Share your tips to make the holidays easier!

I’m always looking for good tips to make the holidays easier. There are tons of lists online of iPhone apps that are supposed to simplify things. I do like the ones that help you keep track of what you bought, how much you spent and how much is left in your budget. (I don’t have an iPhone for this function, but I do have a piece of notebook paper.)

So I thought it would be nice to share our best tips for making the holidays easier that don’t involve apps. (A few years ago we shared some favorite holiday recipes and you guys did a great job with that. I am still making the Rolo, pecan, pretzel melted snack. It is soo good. Who shared that one?)

I have one tip to start us off. My kids always like pressing out Christmas sugar cookies with cookie cutters. I am very picky about my dough and frosting so I always want to make everything from scratch but it just makes the process so long and not fun. So last weekend I mixed up some dough and rolled it out into sheets. I wrapped it in parchment paper and put in the fridge. The next day after school the kids came home and I pulled out the firm sheets of dough and they just starting cutting out cookies. It made it so much more fun to just be cutting and decorating. To simplify this process even more I want to make my frosting ahead of time and freeze it. (Pillsbury use to sell sheets of dough but it was expensive for the amount you got and I haven’t seen them lately in the stores.)

My plan is this weekend to make up like six cookie-sheets of dough and put them in the freezer. Then I want to make my some containers of white icing and freeze those. So when the kids want to make cookies I can just pull out a sheet of dough and a container of icing and they can go to town. (I hate canned icing. It’s terrible.)

I also found a bunch of sites with holiday tips so you guys can read through those as well — I must warn you some have apps.

12 tricks for the holidays Some samples of the tips: Use clothespin and some string to let kids put up your Christmas card collection. Use a culinary school to cater parties– cheaper than a restaurant and good. Get gifts from grocery store such as a breakfast basket (coffee, muffin mix, OJ).

13 Best Gift Wrapping Tips Some samples of the tips: Inexpensive cotton fabric to wrap gifts. Tinsel tape to decorate a brown shipping box. (check out the guy in the photo. Is it a joke? I can’t tell.) Patterned tape (which I have never seen before), lots of thick ribbons and kids’ drawings duplicated on a printer.

Christmas shopping apps

Babble’s Best Holiday apps

Tell us your favorite ways to make the holidays simpler. I would love some cook-ahead stuff or Christmas card or gift mailing ideas. (I hate having to mail stuff!) Do you have a favorite meal that you make while you’re in church on Christmas Eve? (Always a dilemma!) What about Christmas morning so you don’t miss them opening presents but they have a special breakfast?

51 comments Add your comment

Kat

December 9th, 2010
11:59 pm

I’d love it if you’d share the Rolo recipe! It sounds yummy! The best tip that I have is to decide the FEW things that your family loves best about the holidays and be sure to make the time to do those things. Everything else can (and should) wait. If there’s time (and budget, etc), you can do things on your second-tier of ideas. But first and foremost, do those things that make the holidays special to you and your family. Making a scrapbook of these ideas and events can be fun to look at as the years go by!

Kat

December 9th, 2010
11:59 pm

Should have started with – First!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 10th, 2010
12:14 am

I will write you the Rolo recipe tomorrow — it is sooop good!! — maybe someone will remember who left it — too tired tonight!! check back tomorrow and I’ll do it! (Also have to remember — haven;t made it since last year it’s so sinful!!)

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DB

December 10th, 2010
1:17 am

The Rolo Recipe: You’ll need mini-pretzels (the square ones that look like a little grid work best, but the mini-twists also work), a bag of Rolos and pecan halves (or you can use pecan bits if you’re patient.

Put pretzels on a cookie sheet. Place an unwrapped Rolo on the pretzel. Back in 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes, or until Rolo is soft, but not melted. Press pecan half into the top of the Rolo, flattening it a bit. The caramel will ooze out, glueing everying together. Allow to cool. Don’t eat all at one time . . . :-)

I have no hints — I basically stumble through the holidays and end up on the other side broke, exhausted, but happy :-) Now that the kids are in college, I find out what they want to do, and we generally go in that direction.

Christmas Eve, our family tradition is to go out for Chinese before the evening service. Never had Peking Duck, though :-D I put together a breakfast casserole the day before (bread, sausage tosssed in mustard, and make up the egg filling in a separate bowl. When we get up, I pour the egg mixture into the casserole dish and bake it while we are opening presents. I usually do cinnamon muffins, fruit and hot chocolate and orange juice. (Yeah, lots of sugar :-) Then breakfast is ready when presents are opened. Christmas dinner is usually late in the afternoon and will include friends and family. Everyone brings a dish, I do the ham and a turkey and beverages, and we chow down!

