Yesterday we had our now-traditional Christmas prep day. We always try to do this the Sunday closest to the start of December, and I block a day out in the calendar to make sure it's not eaten away by other seasonal busyness. The kids have been excited about it for weeks, and I was looking forward to it too - I really enjoy Christmas, even more so now I have children, and a day to get the ball rolling strikes me as a fun use of Sunday.
Christmas prep day for us includes:
- Making Christmas ornaments - this year, we made cardboard pop-up figures from books my Mum had given the girls;
- Listening to Christmas music
- Making our Christmas lists and writing letters to Santa
- Doing our first round of Christmas baking and cookie decorating (we make shortbread and gingerbread, both gluten free, as gifts for the girls' teachers and coaches across all their various activities)
- The main event: putting up and decorating the Christmas tree!
In years when I've been more organised, we've also written and addressed cards on this day, but this year, owing to my failure to procure cards last week due to a complete brain freeze at the shops, where, as well as forgetting about cards, I also neglected to buy milk, bread and bananas (but somehow remembered chocolate, olives and pork roast :-) I blame it on the Month of the Words occupying my mind, and the concomitant lack of sleep that's gone along with it. Never mind, we'll get to the cards this coming week.
Christmas prep day was, once again, enormous fun. It's become a very special day in our family year - maybe almost as much as Halloween or Easter Sunday, in terms of the kids' level of excitement and anticipation. (Nothing, naturally, gazumps Christmas Day itself!)
We started with a big clean-up of the house, on the premise that the tree takes up a lot of space and a big swathe of clean space is the best way to start. I've found that with family clean-up efforts, making a list of jobs to be done and letting everyone self-select from the list is the best and least stressful way to proceed. My list was heavily annotated by A and E, who got into the spirit of the thing and actually did a fine job.
Then it was a matter of enjoying ourselves, making cardboard decorations, mixing dough to chill, eating a scratch lunch of sausages in bread and sliced avocado (the kids thought that was hilarious), erecting and decorating the tree, and doing our lists and letters. We listened to the Crash Test Dummies' Christmas album, Colin Buchanan's Christmas album, and a rather cool collection I picked up years ago called Christmas with the Rat Pack, featuring a lot of Sinatra.
All in all, a lovely start to the festive season in all its overscheduled glory. Now it's just a matter of finishing the shopping, getting to all the events, getting Santa photos done, helping out with a few charitable endeavours (very important to us at this time of year), and shedloads more baking. (All deferred now til AFTER I hit 50,000 words on NanoWrimo :-)
This post is part of NaBloPoMo. 28 down, 2 to go!
RIP, Nelson Mandela
48 minutes ago