General ramblings

Christmas 2013-the post-match analysis

January 6, 2014

Ooooh, this is a bit like Match of the Day. Only without Gary Linekar. Or any football….
OK, so is today Twelfth Night, or was it yesterday? I can never work it out.
But whatever, I hope you have de-decked your halls, and removed the holly (and the tree and the fairy lights).
If you need any pointers for recycling your Christmas, may I be so bold as to point you in the direction of this post from a certain blog (this one…) last year.

So, 2013.
How did it fare, in terms of Make Do and Mend, and Waste Not, Want Not?

Well, despite vowing after 2012 that in 2013 we would start our Christmas prep in September, needless to say we didn’t.
In fact, if anything, we were less organised than ever.
But I think we pulled it round.
No one was present-less, and the only things we (by we, I mean hubby-I just rolled my eyes at him) bought new were a torch and some glass cleaning cloths for my mother in law (lucky thing!)

We made less than last year, and bought more, but got pretty much all of it secondhand.
I hit lucky in the charity shops with various tat to put in the Small’s stockings, and BigSmall got some Hot Wheels Track and SmallSmall got a “Mac” from Lightning McQueen, both from good old E-Bay.

Of the things we did make, there was the ingenious make your own mugs,

I got over-excited and made my brother one too-this time with 3 different moustaches positioned around the top, so he can try out different styles of facial hair whilst having a drink :)

I got over-excited and made my brother one too-this time with 3 different moustaches positioned around the top, so he can try out different styles of facial hair whilst having a drink 🙂

and the resultant hot chocolate kit; the painted plant pots and the herb kit thing; I made hubby stollen (which was delicious and we had for breakfast on Christmas morning-I am never buying Stollen again) and peanut butter fudge, and there was the minor disaster that was the homemade face scrub. For the teachers at school, I tarted up some jam jars with some lace and planted them with hyacinths, and then everyone else who needed a little something, got a bag of Christmas pudding fudge. We made my Dad a hamper of cheeses and some homemade pickles-I was going to make some cheese biscuits too, but failed to communicate this to hubby, who went and bought some.

In return, I got some books-Mollie Makes Crochet and the Primrose Bakery Celebration Cakes books both enticing me on to more making in 2014!
My mum always used to go a bit mad at Christmas, especially buying things for the Smalls, and last year it drove me mad. However, this year, I would have dearly loved her to be around to get mad at.
So, there may well have been a few less presents than in previous years, but I don’t think the Smalls noticed at all.
I suggested to my dad that both of the boys would really like some one on one time, so he did them both a very sweet letter, inviting them individually out for the day later on in the year. I am so pleased he did this-I think it will bring each of them far more benefit than yet more toys.
And then they got some clothes, and inevitably, more toys, but it did all feel a bit more under control.

Which brings us to the food.
I tried really hard not to go over the top. But we still ended up with more than enough food for us to eat.
BUT I am pleased to report that not a scrap has been thrown away!
The turkey leftovers were eaten cold, made into a ham and turkey pie, and the inevitable turkey curry.
We only got a very little ham, so this was all eaten after I made the pie, but then my mother in law presented we with the last of hers, so we are having that tonight in a quiche, topped with the last of the posh smoked cheese 🙂
The last bits of cranberry sauce and a few rogue chestnuts got chucked in a slow cooker casserole yesterday, and the cake and mince pies will be gone by tonight!
My favourite bit of ingenious left over use, was the other half of the tin of condensed milk from the hot chocolate things on sticks, mixed with a half pot of cream that was lingering in the fridge and the rest of the toffee sauce I made especially for the Smalls and they then spurned (so ungrateful!). I did the only honourable thing, and made it into a toffee ripple version of the ice cream I made back last summer-it is DELICIOUS!!

In a fit of organised-ness (not a word I know), we (when I say we, I mean hubby. I was busy doing other things, probably blogging…) have already MADE the cards for next year, from this year’s cards, and yes, I am feeling slightly smug.
The lampshade tree has been dismantled

Lampshade tree2-we left the ribbon wound around in case we want an easy option next year, and the wreath has been de-greened, leaving just the willow frame to use again next year.

All in all, not a bad effort.
I am still pretty torn by Christmas. On the one hand, I want to make a firm stand against consumerism and this compulsion to buy yet more stuff, just because it’s Christmas, and I want to be all kind of Little House on the Prairie and just enjoy the ‘quality time’ together. But on the other hand, it is Christmas, and we have kids, and like it or not, in the eyes of kids (well mine anyway, or maybe that’s my fault) Christmas=presents.
It is hard. I guess the key is to try and find a balance. I am not good at balance, but I am learning…

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  • Reply mehubbyandthekids January 7, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Jen your Christmas sounds lovely. Love the letter thing your dad did. That is worth so much more than toys.

    Yes children do expect presents but I think you did very well. The Smalls got presents and you got a clear (ish) conscience (do we ever get a clean one as mums?)

    • Reply Jen January 7, 2014 at 9:52 pm

      Thankyou!
      You are right, a guilty conscience seems to come with the job.

  • Reply Angel Jem January 6, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Oo er! Your Christmas sounds like a good balance. It’s true children expect presents but probably don’t enjoy them all at once. I mean its better to have a few and space them than have many all crammed onto one day. We stretch small presents out for a week with useful things like gloves toothbrushes and a craft kit. And only for the kids: our gifts are all gone by Boxing Day.

    • Reply Jen January 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      Sounds like you have a good balance too!

  • Reply Vivienne Downes (@VivienneDownes) January 6, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Love the letter from Grand Parent promising a one-on-one day out for a Christmas present that sounds like a quality idea to me & one I will be duplicating … thankyou x

    • Reply Jen January 7, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      No problem 🙂

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