[...] Holiday Recipes : Share your tips to make the holidays easier! [...]

motherjanegoose

December 10th, 2010
3:50 am

TWG…remember that you cannot do everything. To me, it is better to enjoy a few things together than be frazzled trying to do it all. My daughter and I have gone to different performances of the Nutcracker each year. Something we enjoy and now a tradition. We have driven all over the metro. She and her Dad put the tree up together. I do not. I was not even at home when they did it this year. We went, as a family, to her HS chorus concert last night event though she is now in college.
She asked us to go but then told us to stop singing along ( quietly…we were in the balcony). She never knew we did this before as she was on stage or four years. ;>/

I used to let my Kinders make marble gift wrap . You get a box lid, like the kind from a case of Xerox paper and lay flat white butcher paper inside or a plain white paper sack. Put some paint in a little margarine tub… one red tub and one green tub. Drop the marbles inside to coat. Then roll the marbles in the box lid…they will make lines all over the sacks or paper. Let them dry and use them to wrap the gifts….a little messy but fun for the kids. You can add glitter while it is wet.

Ditto DB on the breakfast casserole. We make a huge dinner for Christmas Eve and then nibble on the the next day. All of our relatives live over 500 miles away, except my sister. We stay here and it is pretty low key. We did do the Chinese thing several years too. I miss the extended family but not the travel. We used to take the kids to our families, when they were little but with school and jobs…it is too tricky now. We ether got stuck in snow or traffic. Once we ate Christmas dinner on the airplane…not too fun.

Sort of related, I met author Janet Wong of Apple Pie 4th of July at at Literacy Conference. The books is about different ways American’s celebrate holidays. DB’s comment on Chinese Food made me think about it. Neat stuff!

Something neat, to me and this is an easy tradition I mentioned earlier. My daughter ( home from college) was shopping alone at the Mall on T. Yesterday she said, “Mom I heard the bell ringing for the Salvation Army and fished in my purse to get out some change but it was at Penney’s on the floor above me in the parking lot. I still take out some change to put in the bucket whenever I pass them.” My husband and I started this with our kids long ago and it has stuck. I mentioned this last week. Not everyone agreed but this is something we started when our kids were small. If it works for you…try it!

I talked to DB last week and told her that this time of year is low key for me, as my life does not involve the airport and suitcases. While many are scampering around and looking bleary eyed, it is a snap compared to my “normal” life…LOL.

motherjanegoose

December 10th, 2010
3:51 am

sorry for the novel…insomnia here!

new mom

December 10th, 2010
6:35 am

Hi y’all!

I have been making the rolo treats for years–I don’t know if it was me who shared it way back when or not, but we love them. One additional tip I’ll add to DB’s instructions (which were right on!) is to go ahead and sort through your pecans and count them out while your rolos are in the oven. That is one of the more time-consuming parts, and you don’t want to have to do that once your rolos are semi-melted and ready to be smoshed. I usually count the rolos from the bag at the very beginning, then count out pretzels and pecans. But I’m a bit of a nerd too…

I try to stay sane this month…but now with a 3 yr old and a 14 mth old, and nearly every weekend filled with back to back parties and events, it’s harder and harder for me to do lots of little extras. We’re taking the 3 yr old to see the nutcracker next week (thanks, groupon!) and just spending time with family. And taking lots of pictures!

Merry Christmas, in case I don’t have time to get back on here! :)

motherjanegoose

December 10th, 2010
7:58 am

Hey newmom….hope all is well! You are brave to take a 3 year old to the Nutcracker. My daughter and I started when she was about 10 and have enjoyed one performance each year at various locations. We just go to dinner together and then to the Nutcracker. Last year we went to the Cobb Civic Center and had dinner at the Marietta Diner and even looked at the lights at Life College.

Have fun and enjoy the show! My husband nor my son care for it, so it is just us girls.

Sorry for the grammatical errors with the apostrophes in my earlier post…too early for me!

JJ

December 10th, 2010
8:46 am

Hi NewMom – It’s nice to see you pop in here once in a while. I hope the babies are doing well.

