Last year we had the simplest of Christmas and winter holiday celebrations. We attended a few small parties and my husband’s big winter work gala, met up with friends to take our children to meet Santa (Father Christmas as they say here) in a medieval castle and then we went to Edinburgh for five days.
On Christmas day our son opened one present and we went to the zoo.
I can’t recall what dinner was but it was homemade and it wasn’t turkey.
It was a wonderful and stress free holiday season.
I’m thinking back to last year as I make plans for this holiday season. Even though they will be quite different experiences.
We’ll be on island, I’ll be very pregnant and we have a three year old that understands gift giving and receiving. There are lots of Manx events we want to see and go to. We should, fingers and visa permits crossed, have a visitor here for the holidays. We’ll have our first real Christmas tree to decorate.
What worked for us last year:
- Planning meals: I preordered a grocery delivery for our stay in Edinburgh and meal planned for our five day holiday. It was nice to just enjoy our surroundings instead of hunting down a grocery store that was open Christmas Eve. I’ll do the same this year making note of the evenings we’ll be out at events and parties.
- Spacing out gift opening: Henry opened one gift on Christmas Day and when we returned home he opened one gift, or set of of gifts, once a day (he ended up with three days of gift opening).
- Connecting with our families: I love you, Skype. It was so nice to see and hear our families back in Canada over the holidays. It’s when we feel the distance, and the downside, of our ex-pat life most.
What could have gone better last year:
- Decorating: we had a few decorations left from the previous tenants in our old place but the festive look to our little flat came from sound more than sight (I was playing the Micheal Buble Christmas album on repeat). Because we were going away I didn’t feel a huge need to decorate and while I made good use of our mistletoe spring, I missed having a tree. We’ll have a real! live! Christmas tree this year and Henry and I will make some homemade decorations.
- Researching Holiday Events: I found out about the mini Santa Train after the tickets had sold out. Not this year. I’ve looked through the local calendar and made a list of the things we’d like to see and do. We won’t get around to all of them obviously but I’m excited to fit in what our schedule and stamina allows.
With this in mind I’m crafting out our holiday plan and calendar.
Nothing is set in stone but I hope to watch Operation Petticoat with my sister whilst nibbling on homemade Poppycock.
We’re researching where we can give locally to help other families have a great holiday season.
I’m ambitiously taking on making a cardboard playhouse as a big gift for Henry and working on a Christmas Day meal plan that doesn’t leave me chained to the kitchen for eight hours on the day of.
This week I am posting off a package of holiday treats to family in Canada.
Small tasks and goals that should leave us with lots of relaxing time as the winter holiday season ramps up.
Did you simplify gift giving and events last year? What worked for you? What will you change this year?