Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Christmas "To Do" and "To Don't" List

Tsh Oxenreider of The Simple Life shared a post last week that really resonated with me - it was a summary of her to dos and her to don't. I thought I would play along and share my Christmas "to do" and "to don't" lists. Like everything in life, all these decisions are "you do you!" Undoubtedly, there will be things on my to do list others skip and things on my to don't list that others couldn't imagine skipping!

To Do:

- Put up a tree. We did put up a tree this year after taking the year off last year. Paul has done really well with it. I put "kid-friendly" decorations on the lower branches of our (fake) tree. He has taken some of them off and played with them but that's fine with me since they aren't breakable. When I put the tree up earlier this month, he kept saying "wow!" with the cutest little voice, full of wonder! He hasn't touched any ornaments since those first few days so has handled it really well!

- Outdoor greenery. For the first time ever, I decorated the outside of our house - all thanks to my mom! She decorated 2 planters and our 2 window boxes. I also hung a wreath on our door and Phil hung another one on the peak above our porch. I love how festive our house looks!

- Cookie decorating party. I made time for a cookie decorating night with my college friends and their kids. We start planning in October since calendars fill up so quickly. I took last year off from hosting as I was too overwhelmed with work + caring for an infant. But I'm back at it this year! I hosted everyone on Friday night. It was loud and chaotic, but really fun. The kids did a gift exchange and the adults did one as well. It was a really fun night!

The kids have gotten so big! 
My friend's son Wyatt was happy to unwrap Paul's gift for him. Paul had no interest in unwrapping his gift

- Making time for family. We are not traveling this Christmas as we'll see my family in January at my parents' 50th anniversary resort weekend. But Phil has local cousins who always invite us to their house for Christmas Eve. These cousins are the nephews of Phil's late father. One of the cousins has everyone over around 6pm which isn't the ideal time to go to a gathering with a toddler that usually goes to bed at 7, but one later bedtime won't matter in the long run. So we are going to mass with Phil's cousin and his family and then will go to their house for a few hours. I really appreciate that they include us. Not every family would invite their extended family to a family celebration (3 brothers, their mom, and the grandkids gather each Christmas) but I think they recognize that Phil and his mom have limited extended family. We always feel really welcomed and Paul gets tons of attention as Phil's cousins' kids are all in college or older (Phil is the youngest cousin).

To Don't:

- Outdoor lights. Even though I would love to have lights on our house, we don't. Phil is not on board with it nor does he want to pay a company to put lights up. If I felt strongly enough about this, I could put some on our front porch area but I don't care that much! Maybe next year when I'm less overwhelmed with moving/settling in, I will put some lights up before the cold weather hits. We'll see.

- Buying much for Paul. We are not buying much for Paul for Christmas. This is not because we are miserly. We just acknowledge that Paul is too young to understand and appreciate gifts. We'll focus more on gift-giving when he is a bit older. This year, we bought him a 2nd-hand train table off Facebook market place for $35. It came with some trains and train tracks. We've asked family members who plan to buy him a gift to consider buying things for the train table. He loved playing with the train table at a toy store we visited last summer so hopefully he enjoys this gift! Besides the train table, we will get him some books for his stocking.

Playing with a train table at a toy store in August

- Exchanging gifts as a couple. Phil and I are not gift people. It's the dead last love language for both of us. So we don't exchange gifts for anything - Christmas, birthdays, or our anniversary. We tend to view our vacation spending as a "gift" to each other. So our Florida trip in February will be our gift for birthdays/Christmas. We used to go out for dinner for our birthdays but that has gotten challenging with a toddler so we often will order in instead. We do try to go out to dinner for our anniversary!

- Santa visit. It's hard to get him to sit on the laps of his grandparents so I know he'd scream if we tried to put him on Santa's lap (I can't blame him - it is a strange old man!). I know those screaming photos can be funny but I can't bear to watch him scream and reach for me. :/ We'll take him to Santa once he's old enough to understand the concept and shows some interest in going.

What are some things on your to do and to don't list?


katielookingforward said...

I don't have a specific list, I haven't had a tree for myself ever, but I justify that because I'm not actually at my place for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I do have 2 nativity sets that I put up (thanks for the hand me downs mom!). I think skipping presents is just fine, I asked the person I'm dating if we could skip, and he insisted (on the premise of one of us would still be buying a gift and the other would feel bad). But now he's struggling with what to buy me, and I have had his gift wrapped for weeks. Hopefully in the future he gets on the "no-gift" train!

Marlys said...