Theresa – I buy Pillsbury sugar cookie dough in the rolls. The weekend before Christmas, I have a cookie party. My mom did this with us when we were younger, and now my daughter loves it. She invites all her friends, and we have a blast all afternoon. I roll the dough out on my counter, and cut the designs. Then I cook them, the kids decorate them. I found that Wal Mart has THE best prices on cookie decorations. Publix is about 3x the cost of WalMart.

We go to Nights of Lights at Lanier. About 15-20 of will pile into the back of a pick up truck and do the lights. We bundle up in blankets, mittens, scarves, etc. At the end we go to Santa Land, have hot cocoa, and roast marshmellows. My daughter always buys me an ornament at Santa Land. Then we go over to the fair and ride a couple of rides.

Christmas Eve morning, my daughter and I have our own little christmas. Then we all go down to my moms. Me, my daughter, my brother, the nieces. We get to her house around 2:00 in the afternoon, have cocktails, munchies and we put a puzzle together. Then we all eat a light dinner, and the kids get to open one present each. Then, after all that, we have more cocktails and we used to play Monolopy, a different version every year (we must have at least 8 Monolopy games). But now we play Tripoly and the kids just love it. Then, around 10:00 my daughter and her cousins get in the car, and drive up to my house, to let my dogs out. They come back, and we all go to bed. We get up in the morning, have coffee and enjoy the morning before we roust the kids out of bed. It takes about 2 hours for us to open presents, since we do it one at a time, so everyone can see what everyone else received. After that, we head to the kitchen. We all participate in cooking Christmas breakfast. I’m usually the photographer at this point. Mom’s kitchen is very tiny so trying to get all 6 of us in there is very funny, but it works.

Around 2:00 we clear out and head home and go see the neighbors.

JJ

December 10th, 2010
8:47 am

My post disappeared……

JOD

December 10th, 2010
8:53 am

Those Rolo treats sound dangerous! First and foremost, I will say that I hate smart phones and all of their cousins with a passion :o) No, really, I do – I’ve threatened to throw my husband’s under a bus more than once. The world could end while he’s on that thing and he would not notice! Grr.

Sorry…on topic. I do everything the old-fashioned way – lists. One of what to do to prep and one of menus that I use to create shopping lists. I LOVE planning the menus while my in-laws are in town. I do a big Christmas day dinner in the afternoon. I am a nut for breakfast casseroles, but the last couple of years I’ve done cinnamon rolls. Maybe I’ll switch it up this year to keep everyone on their toes.

Theresa – What is your frosting recipe? I’ve been looking for a simple recipe that doesn’t use shortening, but have almost given up…

@Newmom – We watch the Nutcracker On Demand with our 2yo and she was absolutely mesmerized. Enjoy!

Also, 2 words for making Christmas Eve ‘dinner’ – crockpot chili. Pair that with fresh bread and salad, and people can eat it before church, after church, whenever :o)

JOD

December 10th, 2010
8:57 am

Thinking about the Rolos reminded me of treats my mom made when I was little – I don’t think they have a name, but they are basically chocolate and peanut butter and oatmeal, and they are HEAVEN! If you google ‘no bake chocolate cookies’ you’ll find them, but that’s a terrible name for such chewy goodness! Has anyone else had these? I almost never make them since somehow they make my pants tight :o)

motherjanegoose

December 10th, 2010
9:04 am

JOD…I love chili ( we lived in Texas) but mine would be furious if we had that for Christmas Eve.
To each their own.

My daughter and I tried a new restaurant out for lunch yesterday, right near the MOG. We had just gotten a coupon in the mail. It is right across from another place we LOVE and used to cater part of her graduation dinner and also my husband’s 50th birthday party. When we got inside, a sweet lady next to us starting chatting with us and we mentioned the restaurant across the street. She replied, “Oh this is 10 times better than that.” We laughed and could not imagine it. After we ate…we were still wondering where her idea came from but I told my daughter, ” not everyone likes the same things and that is what makes the world go ’round.”

Perhaps everyone else WILL love chili….it would be great now when the weather here is pretty cold for us!

Alecia

December 10th, 2010
9:13 am

I pace myself and delegate whenever possible. When shopping I stick to a budget and use credit card points or any other freebies and buy on discount during the year. We bought a lot of items through Amazon this year. They had free shipping and their prices on video games and books were a lot better than the brick and mortar stores. However, the toys on my daughter’s list are evaluated. I try to avoid trendy toys that will get 15 minutes or less of play. She wants Video Girl, Zoobles, and Squinkies, which fall into the junk category. She will not get the Video Girl, and the smallest package in the store of Zoobles and Squinkies. The little items always make a mess or end up in the Land of Lost Toys.

