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Please help me plan Christmas (Clueless!)

(51 Posts)
raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Wed 11-Oct-17 23:59:33

Since we had the kids, we've taken turns spending Christmas with one or other of our parents. They always make a huge fuss of the kids and organise a lovely Christmas. We pitch in with cooking and washing up of course, but they've done the bulk of planning.

For reasons I won't bore you with, we're having Christmas at ours for the first time this year, probably just me, DH, and the DC.

But - I've never hosted a family Christmas, and also I'm skint, which is a pain. The kids usually get spoiled rotton at their GPs, I need to make sure this is special for them without the luxury of being able to chuck much money at the situation.

Also - I'm crap at organisation! (Really bad - as in I have an appointment to request assessmeent for ADHD). I find the idea of organising Christmas a little overwhelming to say the least! But I want to plan it now, in case the worst happens before then.

I do have one secret weapon - DH is an aweseome cook. (Also crap at organising though).

Can anyone give me any pointers as to what to do, where to start? And, how to make it special for the kids with very little money?

What do you remember from when you were little that made it special?

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Thu 12-Oct-17 00:02:17

I meant to say - I'm a name changer but I've been here donkeys years. I'm well aware of the begging threads that appear at Xmas. THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM.

Please, do not offer me any money or any gifts to "solve" my issue of having no money. Please do not PM me kind offers, I will refuse. Please don't accuse me of writing a begging email as this is not one!

I genuinely, really need some help with organising this, with working out what we need to do to make it special for the DC, it'll be their first Xmas at home and I want to make it a good one.

WaitingForEgg Thu 12-Oct-17 00:03:29

How old are your DC? What things do you usually do at GPs that they enjoy?

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Thu 12-Oct-17 00:08:39

Kids are nearly 5 and 9.

Good question thanks smile

When we're with my folks, the thing DS seems to enjoy best is visiting adults with no kids who are happy to play lego with him for HOURS!

When we're with the ILS, they get a ridiculous amount of presents! We only see them about twice a year as they live so far away, the ILS save up presents throughout the year and give them all at Christmas! They'll probably want to come visit at a later date or save the presents for a visit in Jan.

Both kids enjoy cooking with the grandmothers.

They enjoy the fuss people make of them.

MIL is into Christmas decorations big time! Actually that's a point. We've never covered the outside of our house with decorations - like lots of our neighbours do - and we've always told the DC it's because we're not going to be there. If we're here there will be an expectation that we put lights up outside. Damn, I've walked right into that one!

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Thu 12-Oct-17 00:09:52

I was going to say , they enjoy MILs Christmas decotations and they've always enjoyed making them / putting them up at ours in the run up to Christmas.

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Thu 12-Oct-17 00:10:53

I can't imagine Christmas just the four of us. What do you do all day to make it feel special?

It seems like just another day to me if it's at home!

How do you structure the day? What do you do?

Chottie Thu 12-Oct-17 00:15:22

Write a list of everything that needs to be done. Include your DCs and let them add to the list with things they want to do

e.g. present shopping
wrapping presents
dates of DCs school concerts / fairs etc
cooking with DCs
decorating tree
switching on of the lights at the local shopping centre
Twinkle Run to see all the lights locally
making a Christmas wreath etc. etc.

Then put dates against all actions and put alerts in your phone. Or have a written list, whatever works for you.

Merry Christmas

Chottie Thu 12-Oct-17 00:17:07

Regarding Christmas Day, ask your DCs what they would like to do. There is a long running thread about spending Christmas with just immediate family at home with fab ideas.

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Thu 12-Oct-17 00:20:52

I can do the run-up to Christmas stuff we do that every year. It's on the day. How do you make it special if it's just another day at home?

I mean - I know it was special when I was little but that was mainly because of the presents! But the presents are going to be somewhat lacking this year, there's no way we can match what they usually get from their GPs.

So I want to make it special for them, but how?

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Thu 12-Oct-17 00:21:17

Chottie I'll have a look for that thread thanks smile

just5morepeas Thu 12-Oct-17 00:48:48

Make a special breakfast maybe? Something easy and not too much of it obv but something out of the ordinary. American style pancakes maybe? Or even just something like Nutella on toast - a treat that they're not usually allowed.

Um, get them involved in setting up a nice looking dinner table and all dress up in your smart/party clothes. Maybe they could help make decorations for the table (fancy menu, napkin rings, ?) in the run up.

Have Christmas music on in the background and sing along loudly!

After lunch have a walk all together maybe. Then you could play board games or charades or something like that. Then Christmas telly/film with popcorn or other snacks they like.

