‘Tis (almost) the season to deck the halls and jingle bells, but first, let’s get some prep work done!
Last year, I noticed that my husband and I were so busy trying to get all the pre-Christmas household and outdoor jobs done, as well as the load the festive season plonks upon all of us, that we really didn’t enjoy the lead up to Christmas the way we usually do.
Yep, being a grown-up can certainly suck at times! But I think that just because it is a busy time, doesn’t mean you should cram it all in and do everything last minute.
I don’t want to miss out on the enjoyment of taking my time selecting a special gift, wrapping it in bright paper and then watching my children ogle the parcels with the delicious anticipation of finally seeing what’s hidden inside on Christmas day!
So how will I make time for everything this year? Do some of it early of course!
It’s close enough to Christmas now that you’re able to get in and get some of the big jobs done without all your efforts disappearing before your family and friends arrive.
1. The Toy Cull
This is a clandestine operation in our house. Our boys are old enough to have growing interests in ‘big kids’ stuff, but mention the possibility of passing some less-played-with toys onto someone else and suddenly, those prized possessions can absolutely not be parted with…ever.
So, I secretly put a few things at a time away and if I haven’t been asked of their whereabouts for a few weeks, then usually, they’re good to go especially all those bloody happy meal toys!
2. Springtime Freshen-Up
The words, ‘Spring Clean’ strike fear into the hearts of many, bring tears to the eyes of tired mums and have most of us considering splashing out hard-earned cash for a cleaner. I’m all of the above. So, I’ve adopted the art of the Springtime Freshen-Up, which to some may be the equivalent of popping a bandaid on a surgical incision, but for me, will absolutely do until the kids move out.
The cobwebs get vacuumed, the skirting boards, kitchen cupboards and couches get a wipe down (baby wipes all the way for wierd couch stains, yay!) maybe even a steam clean depending on planets aligning in my favour! A quick dusting of the bookshelves, photo frames and TV cabinets ticks all the boxes for me. It even looks to have made a bit of a difference!
3. Get Your Dirty On
We all have different priorities when it comes to preparing for social gatherings at our homes. Some take on decorating duties, while others get the eskies hosed out and filled with ice. We all have our ‘thing’. My ‘thing’ is cleaning the toilets…making food and drink comes in a close second!
My husband’s ‘thing’, I found out the morning of our son’s first birthday party, is to ditch the to-do list and go weed the garden! If, like us, you don’t get into your dirt patch as often as you would like and have a fair few weeds to yank, definitely, consider getting your thumbs green and spruce the place up a few weeks before your gathering.
4. Space Out
If your spare space is limited, you may have done a bit of rearranging before the extra bodies arrive for Christmas lunch. It doesn’t necessarily mean moving your entire lounge onto the veranda, but stashing a couple of beanbags and toy boxes in the cupboard for a week or two might give you the little bit of room you need.
Speaking of room, if you have a spare one or a foldout couch, make it up much earlier than you’ll need it. You may not be planning to have guests overnight, but in the event of Aunty Bev having a couple of um, bevvies, it might be just the ticket…and no one wants to be flicking out sheets for your tipsy Aunt any night let alone Christmas!
5. Rain Dance
You might not have done one, but the neighbours may just have busted out the wild weather moves after a couple of egg noggs and next thing you know, it’s raining on your parade. Or Christmas bbq.
And rain in our country, frequently accompanies storms in summer, so have a storm prep plan that you can all execute quick as a flash.
Know tricks like how to unclip your trampoline nets so it doesn’t go flying across the yard, destroying their new toys and your mummy downtime in the process.
6. Shindig’s List
I love lists. In fact, I’d say I’m a list-aholic. Sometimes, I even remember to take them with me when I go to do the things on said list. Come an expensive time like Christmas, it’s so beneficial to have a list (or spreadsheet if you’re fancy like that) to make sure you don’t buy unnecessary items, buy double-ups or forget the essentials.
A detailed list of food, drinks and presents required means you can start putting things aside now ready for the big day. It also means you won’t have to make a last-minute corner store stop on the way home for $25 worth of condensed milk and choc buttons because you forgot them at the supermarket you left 10 minutes previously. Been there. Lucky the coconut ice balls were fantastic!
7. Pants Off Friday
This is a big one. The cleaning out of the fridge and pantry. Why is it pants off you ask?
The answer is simple – if I can see my thighs whilst sorting and cleaning out food, I am very unlikely to eat any of it…and why on a Friday you may also ask? Just seems a good day to walk around the house with your pants off really!
A clean fridge always makes me want to fill it with good, delicious food and a pantry that you can actually see into makes it so much easier and inspiring to get amongst it in the kitchen!
Don’t attempt to fit any Christmas goodies in until you do this or you may risk not finding them until next Easter.
8. That’s A Wrap!
Each year, our boys receive beautifully wrapped gifts.
Thoughtful on the inside and outside. It’s plain to see the time and care that has been taken in the selection of gift wrappers and ribbons. These gifts are not from us.
Their generous (and child-free) uncle and his partner are the culprits for setting this ridiculous wrapping standard! Though I thoroughly appreciate and envy their efforts, I am probably always going to stick to alternating between the two rolls of Christmas wrap I pick up at Aldi.
It is what it is! The difference I want to make this year is to wrap presents as I buy them (they’re on the list so I don’t forget the contents) and actually enjoy the process of wrapping each gift instead of doing a massive bulk-wrap the week before Christmas and writing all the names on in sharpie marker.
We all love seeing the pressies under the tree, with it’s pretty lights on, and how nice it will be to be able to appreciate it a bit longer…if I can just get myself organised a little earlier this year!