I love the wreath at the peak of your porch - it tops off the rest of the decorations!
That is so nice of Phil's cousins to include you in their festivities!
We will have a quiet Christmas this year, but will be looking forward to our family gathering in January, so not feeling sorry for ourselves at all.
I'm not going to do much baking this year, except for my usual candy that I always make and use as gifts, too. I am also baking one batch of cookies for our Christmas Baskets at church that we give to elderly and families who have had sickness etc. Paul may not be happy about no gingerbread cookies, but he'll survive!
Paul is doing so well with your tree! How about Oscar? Sometimes pets can really wreck havoc with trees!

Stephany said...

A "to do" and "to don't" list is so smart, especially around the holidays as things can get crazy! I love that you married someone who also doesn't rated "gift giving" highly as a love language. That makes it easy! (And no hurt feelings.) I also totally understand about not seeing Santa, especially when he's so young. It's probably so scary for toddlers!

On my list, let's see... to do: make Christmas cookies, decorate my apartment for Christmas, buy lots of presents, and watch all of my favorite Christmas movies (Elf, Christmas Vacation, The Santa Clause, etc.) To don't: buy presents for extended family/most of my friends, put up lights on my balcony (too difficult for me to do on my own!), and have a real Christmas tree. 

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

So funny about the outdoor lights. Growing up my dad was always a big no on them (basically just didnt want too) but ever since my brother and I moved out, my parents do lights. This is the first year we are doing lights. Anthony and Isla picked some up from Michaels the day after Christmas last year with the plan to do them this year. Then they spent a Saturday constructing a 'house' to hide the plugs or something (i didnt listen well, just ooh and ahh over final product!) and then put some on our front bushes. Alexa turns them on 20 minutes after sunset and at whatever time she got programmed to turn them off. They have plans to buy another stand this year to add on to our railing next year. Before this, Anthony was bah humbug about it all. We do not go wild over gifts either. We have so many people who love on our kids that gift them stuff that there never really is a need for much else. It's a lot of experience gifts and thigns that are maybe a need or books. Isla's first xmas we rewrapped shower gifts so we could have photos. :) Adeline is getting a new car seat because i got it on a lightning deal and it will be the seat that she uses for the next 5 years after she outgrows the infant seat! And Isla thinks she will ask Santa for a crinkly toy for her, so i ordered one of those off Amazon ha! One tradtion we have is going out to look at Christmas lights around town one Friday night. I am going to put it on the calendar for next Friday,and hope the newborn cooperates! We are making/decorating cookies with my mom this weekend. Oh Isla has an advent calendar but we always forget about the thing and forget to move it. She got that from my MIL years ago and it is just a nuisance. Big don't for me ha!

Jeanie said...

I hadn't really thought about a do and don't list. I think one do would be to go to the Festival of Trees, which I've missed for a few years. You've given me good food for thought -- I see smart choices here!

Gracie said...

Oh man, I have a year before I have to think about it, but I am dreading the baby Christmas gifts. I love my in-laws, but they DROWN the grandkids in huge gifts each year, and I am not cool with that! Kids don't need all that stuff, especially when they're little!
Christmas to-do: Our annual week-day off to celebrate together with lunch at Commander's Palace (although I won't be enjoying the $0.25 martinis this year, the Commander's lunch time claim to fame).
Christmas to-don't: I normally have my friend and her family over to decorate gingerbread houses, but this year we're just having dinner. We are both very busy in December and they can only stay for a short visit, so we're skipping that tradition. We might bring it back next year, or we might find a new tradition!

San said...

I love this list, it's good to set priorities around the holidays.

While I love giving (small, meaningful) gifts for Christmas, Jon and I usually don't exchange gifts as a couple either.

Amber said...

I like the idea of making a list like this! I honestly can't really think of any specific "to don't" for us. Some years we don't send cards, but that's more me not getting around to it then prioritizing not spending time or money on it. I guess something we don't do is getting a real tree, though again not opposed to it we just have a really nice fake tree we got on sale several years ago that does the trick! We had a real tree one year and I did love the smell but didn't love the mess of the pine needles.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

- Buy gifts for each other, but we focus on consumables or books/music/necessities
- Give ourselves permission to order in, eat in front of the TV, and just not worry about fussing too much, since it's an insanely busy time for Christopher and a pretty busy time for me

- Put up Christmas lights outside. I never want to do this, as I think it's dangerous for me or Christopher to do it, and there is no way we are paying someone, and I just don't care enough about this.
- Buy a real tree - I think it's a waste of money to buy a new tree every year. We have a tree, and will probably have that same tree 20 years from now, haha!