Even if they're not getting many toys they'll still be plenty for them to do/play with.

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Thu 12-Oct-17 07:34:41

Chottie what's the name of the thread you mentioned?

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Thu 12-Oct-17 07:45:44

just5morepeas thanks for the suggestions.

DS is quite hard work and it's hard to engage him in stuff for long unless he's really into it (he is being assessed for ADHD). Plus both DC wind each other up and fight a fair bit!

That's a good start but I need a load of plans up my sleeve or he'll just want to go on his tablet and they'll argue over stuff.

Usually at Christmas there are lots of relatives about who the DC love seeing. I'm struggling to imagine how it will be special just the 4 of us.

Plus if DH is cooking I guess It'll just be me and the DC for a fair bit of time.

Our kitchen is small and not open plan.

I need to get my head round a plan as at the moment the whole thing sounds stressful!

MuddlingThroughLife Thu 12-Oct-17 07:57:04

I think you're stressing and over thinking it all.

Christmas dinner is basically a roast with some extras thrown in. Luckily you have a dp who can cook, so let him get on with it and help if he wants you to. My dh can barely heat beans without reading the instructions first, so I'm very jealous!

You say the kids like cooking, so let them get involved too by helping prepare the veggies.

The kids like playing for hours. Once dinner is done and dusted just spend the day with the kids and their new toys, they'll love you sitting any playing with them.

So this would be my plan in your shoes:

Lay the table on christmas eve, the kids can help with this.

Prepare the veg on christmas eve which the kids can help with.

Christmas morning do the presents however you do them. We do stockings on our bed, then downstairs for all the other pressies.

Once all the pressies are open, phone relatives to wish them a happy Christmas.

Get the dinner on.

Have a quiet half hour in a food stupor.

Get the dishes done. Again everyone can join in, even the kids. Not the most exciting of tasks, but whack on some loud christmas music and have some fun while doing it.

The rest of the day I would plan on just playing with the new toys/games, watching christmas tv, listening to christmas music, relaxing, eating chocolate.

Also if we were home all day christmas day, none of us would get dressed! We only dress at tea time so we can go round my mum's to see everyone.

Take deep breaths, relax, and go with the flow. Hope you have a lovely Christmas.

happy321123 Thu 12-Oct-17 08:07:02

Simple breakfast. One year Morrison’s did a choc and orange flavour bread. It was even in the shape of either a candy cane or a Xmas tree (can’t quite remember). Otherwise pancakes or bacon butties. Something quick but a treat.

Can the kids spend time before Xmas day making gifts for each other? This could add the excitement of seeing their gifts being opened.

Preparation before the day food wise. Par boil your potatoes, cook everything you can before hand, and reheat on the day. But if the kids like t help, that might not be too much of an issue.

Will and friends or neighbours visit? Or will you have time to visit them? Elderly neighbours that will play with their new toys for an hour or so? Lavish that attention on them?

Easy tea. Bit of party food because you won’t be hungry. Keep it in the freezer and stick a bit in the oven as someone mutters they’re hungry again.

Xmas outfits. Xmas eve pyjamas.

Do you usually stay away Xmas eve if gps are so far away? Some little note from Santa (if he comes to your house) to say how he enjoyed seeing them in their own home.

SlatternIsTrying Thu 12-Oct-17 09:11:58

I agree that you are over thinking this. You have said you don't want it to be like any other day in the house, but of course it won't be - it's Christmas Day.

You have chocolate for breakfast, the tv is showing different programmes, the kids are hyped up, there is a general party atmosphere - and this is before you even start trying to make it special.

I had my first Christmas at home last year and it was lovely.

Relax, enjoy the shift from frantic work mode, eat nice food, play with the kids. That is what they will remember.

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Thu 12-Oct-17 09:46:14

We usually travel to stay with the family for a few days if my folks or at least a week if DP's as they live so far away.

I have no idea what our friends here do over Christmas! I guess I need to find out!

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Thu 12-Oct-17 09:59:27

I probably am overthinking it but (massive drip feed, sorry) the reason we're not spending it with family is that my dad is terminally ill and probably won't be here Christmas. I will likely be grieving and I want to have solid plans in place now so I know what I'm doing and can make it nice for the kids, who will also be grieving.

My mum is not a very social person, I don't know what she'll want to do for Christmas, and she's got too much on her plate right now to ask her. But if she's grieving she will probably want to be alone or be with my sister tbh as she finds lots of people stressful and my best guess is she won't want the DC around to see her feeling sad.

