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How do i stop myself being a martyr on xmas day

(57 Posts)
princessconsuelabannahammock Sun 20-Dec-15 22:25:44

Its my first time hosting and first time to have christmas at home with my DC ( we traditionally went to my parents). I have my in laws and mother here - they all have form for parking themselves on the sofa and doing nowt. They will all happily watch me look after kids, cook, clean and serve tea etc and not lift a finger. My husband is great but needs expressed instructions - so its often easier to just do it myself.

I would like this xmas to be fun and relaxed, i want nice food and to play with my kids and enjoy the day.

I dont want everyone to have a great day at the expense of mine ifyswim?

My husband thinks make things more difficult than they need to be but he doesnt grasp that if DS hasnt eaten by a set time, then he wont sleep, then he will be grumpy etc etc.

I am trying to prep food in advance but time is slipping away from me esp as DD has finished nursery now and Dmil has just cancelled the 90 mins she was going to look after the kids so i could do the xmas food shop.

Do any experienced hosters have any top tips? I want everyone inc me to have a great day, i dont want to be a stressed, sweaty mess. Help!

anyoldname76 Sun 20-Dec-15 22:27:38

wine and hope for the best fgrin

taptonaria27 Sun 20-Dec-15 22:29:36

I was brisk about asking for help - MIL would you come in an dry these up for me please? not in my nature but it did help a little

TheHouseOnTheLane Sun 20-Dec-15 22:32:10

You can "manage" them a bit by making them set up and assist DC with their new toys

"MIL DD wants you to play X game with her...here it is!" sort of thing.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sun 20-Dec-15 22:35:39

I get the main event served, sit down and announce "Right that's it. Tuck in, pudding's in the kitchen for later. I'm drinking wine and doing no more work! Enjoy!!"
Make a crib sheet with DH to make sure he can organise everyone else without bothering you smile

Imnotaslimjim Sun 20-Dec-15 22:47:40

I don't envy you. I've hosted once and it was abysmal. Food was lovely (or so everyone said) but I was stressed to the heavens and didn't enjoy myself at all

I agree with PP, give clear instructions, don't ask for help, tell them what you need with authority so they know you mean it

If DH need explicit instructions, then write him a list of what you need him to do, and add to it throughout the day if you feel the need

And lots of wine, its the only way!

princessconsuelabannahammock Sun 20-Dec-15 22:48:48

Wow quick replies thank you. The crib sheet sounds like a good idea. Mil rolls her eyes when i ask hubby to do something as obvs thats my job (even though fil waits on her like, hes her butler!). Mil also dithers so much its easier to do it myself - 25 effing mins to chop a bowl of strawberries once - the only time she has ever offered to help.

My mum i can boss about but its her birthday so i dont like to.

Wine will def be on tap - i have my own bottle of prosecco for cooking.

My DS has separation anxiety at the mo so is permanently attached to my leg, although new toys should help that.

I will be doing a lot in the evenings when the kids go to bed, now inc the food shopping. I have set the utility room up as a second kitchen and am tempted to assign people jobs e.g mil coffees, mother - alcoholic drinks.

Keep em coming, i need all the help i can get!

ridingsixwhitehorses Sun 20-Dec-15 22:50:17

Don't offer endless cups of tea or you have to make it. And once dinner is done don't do anything else. Just say help yourselves to tea and coffee and leave it at that. It is not your responsibility whether they have a nice time or not.

BlueBananas Sun 20-Dec-15 22:52:20

Honestly, it's just a Sunday dinner!
Don't over complicate it, don't make it a bigger deal in your head than it needs to be
And wine. Lots and lots of wine

Hassled Sun 20-Dec-15 22:57:57

Work out a time sheet and stick it on the fridge. Pick a time you want to eat and work backwards. So - potatoes to parboil at X o'clock, carrots on at Y etc etc. Every single detail - a right faff to do, but it will mean you don't actually have to think much on the day. Just keep looking at the schedule.