BusyMom

December 10th, 2010
9:14 am

@motherjanegoose…tell us the name of the restaurant! We are always looking for new places and get tired of the same old chains!

JJ

December 10th, 2010
9:18 am

OK, I’m going to try this again.

Our traditions:

I do a Cookie party every year, and I have a plethora of cookie cutter shapes. I buy the Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough, in the rolls. Then I roll it out on the counter, cut the shapes, and everyone decorates the cookies. I buy canned frosting, and sprinkles, etc. I found they are very inexpensive at Walmart, 1/3 the cost of Publix. My daughter’s friends all come over and decorate. I start baking the cookies around 1:00 and they all show up at 2:00. My friends come too, and they bring more cookie dough and decorations. Everyone’s usually in a sugar coma around 5:00 so we order pizza for everyone….

We go to see Nights of Lights at Lanier. We meet at a church outside the Islands, and pile into the back of a pick up truck, all bundled up in jackets, mittens, scarves, blankets, etc. We stop at Santa Land, get hot cocoa, roast marshmellows, and ride the rides at the fair. My daughter sneeks into Santa Land and buys me an ornament for the tree. She buys me an ornament every year, as I do with my mom. My brother and I take turns buying the ornament every year. This year it’s my turn.

Christmas Eve, my daughter and I have our little Christmas morning. Santa comes the night before. We open presents to each other, and then we head down to my Mom’s, and my brother and his girls get there about the same time we do, usually around 2:00. We have cocktails and munchies, listen to christmas music and put a puzzle together. We have dinner, and nice sit down dinner cooked by Mom. Then the kids get to each open one present. Around 7:00 or 8:00 the girls all pile into the car, and they go up to my house, to let our dogs out. When the come back, we play a game. We used to play Monolopy, and different version every year. But last year, we decided to play Tripoly, and the kids just loved it. So that’s what we are doing this year.

We all spend the night at Moms, and the adults get up early Christmas morning, and just relax with coffee, and enjoying the tree, before we roust the kids up. Once they are up, mayhem ensues, but it’s organized. It takes us close to two hours to open presents, since we do it one at a time, so everyone can see what everyone else gets. We all go into the kitchen and start cooking breakfast, and I’m the one taking pictures. We sit to a nice breakfast. Then a few hours later, we all leave, head home to enjoy the rest of the day.

FCM

December 10th, 2010
9:18 am

Start PLANNING as you pack up this year…Seriously. Lable things so you find them. Make sure you go ahead and sort out things you used–take a digital photo of how the decor looked even and add to the box. Think about what worked and what didn’t.

Get a 3 ring binder and puts the notes (even copies of the digital photos)in the binder. Check out the SALES and replace/restock things for Christmas 2011 as you pack 2010 away.

THEN in SEPTEMBER get the binder out (I keep mine on my shelf in the office clearly labled). Start PLANNING 2011. Make list and calendars (on the computer) for OCT, NOV, DEC, JAN (2012 of course!)…so that you can map out the holiday and keep it organized. Start scouting sales…in Atlanta especially you can get good deals on winter stuff in OCT and unless you have a crazy cold snap (like say this week) you do ok. I have had a couple of dresses stored since August for Christmas…sweater dresses. My goal is to have the BULK done by Halloween and only a few odds and ends..with all done by Dec 12. I take a lunch break at Home Goods and Michaels at least once a week from Halloween until Thanksgiving. Same for the clothing stores that the kids like…and of course Target for video.

After Halloween go through the Christmas boxes…I close off my office and use that space…I do not open the boxes, I just start sorting them by like…tree stuff, outdoor stuff, etc into groups from the storage closet. Then Thanksgiving weekend (no black Friday shopping in the AM for me) I tear the house up redecorating everything….I mean bathroom to basement and back….This year with the new house I am a bit behind on house decor…I didn’t yet know where things go…I got most of it done LAST weekend and will finish the few parts (mostly clearing boxes) out this weekend.

Meanswhile my calendar has all the parties/events/appointments already mapped out in the binder. So really…I FLY through the holiday with less stress because all that is done….and I get to enjoy.

Hope that helps someone.

JJ

December 10th, 2010
9:19 am

OK I tried posting again…….nothing…..a’ll enjoy your traditions…..

