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How to Prepare for Family Gatherings and Achieve a Cracking Outcome

Updated on November 2, 2017
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I love to write about family situations. Sometimes there are things that need to be said frankly and I hope you can see my point.



My philosophy has always been to be prepared and organised and now is the time to start thinking about the next family gathering, whether it be Easter a Birthday celebration or Anniversary or indeed Christmas. Not only do the advertisements everywhere tell us that we should start thinking and planning but our gut feeling tells us it's time to start writing those lists for that occasion!

I have lists for Cards, Presents, Food, you name it I put it down on paper! My reasons, I want everything to go as smoothly as possible when celebrating with the family and I want to enjoy it too.

I will always remember my first Christmas at home with my hubby and just our dog Sherry at the time (this is 31 years ago!) no children, but a huge family and the situations that presented me as a newly married lady with two sets of parents, which meant two sets of presents, two sets of fitting in visiting, two sets of feeding them and the overwhelming feeling of wanting to please everyone around me!

My family was huge back then and my parents had always been at the forefront of Christmas. My mum and dad would do everything in there power to ensure everyone was at their happiest!

Hence why I am paranoid about our Christmas in our family being as perfect as I can get it. That said, it doesn't matter how many lists I make something always presents itself and somehow rectifies itself without me having to do anything!

Our first Christmas consisted of my parents and my hubby and me. Easy you say, but don't you believe it! everything did not go swimmingly. Hubby decided to walk the dog in the rain, in the field behind us, (dog coming back caked in mud and soaking wet! Shaking over the enormous Christmas tree that my hubby had brought me after I told him I wanted the biggest Christmas tree that he could find and him responding with your wish is my command and not really thinking about the size of the lounge!) the turkey was to heavy for me to lift out of the oven and I dropped it! And my parents used the remark "we told you so" after telling me to wait for my hubby to return from the walk before trying to lift it out of the oven!

Ah! Those were the days, as much as I would not want to be in that position again and I plan everything to ensure that It doesn't happen again I would give anything to share that experience with my parents again!

So the lesson here is, planning can help but is not foolproof and my reckoning is that If you try your best to please everyone your Christmas may just turn out how you want it too, but if it doesn't then hey ho there is always next year and we learn by our experiences don't we?

They say Christmas is about sharing and loving (the receiving goes on the back burner for me, I don't need gifts to make me happy) and I believe that is true, if you are able to open your heart to everyone and be kind and loving and smile instead of fretting about everything your onto a Christmas to remember!

Tinsel, Tinsel everywhere!
Tinsel, Tinsel everywhere!
Oh so pretty!!
Oh so pretty!! | Source

Lets start with the Decorations

This part of Christmas is the best for me! I know really we should start with the Christmas Card writing or e-mailing or tweeting or facebooking our greetings but the decorations really do get you into the spirit of things!

Ok, so we need:-

THE FAIRY - the fairy in our house has been with us for 32 years! Yes, you read it right, 32 years. Every year she comes out of the box that she gets lovingly put away in at the end of the festivities and I start to get sentimental! If this fairy could talk she would have so many stories to tell!

I always say my first prayer when I put the fairy on the Christmas tree thanking God for my life and asking him to join us at Christmas! I think he is around us at Christmas because if he wasn't how we would have survived some of them I never know and here we are again another to prepare for!

Tinsel, now some people stick to a certain color for the tinsel but being british and very traditional I go flat out every color you can find, the sparklier the better! I also like to see it tossed in the grate of our fireplace, just throw it, let it land and hey presto, beauty! Oh, but be careful, remove the tinsel if the fire is alight! (Ok, i'm sure my readers would do that but before this gets edited I thought I had better write it!)

Baubles - I love my baubles I don't just use them on the Christmas tree I also put them into glass serving bowls, all different colors around the house, it looks so pretty!

Christmas Wrapping Paper - now a good tip for wrapping paper is to buy different colors in metallic so as when you look under the Christmas tree on Christmas day when everything is manic you can find the right Christmas present for the right person easily! It works a treat in my house.

