December is upon us. For many of us, that means we are in the midst of holiday prep. This is our first Christmas with the kids in Alberta. We are excited about celebrating the holidays with the grandparents here at our acreage. (I’m crossing my fingers for a white Christmas)
In late October, I order the supplies I will need to make my holiday greeting cards. I like get a start on my handmade holiday cards in mid November and will take a day during the weekend to complete them. I will make multiples of 3-4 different designs so I have a nice variety. Come December 1, I take a moment to sit down and write a personal message to each recipient and drop them at the post office to ensure they arrive in time for Christmas.
December 1 also begins the countdown to Christmas. When my kids were little, I would make an advent calendar. However, in recent years, I’ve been purchasing the Lego Advent Calendars as I have lego fanatics in this house. I must admit it takes the pressure of me to recreate the advent calendar each year. I usually buy them in early October as soon as they hit store shelves as I’ve learned the hard way they can sell out pretty quickly. However, if you enjoy making your advent calendar for your littles, I strongly encourage you to check out pinterest for some wonderful ideas.
The next thing I like to tackle before the weather turns too cold is my exterior decorating. I’ve been blessed that our last three homes has been bountiful in fresh greenery that I can clip to fill my outdoor planters. I like to adorn several areas outside with wreaths that I keep up throughout winter. I really consider this winter decorating. It’s nice to see some fresh greenery in the middle of our long winters. This year I added a wreath to a wagon wheel that is located in our circular drive. I created this planter using a tin bucket and my husband’s baby sleigh for our front door. My husband is in charge of installing the exterior lights and he much prefers to do this during milder temps before things get too icy.
Next, I turn my decorating efforts inside. I like to make some notes in mid November of different ideas and vignettes that I would like to create. I always keep my decor simple and either use what I have or I make it. I really stay away from purchasing decorations this time of year as I would much rather keep my money for some gift shopping.
I like to take my time decorating our home. I will do an area when I have a moment to spare and it can take me a week or more to finally finish. I really like to take my time with it rather than doing an all day blitz and being too exhausted when it is all done to enjoy.
Here are some areas that I decorated this year.
With all the decorating that is happening, I do like to include my kids and this year we made some snow jars. These were really simple to make. You will need:
- mason jar (we had antique mason jars that we used)
- fake snow (dollar store)
- some trees/animals to place inside. (my kids used pet shop and lego character to create their snow jars.
- add twinkle lights
By now you are probably wondering when do I get to my Christmas shopping. In years past, I shopped mostly local or online. Sadly, this year, since we just moved here, the bulk of my shopping will be done online. If you have family and friends that you need to have items shipped, shopping online totally makes sense especially this time of year when many online shops are offering free shipping. I like to be done any and all shopping no later than December 1 to allow ample time for the items to arrive and for me to get them wrapped.
Which brings me to my next survival guide tip. Gift wrap. Again, I keep it simple. This year I am using brown kraft paper, chunky cream coloured wool and little pine cones.
With the bulk of the decorating and gift giving behind me, I then focus my efforts on doing some holiday baking. The kids and I have our favourites. They are the typical sugar cookies and shortbreads. Nothing fussy.
This puts me in good shape for Christmas morning. I prep everything for our cinnamon buns on Christmas Eve so they are ready to go in the oven first thing Christmas morning. We enjoy these along with a Christmas tea we like to steep while opening our gifts. This ties us over nicely for brunch which my husband makes. It usually consists of Canadian back bacon and quiche muffins. These are super delicious.
Quiche Muffin Recipe
- chop 4 pieces of back bacon
- chop 1/2 medium onion
- chop 1/2 red or green pepper
- chop 1 /2 C mushroom
Combine and distribute into a greased mini muffin tin, top with marble goat cheese.
Whisk 4 eggs, 1/4 cup of almond milk. Pour over veggie mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Once brunch is out of the way, the turkey goes into the oven, side dishes are prepped and we literally just chill out until dinner time. Christmas day is generally a pyjama day for us.
There you have it. It’s nothing fancy but, I hope some of my tips will help you have a fuss-free, stress-free holiday.