Theresa I buy the pillsbury sugar cookie dough. I buy the decorations at Walmart, since they are about 1/3 the price of them at Publix.

FCM

December 10th, 2010
9:29 am

JOD–I cheat and use Betty Crocker whipped cream frosting or butter cream frosting when I give the kids the cinnamon rolls.

We make homemade cinnamon rolls–bread from scratch–for Christmas. Everyone likes them different at our house and it is the one time we do “made to order”. I got little loaf pans at Michaels about 3 years ago and 2 muffins is more rich than anyone needs so it works perfect…and each has something differnt (santa, raindeer, etc) so it is a matte of who’s rolls are in which pan.

My folks like sticky buns…so Karo in the bottom, with pecans.

I like raisins and pecans but no sticky or frosting.

My brother and his wife like no pecans, sticky or frosting. And my kids like this but with frosting. So we do theirs in a big pan and let them frost it on the plate.

That might work for you guys.

MJG–Marietta Diner is one of our favorite places to eat. We live closer now…but the pirogoies are to die for if you go again.

motherjanegoose

December 10th, 2010
9:39 am

@ FCM….your list made me tired but I am glad you are ultra organized and it certainly sounds like you have an incredible plan.

As I said earlier…this time of year is a SNAP compared to my usual life.

I am usually in the midst of planning parties but this year did not host any. I am “helping” a friend tonight but mainly just calling to check in if she needs something and reminded her of my cell and told her to call me for anything she may need. I gave her the paper goods a week ago and will bring several things.

While at the restaurant yesterday, we ran into a neighbor who asked: ” are you still having the Ladies Christmas Party this year” I replied, “No, the neighbor who has hosted it had her house flood and everything is all torn up….a pipe broke.” This neighbor LOVES to decorate and is usually thrilled to have it. The lady who asked is as sweet as can be and has been retired for several years.

We got in the car and my daughter says, “Mom, one of my friends called me too and asked if I was still having the party I have every year.” She and all her friends are at college and some are out of state. She also works and will babysit too.

I laughed and told her that we might be the only ones who ***can plan a party*** I guess not this year.

@ JJ…I am all about the pre-made dough too but I avoid Wal Mart like the plague. I used a coupon and double at Kroger or Publix.

@ Busy Mom…we love Mimi’s but the restaurant we visited was a new stir fry place this is right across the street from it at the MOG. I enjoyed it but I prefer Mimi’s as there are quite a few options plus breakfast lunch and dinner. Some people do not like Mimi’s.

Off to Kindergarten….have fun!

JOD

December 10th, 2010
10:03 am

FCM – You are super organized! We actually had the space this year to pull everything out and leave it out (in the basement) so I can organize when we pack up this year. Usually it’s just stuff and stow :o) I bet your cinnamon rolls, etc. are wonderful, and your cream cheese frosting is a great idea – thanks!

MJG – No one else cooks around here, so they don’t complain! Seriously, though, everyone’s pretty laid back around here and the Child is too young to complain yet :o) I imagine once she is older, she will be quite opinionated about what we eat and when!

JJ

December 10th, 2010
10:06 am

MJG – have you tried Ghengis Grill yet? My sister in law when the other night, and now it’s her favorite restaurant!!

I’m almost finished shopping for Christmas. Tomorrow will be my final day of shopping. On the 23rd, my Mom, daughter and I like to drive down to Lenox Mall to see how beautiful it’s decorated. Then we will head over to Phillps, just to check out decorations. If we are feeling frisky, we will head to Perimeter Mall and check out their decorations too……but all the shopping will be completed this weekend.

MJG – I hit Walmart very early, like around 7:30 a.m. No one is there and I can dash in and out rather quickly. Now that they have remodeled the Buford store, I like it even better, I used to go to the one in Suwanee. But once it hits about 10:00 NO WAY!!! I can’t stand those long lines…..

JJ

December 10th, 2010
10:06 am

New Mom – It’s good to see you pop in and out. I hope your girls are great, and you all have a Wonderful Merry Christmas!!!!

motherjanegoose

December 10th, 2010
10:14 am

JJ…that IS the name of it. Funny, while I liked it I was not THAT impressed. I have eaten in a lot of places but it is not on my top 20 restaurants. Who knew?

@ FCM…Marietta Diner IS on the radar! Now that place could get on my top 20!