Epilepsyhelp Sun 20-Dec-15 22:58:17

Get lots of prepared things from M&S then you don't need to be a cooking martyr at least. Ready to roast turkey and pigs in blankets, ready made dessert, ready prepped veg..

Pre instruct DH to do things with clear triggers - when everyone has finished carry plates through, when everyone arrives offer and serve drinks etc

peachypips Sun 20-Dec-15 23:00:09

I always do Christmas dinner for 16 people every year. This is what I do and I have a marvellous time!
1. Prep veg on Christmas Eve evening with my OH - sit round kitchen table with carols on and a glass of Baileys.
2. When I start cooking, I make myself a massive G and T, or I start getting stressed. I don't normally drink this, but it makes me so mellow and laid back, and I then really enjoy the cooking process and feel very much the 'expansive host'.
3. When dinner is over, I give the kids (four under seven) plastic bags and they get rid of the rubbish and scrape plates.
4. I get my siblings to wash up and my parents to make tea for everyone, while I sit and talk to my Grandma.
This is my winning formula perfected over ten years. It works really well- the key thing is the G and T. Relaxed but not sleepy like you can get with wine.

princessconsuelabannahammock Sun 20-Dec-15 23:04:41

I know its only a big sunday dinner, i think i get a bit stressed that everyone will happily watch me run around and not offer to help. I have pared down the menu from the michelin starred one i had in my head! I will ask Gparents to play with kids but thats what i wanted to do. I do have a dishwasher and a hubby that knows how to use it!

Its the rest of xmas too, keeping everything tidy and all the other stuff that needs doing daily - half of my DSs food WILL be on the rug but he is 18mo so its ok but needs hoovering up.

I just want things to be perfect but i am going to take deep breaths and just let it happen

peachypips Sun 20-Dec-15 23:07:09

The G and T will help with the perfectionism- believe me. It's magic! Even if you don't like it have one- think of it like medicine!!

princessconsuelabannahammock Sun 20-Dec-15 23:15:45

Adds gin to shopping list - thanks

nailslikeknives Sun 20-Dec-15 23:21:59

I'm hosting my parents and the in laws.
I'm making it as easy as poss so ...

All veg is already done and in the freezer, lightly roasted pots & parsnips, spinach gratin, all to be re-roasted on the day.
Turkey is a crown from M&S.

I have paper chains for the grannies to make with the kids, older men will nap (lucky oiks zzzzz) and DH takes direction well - as long as it's one clear thing at a time grin

I'm in the process of writing a detailed list of all timings.

Think I'll be adding a medicinal G&T this year!

Top tip is don't do anything you don't like - so no sprouts here as I can only eat them with bacon and fil is veggie!

AuditAngel Sun 20-Dec-15 23:24:02

This year we have 9 for Christmas Day. I assign non cooking tasks to guests (mum, sister, her DH and this year her adult step daughter)

The children clear the table, sister and BIL will do dishwasher (as many times as it takes). This too has come from guests who will do nothing and expect waiting on. Once, by the time DH and I got to serve ourselves, there were 3 roast potatoes left between us whilst some at the table had 6 on their plates!

hesterton Sun 20-Dec-15 23:30:29

Can you arrange something fabulous for yourself after Christmas and think of Christmas Day itself as almost a work/duty day to get through? Low expectations in other words. Think of all the many, many Christmases your dm and dmil did for years. And the ones your dc will do in the future!

