Christmas with the family was wonderful this year. I’m honored to get to host and do my best to plan and prep well. In my head I was going over what worked and what didn’t from a hosting perspective and thought it might be helpful to share some steps to do your own Christmas debrief “note to self” to make things run even smoother next year.
So grab yourself a pen and paper, the notes app in your phone, or write a blog post to share your personal debrief with the world. I’m obviously choosing option C. Ha.
Which recipes were hits? Which aren’t worth making again? Beverages? Timing?
Our family’s traditional foods won’t change and are always hits. A giant Swiss cheese, summer sausage, Grandma Betty’s cream cheese dip, Grandma Betty’s seasoned oyster crackers, Stathas family potatoes, Kris’ layered Mexican dip– all winners.
Make ahead meals made things run smoothly and I will absolutely do them again. But not all of them. The ones that made the “make again” cut include: lasagna with meat sauce, vegetable soup, David’s chili, and chicken enchiladas. I personally was not a big fan of any of the breakfast casseroles and plan to work on creating my own version to make next Christmas.
Fan favorites: the chili, homemade sourdough, Christmas eve gumbo, and Christmas dinner tenderloin (don’t skimp on the horseradish).
Sweets and desserts: cream cheese Christmas cookies, gingerbread men, sugar cookie recipe– all hits.
Beverages: reminder that the kids loved the sparkling grape juice, and the adults liked martinis, eggnog, and Spendrift.
Notes for Next Christmas
What did you need that you didn’t have? What was a hit? What was damaged and tossed and needs to be replaced before next Christmas?
Things that were helpful to have on hand: a stocked Battery Daddy, a card table set up in the common area, space heater for each room, a table set up in the garage for extra pantry items so they didn’t take over the pantry/counters.
Family favorites from the season: family shopping challenge, driving to look at lights, Feed NC giving day, playing with the Christmas village, having a Christmas shower curtain, fav movies: Love Actually (adults), Elf, Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, Muppet Christmas Carol.
For next year I’ll need to purchase: new thick ribbon for the Christmas tree, new garland for the front stairs, new Christmas throw pillows for the couch, and wrapping paper. This is helpful to know so you can check out after-Christmas sales or purchase these items before the holiday rush next year.
Christmas Clean Up Reminders
Having dedicated storage is so much easier than wrapping items in garbage bags and newspaper and grocery bags. I recommend:
- Ornament Storage Container
- Wreath Storage Bag
- Tree or Garland Storage Bags (these are big!)
- Christmas Light Wrap Up
- Wrapping Paper Storage
Remove batteries from fairy light decorations and from recordable books. I’ve ruined more than one of these by leaving in the batteries and them corroding in place. Some have made it through, but it’s not worth risking it; pull those batteries out before storing.
Create a giveaway and throw away pile when you begin your clean up. There’s no ruthless for me like a post-Christmas ruthlessness. Hooray for a clean start! Having a giveaway pile and toss pile set up and ready makes it easy to put objects into each while also packing away Christmas.
If there are any items or games you are looking to purchase, now is a great time to check Facebook marketplace, as you can find some great deals on items as others are cleaning out their homes as well!
I’m debating doing an all out home reset next week, but until I decide on that, I did take everything out of my fridge, clean the shelves and drawers, toss old items, and restock. Best. Feeling. Ever.
Do you have any tips that make clean up easier? Or next year run more smoothly? And what about a fresh start… do you do a home reset or reorganization to start the year?
We’re big fans of this breakfast casserole!
Brittany Dixon says
Thank you for the rec!!
These are all great tips/reminders! Especially the Christmas storage since I’m still wrapping things in bags lol. Would you say you’re saving storage space packing things this way? I’m careful wrapping everything/putting them in closed plastic bins but wonder if I should consider actual Christmas bins? We don’t have a lot of storage space, miss those Midwest basements!
Brittany Dixon says
Maybe it has helped somewhat with saving storage space. It’s certainly more efficient and organized, but I probably only eliminated one big bin and some unsightly piles (wreaths neatly stored rather than in garbage bags). So it looks a lot better certainly!