I spent enough Christmases cleaning up at Wal Mart to give me nightmares. I rarely go there at all and when I do, I am reminded why I do not…LOL. My husband drug ( ?) me into the Buford store a few weeks ago. I wanted to wait in the car but he did not think it was a good idea.

Heading out the door now…for real.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

December 10th, 2010
10:37 am

OMG….just checked in and started reading until I grew a uterus and couldn’t fight off the urge to get a subscription to Martha Stewart Living. Have a great weekend folks.

bunch of yentas

December 10th, 2010
10:38 am

no drama

December 10th, 2010
10:39 am

Take your immediate family and go on vacation somewhere nice. Do not invite parents, in laws, cousins, aunts uncles, no drama, no arguments no fighting after excessive drinking, no arguing with spouse about in law families.

JATL

December 10th, 2010
10:39 am

@TWG -you can just buy the Pillsbury tubes of sugar cookie dough and roll it out and cut it. I’ve been doing that for years! I’ve been quite surprised at how much people ask for and love my Christmas cookies -and I’ve felt a little guilty about it -but it’s SO easy!

JATL

December 10th, 2010
10:45 am

I’m with bunch of yentas here -buy a case of your favorite wine as a “Merry Christmas to me” gesture and uncork those suckers with frequency! Actually I’m really enjoying these years with little kids who are excited about Santa, excited about trees and house decorating and lights and love to sing Christmas songs. My oldest is going to have his first Christmas program with his prek class next Tuesday at school, and I’m SO excited! The recorder is already charging!

Tech Grad

December 10th, 2010
10:57 am

usually a lurker….

On the Rolo recipe if you don’t like Pecans (like me) you can use plain m&m’s. I don’t eat a lot of chocolate but I love these.

Like FCM, I make lists (for everything) and I plan. I am organized so I have different items that go out in different storage bins (tree, fireplace, table, etc.). It definitely makes it easier. I have a couple gift cards to pick up but other than that we are all done. I like to spend December relaxing and enjoying my time with friends and family rather than dodging people in the malls.

JJ

December 10th, 2010
11:08 am

I have three rolls of cookie dough in my freezer right now, for my cookie party next week. My daughter is already threatening to bust into one. She begged me last night to make cookies….

@Bunch of Yentas – Where do you live, I’m on my way. Let’s have a Vodka together!!!!

FCM

December 10th, 2010
11:52 am

I just told someone…with 2 active daughters under 13…and being a single mom if I do not plan that far out I would never get anything done.

In fact this year when I started to put up “fall” (I do a Sept to Nov theme usually)…I realized I had been to tired to ever put up Thanksgiving pilgrims and stuff…LOL. We had the fall foliage and pumpkins etc…but that was all–I do that Labor Day weekend, which is also what gets me thinking about Christmas since I am in the storage closet.

The list sounds exhausting but since I map it out and do it over several months it is really not at all. I get to enjoy some things even.

In January (whatever weekend is near the 6th–points on the trivia game if they know why) I will put up the Christmas stuff 100%. AND since my “everyday decor”–the bric a brac, throw pillows, and stuff—has been shut in storage since Septemeber it is like getting a remodel decor wise…I did find when we moved that I have Easter stuff too…now I have no idea what that box has as I haven’t done Easter decor in years.

DB

December 10th, 2010
11:54 am

For about 10 years, when the kids were younger, we went to see the lights at Callaway Gardens on December 22-23rd. We’d stay in one of the villas on the grounds, I’d bring popcorn, marshmallows, pizza makings, games and a few other things. After the lights and wandering through the Christmas Village, we’d go back to the villa and have pizza, and then spend the rest of the evening playing games in front of the fireplace while roasting marshmallows, etc. It was intimate family time, and was a nice break from the hectic season. The next morning, we’d get up and go to the huge brunch they have at the Inn, and then we’d head home.

I wish I was a listmaker — but I just lose the list . . . !

DB

December 10th, 2010
11:57 am

Epiphany — the 12th day of Christmas :-) SCORE!

What, no Valentine decorations?

JJ

December 10th, 2010
12:17 pm

I have a friend who doesn’t put christmas stuff away until January 6., but she always called it Kings Day. Mine all comes down on January 1, Traditionally with my once a year hangover…..that’s just how I roll…..

motherjanegoose

December 10th, 2010
1:42 pm

Home from Kindergarten….

@FCM…we have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s and Easter decorations for our house here.