We'll play it by ear though, if she wants us around, or if my Dad is miraculously still here at Christmas then of course we'll be there, we can throw together an inpromptu Christmas at theirs if that's what she/ they want. I want to be close in case it is. She doesn't like travelling and probably won't want to come to ours.

Plus, the kids are used to getting so totally spoiled at Christmas. At the ILS they got 2 sacks of presents EACH last year, all labelled from Santa. It was ridiculous. This year we have very little money. I want to make the day special to distract from the fact that Santa will be bringing them very little in comparison. And the kids fight. The idea of letting them play with their toys makes me imagine DS wondering where the rest of his presents are and the two of them fighting over everything as that's what they do these days.

I'm probably letting what's going on with my dad overshadow my thoughts of Christmas but it's hard not to.

Usually I enjoy planning and love Christmas. But when I think of it this year I just see us sitting at home at it feeling very bleak.

If I have a plan, we can at least go through the motions of that and the kids will have a happy time.

Poor DD already missed her 4th birthday as I was meant to be planning it around the time we got the news that my Dad's illness was terminal and I just failed to do it because I felt overwhelmed.

I have ADHD which is a bitch for being organised! I need to be on top of this.

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Thu 12-Oct-17 10:07:28

I think I found the thread you were talking about Chottie - was it this one?


notarehearsal Thu 12-Oct-17 10:15:55

I'm wondering whether your energy would be better spent coming to terms with the loss you and your family are about to have? No matter if your DM isn't sociable, she's probably going to really be needing your support at Christmas.
If you want to plan for spending the day at home. Buy some paper chains and get the children to make them and put them up. Get a little tree ( obviously nearer the time) and stick some baubles and lights on it. Maybe have a special Christmas candle for just December which you light each evening once everyone is in PJ's for an hour or so.

I am astonished at the fuss people make about the lunch. It's a roast with turkey or whatever instead of a chicken! Oh and get some cheap crackers.

I always have a walk as it gets dark on the afternoon. Just to stroll around looking at other peoples lights. It really doesn't need much organising or money

noramum Thu 12-Oct-17 10:16:55

We are always only us 3 or if my mum comes, we are the huge number of 4 people. Still, Christmas day is a great day for all of us.

Food is basically just a glorified roast. We never do a turkey, most years we do a capon (huge male chicken) or a pork leg. Just buy your normal portion size.

Maybe get some simple table decorations to make the table look a bit more festive. Look out for pinecones and holly for instant Christmas decorations.

We do frozen pastries for breakfast and stollen. DD normally starts playing with her gifts in the morning, we watch some TV. After lunch if the weather is good we go out for a bit. The afternoon means playing board games, eating cake and chocolate and doing a small dinner with cold cuts from the various ranges at the supermarket with some oven baked baguette and more chocolate.

MuddlingThroughLife Thu 12-Oct-17 10:27:14

raisins so sorry to hear about your dad. I kind of understand what you're going through. Ds aged 10 has recently finished treatment for a brain tumour. I've had to smile and be "excited" for dd1 turning 16 and dd2 was 13 on the day of his end of treatment MRI last week for which we are still anxiously awaiting the results.

It's hard to act "normal" and to get excited and plan when everything is up in the air. I do it for the kids' sake then have my emotional moments in the bath or shower when I'm alone.

I think I would leave any planning nearer the time. Like a pp has said your mum may need your support, and you may need hers. You could even end up spending christmas there.

The kids won't notice how many presents they have, they'll enjoy whatever they have and spending time with you. My kids often argue too, that's kids for you eh? Frustrating but gets easier as they get older.


raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Thu 12-Oct-17 10:28:09

I'm wondering whether your energy would be better spent coming to terms with the loss you and your family are about to have? No matter if your DM isn't sociable, she's probably going to really be needing your support at Christmas.

I need to make a plan for a Christmas here as there is the strong possibility that my mum won't want to see us. Believe me on this, I know her! She's a very private person and won't want the kids around when she's grieving. I want to be close in case I'm wrong, and so I can go spend time with her over the Christmas period. But I need a plan for Christmas at home as we may well be here.

It may not mean much to you, but I want it to be good for the DC. They really look forward to it. Plus as I struggle with being organised it will make me feel much better if I have a plan in place.

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Thu 12-Oct-17 10:30:29

MuddlingThroughLife I can't imagine how stressful that must be. I hope he gets the all clear flowers

raisinsarenottheonlyfruit Thu 12-Oct-17 10:31:18

noramum a walk and board games sounds good. DD loves board games. I think I'll get them a board game each.

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