Pen, paper – and GO!
It’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and start thinking about what has to be done to be completely under control for Christmas; is there such a thing? I have routinely found that there are four essential lists that need to be made to help prepare both my home and myself for “the big day”. We have already spoken about making our first list – The Menu – but the next three lists can be done simultaneously and they are:
Christmas Card/Christmas Letter List
Household Cleaning List
Christmas Card/Christmas Letter List
I just love Christmas cards; I will continue to send them as long as they are printed regardless of the current –day use of e-cards, emails and text messages! I actually enjoy shopping around for the prettiest, glittery cards I can find, of both a general and religious nature, to cater to the tastes of all my family and friends and I aim to have my Christmas cards posted out or hand delivered in the first week of December.
Family First – Try to find a few quiet minutes to yourself, make a cup of coffee and with a pen in hand start a list of all the relatives that you wish to send a card to. I include my nieces, nephews, aunts & uncles, parents and cousins as it is a yearly point of contact for a lot of us.
The day I start my Christmas card list is the day I start compiling my Christmas letter which will be included with the card, and will let my extended family know what our family has been up to in the previous 12 months. Writing cards and composing a Christmas letter is not a chore; enjoy re-capping “the year that was” and take the opportunity for “bragging rights” when it comes to the achievements of your children and grandchildren.
Friends, Workmates & Others – Separately draw up a list of friends, co-workers and acquaintances that you wish to send cards to. In my situation this list is long, as my husband works in a hospital kitchen with nearly 50 employees, nearly all of whom exchange cards! Is it a necessary expenses: well – no, but in my way of thinking sharing the Christmas spirit is necessary. If someone takes the time to think of you and wish you well at Christmas, then they deserve respect and well wishes for the season in return.
This is the “fun” list. Our family still buys for everyone, so we keep it to immediate family only, with an emphasis on the children. To my way of thinking there is nothing more thrilling or joyous than to watch the face of a child as they open their presents on Christmas morning. I get such joy from being with my family; of thinking what each of them are interested in or enjoy, and trying to purchase a gift that they will love.
Time spent on searching for just the right gift is not a chore; take joy and fulfilment from searching for something that will please someone else. I always wait until my Christmas club money is available before I purposefully set aside 2 days to shop for gifts. Why two days, you ask? Sometimes I might find a gift for someone in the most unlikely store, and the item is definitely not on my list, but I never “impulse buy”. This means I have to think about it and may need to back track to the store later in the day; of course this will take me longer. By setting two days aside for the shopping I am not only unrushed, but I can take the time to enjoy “all things Christmas”, such as the music playing in the arcades, the decorations hanging in every store or a chat with a friend I come across in the street. Nothing I know can inspire the Christmas spirit in me more quickly than hearing Christmas music and seeing the sparkle of tinsel!
Household Cleaning List
I make this list out to ensure I have enough time to thoroughly clean my home prior to the “big day”. There are just a few things that I think are essential to include on this list and they are:
The Oven – I make a point of cleaning the oven before I cook my Christmas cake which I make about 4 weeks before Christmas
Cupboards – a quick tidy through of items in cupboards and the pantry is essential and I try to leave this until about a week before Christmas. How many times have you asked someone to help you by getting the salt and pepper from the pantry? There is always someone that will come into the kitchen and proceed to help unload the dishwasher and pack away it’s contents. “Where does the turkey platter go?” they ask. Someone will always want a coffee cup, wine glass or bowl.
Cutlery Draw – Honestly, crumbs in the cutlery draw are not a good look! There will be multiple people wanting to go to your cutlery draw for teaspoons or extra knives and forks for an unexpected guest so wiping this draw out a day or two before your guest arrive works perfectly!
The Fridge – a well organised and clean fridge space is essential. Some families are lucky enough to have an extra fridge to take the enormous amount of food that is prepared for Christmas day; our 2nd fridge is turned on roughly two weeks before Christmas and runs continuously until after New Years Day. We also have a small “drinks” fridge stocked with water, soft drink, beer and wine so you can imaging how many people visit this fridge during Christmas day! No matter how many fridges you may or may not have, the doors to them will be opened by just about every person visiting you that day; it is imperative that it be clean and smell fresh. Wiping your clean fridge out with vanilla essence will ensure that “just cleaned” smell! This job can be tackled a week before Christmas as it isn’t difficult to maintain order in them for a few days at least!
General House – Look up! Is there a cobweb in the cornice of the lounge room? Wipe them down with a feather duster that has a few drops of lemon oil wprinkled on it. Lemon oil will deter spiders from re-visiting. Look down! – dust, or even wash the skirting boards. Pay attention to high traffic areas – is the bathroom mirror spotless, is there enough soap available? The number of people needing to wash their hands or re-apply make-up make this one of the most used rooms during the day! Ensure there are extra handtowels visible and ready for use by your guests. This is the routine I follow during the daytime of Christmas Eve to add the sparkle and freshness that I want my guests to experience in my home.
Cleaning does not have to keep you working until midnight for weeks on end. Plan your attack on dust and cobwebs, crumbs and surfaces so that they are completed by Christmas Eve and your enjoyment of Christmas Day will increase ten fold by having your guests marvel at your cleanliness and organisation!
Presenting your home in it’s cleanest and freshest state is not a chore! I take such pride and joy in opening my home to my family – no time spent with them is a hardship. I would much rather sit and enjoy a drink and a laugh with them, than worry over whether the kitchen or bathroom are tidy!
So – that’s my “take” on the essential Christmas lists. I firmly believe that everything is possible through organisation and planning and I hope that you will send Christmas cards and find just the right gift for your loved ones, as well as provide a clean and healthy place for your family to gather.
Christmas Cleaning: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/389139224027571058/