My husband and I just had a disagreement about the front door Christmas wreath, which has not yet surfaced. He and my daughter do most of the Christmas things together. He asked me where I PUT IT. I opened the front coat closet and pointed to the shelf with all the other wreaths that are stacked on top of each other and said, “here are the ones I put up…” Now, he is mad at me as he thinks I am acting like a smarty pants. We may have to buy a new one. Any ideas?

Yes, "Smarty Pants"...

December 10th, 2010
3:53 pm

…buy a new one….

motherjanegoose

December 10th, 2010
4:28 pm

@ Yes…I just found the wreath…not in the closet LOL. I grew up in a family that lived by
” a place for everything and everything in it’s place.” When I mentioned this to my husband…several yeas ago…he had never heard of it and thought I had actually made it up ;).

Last week we had a torrential downpour…we live about 5 miles from where the tornado hit near the MOG. I was home by myself and up to my ankles in water that was pooling and seeping into the basement because the leaves backed up. I called my husband to ask about a rake. It was not where he said it was and has not shown up yet. I shoveled leaves and acorns for 30 minutes while in my dress shoes and clothes. No time to really get to the store to buy a rake. I looked like I had walked into the shower fully dressed!

Sandra

December 10th, 2010
6:39 pm

Every year our kids each pick out a Christmas ornament (when they are little we chose it) and I put a small tag on it with their initials and the year. I usually put the tag on either before they are put on the tree or before I pack them up for the year because if I don’t I tend to forget. When the children are adults with families of their own, these will be given to them to start off their own Christmases with memories to add to over the years.

Sandra

December 10th, 2010
6:57 pm

Also, Every year we have the children each pick out a present that they would have liked to receive from a store and donate it to a charity for needy children (as above when they were little we picked it out). Even when we have been having hard times, we did it as we believe there is always someone less fortunate than us.

redhousecat

December 10th, 2010
7:23 pm

we do not participate in the commercialism or protocols of the holidays. We have no stress and no debt, freedom, and contentment. Life is good.

motherjanegoose

December 10th, 2010
10:20 pm

@ Sandra…we did the same thing! Our kids are 18 and 23 and our tree is packed with memories!
Love it!

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Sandra

December 11th, 2010
3:33 pm

MotherJaneGoose,

It is a lovely thing to do and even now when they are still young they enjoy putting their own special ornaments on the tree. The only problem I have encountered is that sometimes the kiddos don’t chose ornaments that are robust. The amount of paper I have to put around delicate birds, fairies and glass is huge but we have always said it was their own choice. Toys that we bought them last year are gathering dust in the corners of their room but their excitement every year when they see their ornaments never seems to lessen or fade. Since reading your post, I now have hope that it never will as it never has for your family. Thank you for your post!

motherjanegoose

December 11th, 2010
10:41 pm

@ Sandra…just back from the Nutcracker with my daughter. We have learned to use coffee filters to wrap our ornaments. Just buy a big package…usually less than $2.

We have all sorts of phases of our kid’s lives:

Barney and Ballerinas….Spiderman and Sports….we even have Tech and UGA ornaments as our son was first interested in Tech before he decided on UGA. My sister also buys them each an ornament, so you can imagine that we have quite the collection.

I bought my son a car key ornament when he first got his license and my daughter has some ornaments with cooking utensils as she loves to cook. We have NO plain ornaments and nothing matches but we do not care.

Each year, we laugh and remember. Hope you will too!

JATL

December 12th, 2010
6:24 pm

@Sandra and MJG -the ornament idea is so wonderful! My mother did that for me for 38 years until she died, and those ornaments are so wonderful and special to pull out and look at every Christmas. My husband and I have been doing the same for our boys. It’s a fantastic tradition!

Sandra

December 13th, 2010
12:55 pm

MotherJaneGoose and JATL,

I hope you get to read this.

I’m amazed to find out that at least two others on here do the same thing.

JATL, It’s great that your mom lives on because of the ornaments and a wonderful way to pass on those memories to your boys about their grandmother.

Yesterday my two daughters (four kids) picked out their ornaments, my youngest daughter (almost 3) picked out a teddy (I was very happy with that as it is break proof) and the eldest (almost 8) a gold sparkly shoe (will be break proof with the coffee filters as advised by MJG) but my youngest son (9) almost upset the apple cart when he looked like he was going to take a fancy to a twig squirrel. My mouth was opening and closing so much I must have looked like a fish. By the look of that thing, all the coffee filters in the world wouldn’t have protected it. Luckily he decided to keep looking.