
I agree with planning what is going where in terms of pots and pans. First year I had a bit of a flap as I ran out of hobs.
Also, rather than serving up everyone's and having to remember who hates sprouts, who doesn't want cranberry sauce and worrying that uncle x has more gravy than auntie y I just put it all out on the table and let them help themselves.
Ask on free cycle for a tree, pound land do baubles, and chain decorations which go a long way.
Make sure you get chance to rest.
Fabulous ideas, thank you so much! I already have a batch of millionaires shortbread in the freezer to use for.gifts and am starting my lists! The Mil came around this weekend and brought with her a Xmas tree, baubles, tinsel, a tree skirt and a stocking for DD so I'm thinking she'd be.quite happy to contribute to the.day!!
Well done that MIL!! We are not all horrible
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