Clobbered Sun 20-Dec-15 23:39:13

Put aside the wish for everything to be perfect, or readjust your ideas on what 'perfect' means. I've been a lot more relaxed about Christmas since deciding to do just a good enough job. There is no rule book that states you MUST do x, y and z. At least you won't have people diving into your kitchen and interfering, and you do have one willing helper, so it sounds like an ideal set-up in many ways.
Another vote for an all-singing all-dancing list of everything that needs to be done, with timings, and do not deviate from it. I use disposable tablecloths, napkins etc and have a black rubbish sack for clearing up directly from the table afterwards.
If you want to spend time with the kids after lunch, do it, and forget the washing-up. The world won't end if you leave it until Boxing Day even, and you can use disposable plates again at tea-time!
Don't expect any help and then you won't be disappointed. Think of it as a positive thing - I can't bear having other people in the kitchen or doing things for me when I'm entertaining - it's my way or the highway!

princessconsuelabannahammock Mon 21-Dec-15 08:47:31

I have slight control freak tendencies so heres the new plan

Get rid of idea of perfection
Get as much prepared before hand and in fridge ready to just go in oven/ steamer on xmas day
Cook turkey crown on xmas eve morning
Lay table, get dishes out xmas eve morning
Make puddings on the 23rd (out most of 24th)
Have a master plan with timings and jobs i need doing
Brief hubby so he also knows the plan and allocate jobs
All adults will have a role on the day, drink making, table clearing etc
Xmas day evening food in fridge ready to serve - red pepper and tomato soup this year (just need tomatoes to ripen so i can cook it)
This week use garage to store booze, drinks etc
Food shopping tomorrow - clear out fridges and cupboards today
G&T at start of cooking (hate gin but worth a shot)
Then swap to prosecco but drink slowly!!!
Presents are to be opened throughout the day (hubbys idea) so rubbish put away (wrapping a massive box as a paper box)
Quick hoover after dinner and wipe sides
Then feet up and watch downton christmas special

Thanks for all your ideas and help, happy christmas everyone

(i feel slightly less stressed now i have a plan!)

KERALA1 Mon 21-Dec-15 08:51:55

Ffs shocking Christmas dinner is all hands on deck. We hosted 14 last year. Dh and I, mum and Bil1 did Christmas lunch took 4 of us. After that dh and I didn't lift a finger and bil2 and x2 dsis did all the food until they left Boxing Day. My father did all clearing away and washing up assisted by kids.

Hate this mum does everything crap

princessconsuelabannahammock Mon 21-Dec-15 09:08:23

kerala - i hate this, inlaws see it as my job as i am a sahm. Hubby is very willing but needs telling. I want everyone to relax and enjoy the day but not at my expense.

Its all my fault really as whenever i have hosted in the past, i have done everything. In my family you dont need to be asked you just help sadly that is not the case with my inlaws and they have in the past seen me almost in tears trying to get a meal out, look after kids and keep the place tidy (i am so busy if i dont do it there and then it doesnt get done).

Fils attitude is just leave it until tomorrow but i never fancy a 3 hr tidy up session the next day either (with 2 under 4 in tow). And we are out on boxing day.

My mil and mum will just sit on the couch and do nothing. My mil doesnt even do anything when at home poorly fil does everything even though he has mobility problems now.

I feel bad about HAVING to ask, i just want them to offer as i do when i am at theirs. However i am not ruining my first xmas at home, so needs must!

HelloItsMeAgain Mon 21-Dec-15 09:34:18

Not having a pop but please, please, please don't forget to ask your DF and FIL for help too. We cannot grumble about being left to do the majority of it vs our DHs if we don't ask the older males to pitch in too. Who cares if they are from a different generation - they have arms/hands/eyes so are more than capable of being able to grab the hoover from the cupboard and give the rug a quick once-over/wash up/open some wine.

ZeViteVitchofCwismas Mon 21-Dec-15 09:34:40

I think knowledge that you may turn into one, is the biggest thing to stop it.

MIL is kitchen Marytr its sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo annoying.

ZeViteVitchofCwismas Mon 21-Dec-15 09:37:09

YOu DH needs to ASK THEM they are his parents!!

I would be mortified if my own dc couldnt say " mum could you give me a hand and just tidy that/hoover that/ wipe that/ take the bin out for me.

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