Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Note to 2016 Christmas Self

Hey you, it's...you.

I know that you're going to get that little butterfly of excitement for the holiday season when October comes around.  You'll have had a year between holidays to forget how ugly it got this year.  It's kind of like childbirth..."a pain you forget" like they all say.

Well, I'm here to remind you that if you don't take some precautions, you're going to be doing a repeat of this year.  That included lying in your bed on the 22nd, sobbing, unable to breathe through your nose from snot, screaming "I don't want to do Christmas this year.  Cancel EVERYTHING!" and considered vacationing alone for Christmas next year.

Here are some lessons learned and things you can hopefully do to make next year more manageable because you and I both know you're not going to slow down during the holidays unless you're physically unable to do so.

1.  Freeze your doughs at the end of October or November.  Trying to do that in December is a lot to do even though it only took 2 days.  They're going in the FoodSaver (affiliate link)  so the taste won't be affected.  However, remember anything with brown butter does NOT freeze well and loses the flavor you worked so hard for so make those brown butter chocolate chip cookies within a day or two of baking.  Not only will those lose the brown butter flavor, they flatten out once frozen.  Remember you can also pre-make icing and run them through the FoodSaver so you don't have to do 4 different kinds for different things.

2.  Freeze 2-3 meals that you can have the Mr warm up.  You tapped out on dinner a few times and it resulted in some ugliness.  So to make sure everyone is happy, a few frozen meals could go a long way in not killing each other and not resulting in a fast food run or eating cookies for dinner in a moment of "eff it."

3.  Sleep on it.  There will be times in the middle of the chaos you want to tap out and make extreme decisions about people and what you have planned the next day.  80% of the time your spirit was renewed the following day.  For the other 20%, tread lightly, think ahead and if it still sticks then go with your gut.

4.  When people say and do stupid sh*t, step away from the situation.  Depending on what your stress meter is at when said stupidity rears its head, you will either grin and bear it, give fair warning they need to back off or tear the hell out of someone.  Remember when your heart rate went to about 177/120?  You took a walk and felt better.  Do that even if you have to walk out in the middle of a conversation with an offender.  Your sanity and staying out of jail are more important.

5.  Stop trying to make holiday memories with people who could care less.  It's their loss, spend precious December days with people who appreciate your efforts and time.  If they don't make merry themselves, they don't have time to make idle people merry.  (Sorry, I lapsed into A Christmas Carol ...Patrick Stewart version (affiliate link))  Take a hint and save your money.

6.  Pre-bag cookies for delivery people.  Every time you saw a mail or delivery person, it was too late to throw together a bag for them because they're on a schedule.  Pre-bag, press and seal them and have 'em by the front door in the little reindeer bag.  Then maybe the mail lady won't try to steal your printer next year.

8.  Don't feel guilty for taking Christmas back.  I know you are going to feel weird initially about not being with your family Christmas Day and you're probably going to get a lot of crap for it from family. (Which at that point will be easy to say "see! This is what I'd be missing!  No thanks!")  Try to remember what the last few years have been like that day.  The hosts are visibly tired, stressed and just want the house back to themselves.  The rest of the visit is seeing who gets the "short straw" on tending to Grandma the whole time while her husband ignores her or complains to anyone who will listen about what a task he is choosing to take on.  Top that off with people who may or may not be under the influence of substances and will corner you no matter how far you try to run.  This is not how anyone should spend Christmas.  You will still see them a few days prior, you will still make merry with your mother.  Get back to the reason for the season and enjoy new traditions next year.  You're losing your Christmas spirit...you were not put on this Earth to be a Grinch.  There are too many people already in line for that job.

9.  Stop trying to make cinnamon rolls from scratch for Christmas morning.  Look, I know the bakeries around you suck for cinnamon rolls but what's worse is when you put that pressure on yourself to make them and fail to get the taste you wanted.  You and yeast don't mix.  Get the memo.  Buy them elsewhere and doctor if necessary.

10.  You were so frazzled from this holiday, you forgot to list a #7.  This illustrates why things need to change.

11.  Don't buy EVERY bag of Christmas candy out there, your stocking was ridiculous and you ate it ALL!  You threw away the Crunch bells when you realized the chocolate tasted off but yeah, you went WAY overboard and you both felt like you were going to barf for 5 days between the stockings and cookies.  Remember the Mr's sugar migraine?  Remember doing a workout and you sweat sugar cubes?

12.  Don't EVER be too lazy to change the channel on the Music Choice Sounds of the Season channel.  You actually hated Do They Know It's Christmas by the third week of December.  This especially applies when Justin Bieber or Clay Aiken comes on.  You need to exercise.  Stop what you're doing and change that crap!  It filled you with hate.

13.  Water is CRUCIAL!  For whatever reason, you stop drinking it almost altogether every year and you pay dearly for it.  Remember those gross chapped, dehydrated lips?  Remember your uh...'issues' in the lavatory?  Don't be an dork...hydrate!

14.  Take your probiotics!  Another thing you skip out on is taking these and your immune system takes a hit every time and you spend the holiday or New Years Eve sick and unable to celebrate.  BE SMART!  This and water should help keep you healthy even if your eating schedule is off.

15.  Don't forget to re-read this about October 15th next year.  Seriously, go set the mail reminder and link to this.  You will thank yourself.

What would you tell your 2016 holiday self that you learned from this year?

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  1. The lack of a #7 cracked me up!
    I love this list idea and will staple one to the back of October in my 2016 calendar(when I get one!)

    1.) Google "cutting a spiral ham" or you will have ham strip on Christmas for the third consecutive year.
    2.) Buy the Charades clues instead of relying on your once creative friend to supply them.
    3.) Buy the tree from Menards, they take up less room and are just as pretty. Put it in the back of the 4runner instead of trying to tie it to the top in the freezing cold.
    4.) Don't order gifts from Zazzle.com
    5.) Remember to put a note in the box of shipped presents if someone's is coming late.
    6.) Put a pair of fuzzy socks in all gifts for women, they love them.
    7.) Never count on getting a cool calendar from your brother in law even if you have for the past 17 years!
    8.) Force your child to select flight dates by the end of September.(better put the list at the end of September!)

    9.) Embrace changing up traditions, best Christmas since Hubs passed!
    Enjoy your day!

  2. This type of a list should be a Christmas tradition! Eventually we'd all have this Christmas thing figured out if we remembered to do a list every year.

  3. No matter how great the idea is, don't start working on a homemade gift after Dec 1. Just don't.

  4. I think your list is a great idea. You are so busy by mid-November that having the doughs made by then makes a huge amount of sense.

    My Christmas was actually pretty good. Low key, just my folks here for a few days. Nothing I really need to change, except I do need to make my cookie doughs ahead too instead of trying to do it all in one day. Then I need to make a list of people who are getting them so I make sure I have enough pretty containers instead of handing them out on paper plates. Yeah, tasty but not pretty.

    It's over though. I hope your conversation with your mom goes well and that she'll support your decision.


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