I love Christmas. It’s a time of family for me, a time to be together, laugh and eat excessively. I love the Christmas lights at night, the house being dressed up, singing Christmas Carols and the excitement and magic this all creates.
I was reading a blog I follow Part Time Monster and the post was about shopping efficiently at Christmas with some great ideas. It got me thinking about the way Christmas preparation has changed over the years for me.
So, just how do I prepare to create Christmas?
I’m a Christmas Eve girl. I love nothing more than battling the stores, smiling and greeting those other shoppers (many wearing a grimace) as they pass by me.
When my kids were younger I had to help Santa out in the toy department. As we never start Christmas organisation until December (due to my son’s November birthday) the first few days of December were a mad rush to fill the Santa List. I would scour the stores after work and on the first weekends of December and always found what was needed, even if it meant driving from shopping centre to shopping centres.
One year stands in my mind as I hunted down Bratz doll heads. My daughter wanted Yasmin ( the princess of Bratzs) but as a popular gift, I was having trouble finding it. I found Chloe first (blonde head) and decided a Bratz head in the wardrobe was worth two in a store and so purchased it and popped it up in the wardrobe (I’d return it for a refund if I found Yasmin). Hit the stores again still searching for Yasmin but found Sascha ( dark brown hair). Bought her and popped her up on the top wardrobe shelf. Again I trudged the eternal Yasmin search and found Jade ( black hair) – yes by now my wardrobe was an eerie place to walk into! This was when I began phoning frantically, finding Yasmin in a store far away. Hit the road purchased her with great delight (stashed her on arrival home in the wardrobe) and began the ‘returning of the Bratz Head’ pilgrimage.
( You can imagine the creepy wardrobe loaded with these )
Fortunately for me, Santa never visited again, so precision in gift choice was replaced with gifts purchased from a very long list. When Santa gave the gifts the children were very specific with their wants. Let’s face it, this man was magical so how could he not find a Yasmin or a Star Wars toy or a Thunderbird Island or a Barbie car.
And so my Christmas Eve food AND gift extravaganza was born. I only do a cold Christmas fare and so doing it on Christmas Eve seemed logical (it’s a true shopaholic’s delight in my opinion). Christmas Eve tradition started at literal crack of dawn. Our local Woolworths opened then and so I would push one trolley around and my kids would push another, loading them with all delights from seafood to ham to salads and treats. After that, with the cold food in eskies, we would have a quick breakfast at Maccas and then head home to organise the food into cupboards and fridges. I’d trek back to the stores then (this is still before 9 am so parking wasn’t an issue ) alone to purchase gifts. I lie a little about doing it all on Christmas Eve because sometimes I would purchase my children’s main gifts the day before. But, it was Christmas Eve for everyone else.
I still do it all Christmas Eve and I must admit I love the excitement – I always work best with a close deadline. My daughter gave up the food pilgrimage two years after Santa stopped visiting, in preference for extra sleep. My son and I still do the run, but the Maccas breakfast is replaced with a nice café one and then he drives off to work and I head home to unpack it.
Then in the evening I sit wrapping gifts before the whole family gather to watch Griswold’s Christmas Vacation. We are ‘Griswold’ in our own rights.
What’s your modus operandi for Christmas preparation?