Advent Calendars - Why I do it I will never know, but every year I buy my children (now adults) an advent calendar, my hubby and my lovely grandson one. This year I have decided I am not going to buy the adult's an advent calendar, why I hear you say, well they are all into health and fitness in a big way and I tend to buy so many different types of chocolate, you name it, quality street, roses, matchmakers you name it we have it and I really don't think they will miss it! Last year the grandson ended up having two and my hubby who is a chocoholic ended up having two, so decision made I am only buying two this year. Ill worry about the consequences of my decision later on the 1st of December!

Candles - I love candles at Christmas, especially Christmas Eve whilst I'm preparing the turkey and all the trimmings, my candles go on and the house looks like a grotto.

There is nothing more rewarding than receiving a Christmas Card through the post!
There is nothing more rewarding than receiving a Christmas Card through the post! | Source

Sending those greetings of Love and Goodwill at Christmas Time

Now as I said earlier I am very traditional when it comes to Christmas and I still send my Christmas Cards the old fashioned way, through the post! Get them written now ready to post later in December.

There is nothing more rewarding than finishing work and coming home to a pile of envelopes with goodwill wishes inside of them hence why I still do it this way, if I love it then I'm sure my friends and family will feel the same.

Now the younger generation and more computer literate of us may want to use the likes of twitter, facebook, e-mail you name it there are so many options these days! Even through You tube you can send your messages of love and goodwill to all!

I write my list around about now and then I spend a whole evening writing my cards, addressing the envelopes, applying the stamp and there you have it job done!

Now, this year my list has become a little smaller, reason being as you get older you lose friends and family, although I haven't written them a card there is something about the time that you set aside to write your cards that you find yourself remembering everyone that you have ever known and although you may become quite sad somehow you have to turn your feelings round and think to yourself those you have lost and loved would really not want you to be sad at Christmas time now hard I know but true!

Now you could always try making them!

Christmas Music

The CD's have to be found, now if your anything like me you would have learned that if you pack the cd's away in the Christmas dekky box at the end of last year there would be no problem finding them this year! My advice, look them out now, don't leave it until December when everything gets out of control!

Christmas Presents

I would say that most of us know that we only have one pay packet prior to Christmas and most of us but not all of us have prepared and put by a little for the pressies, haven't we? Well if it wasn't for my hubby I would be a total nightmare! I never look at my budget until it's too late, hence he wears the purse strings!

There is no need to go mad! Why do we all do it! We spend far too much on pressies! Get into debt and end up broke throughout January! It's ridiculous.

I say to my loved ones time and time again, don't go mad, something little, all we want is for you to be happy at Christmas. Do they listen, No.

My advice, be thrifty!

Oh and one more thing here, if you have youngsters who are asking for a particular toy that you would want them to have please, please, reserve it! Whatever you do there is nothing worse than a toy that you want for your little sweetheart being sold out because you haven't planned far enough in advance! OK the child doesn't show his or her disappointment too much but you as the parent will feel awful! Trust me, I have been in this situation and it wasn't nice at all!

Oh so many!
Oh so many!
Ahh the Turkey with all the trimmings!
Ahh the Turkey with all the trimmings! | Source
See my recipe hub for Christmas Cake, yum yum!
See my recipe hub for Christmas Cake, yum yum!

Thinking about the food and drinks

Now this is when it gets tricky, this is when I start to panic, this is what the making the list's part of my hub is all about!

It would be OK if Christmas was just Christmas Day but it isn't. Christmas starts in my family on Christmas Eve and goes through until the day after New Years Day. What this means is that I want to ensure that I have enough food for the family for that period, so if anyone drops by I have enough to feed them all!

Now is the time to start writing those lists, there is no need for them to be perfect but just started would do, break them down into each individual day and think about exactly what you may need for that period or in your case the reader however long Christmas lasts in your house and not forgetting the new year. I can tell you that this works as I have done it year after year after year, I start my list now and every time I think about something I add to it. By the time it is time to go food shopping I know without a doubt I have thought of everything.

Don't forget the Champers!!
Don't forget the Champers!! | Source

And finally....

With the lead up to Christmas approaching fast try to not forget the meaning of Christmas, something that I have to remind myself of every year!

The Lord's Prayer, AMEN

© 2014 Trudy Cooper


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