I get a little overwhelmed each year as I take that final break from the hustle bustle of client holiday parties, last minute Christmas shopping, wrapping presents (which by the way, my kids do on Christmas Eve for me) and writing Christmas cards to friends that we haven't seen for ages. Of course, there's always letters and news inserts of 'family updates' that go into each card as well. By the time my family are ready to celebrate Christmas, I'm a little exhausted to say the least.
Then there's the joy of having house guests. Parents, children home from college, school friends and of course neighbors and dear friends that drop in during the few days we have off. I wouldn't change it for all the money in the world and this year, I've decided to do things a little smarter to help with the holiday entertaining.
I've baked, I've cooked and I've shopped for things I can pull out of the freezer at the drop of a hat. BIG LOTS has tons of old fashioned cookie tins that make wonderful gift packaging for those home-made cookies (as shown here on the left all ready to go).
The unexpected guest won't catch me off guard this year. The bedrooms are dusted, sheets changed and fresh towels are hanging in the bathrooms for company. Small holiday goody baskets are filled and will be placed in guest rooms with chocolate mints and cozy holiday fleeces (that were purchased just for them) will be placed on their pillows at night.
I've also bought a bunch of little Christmas baking tins, in the shape of stars and hearts (sold in your local grocery store) that I'll use for omelets in the mornings. Muffins are already baked and in the freezer and thank goodness for Pillsbury Crescent Roll pre-made pastry. Strawberry preserves, cream cheese and a wash of egg, makes great breakfast treats that are simple and ever so fast.
I've set up a permanent bar/beverage area in one area of the house so everyone can help themselves throughout the entire time they're staying with us and of course during festivities, we'll make up batches of special recipe punch, serve champagne cocktails and fun appetizers (from fun, fast recipes along with 'pull and bake cheese rounds') and everyone will still get some fun surprises.
Christmas Eve, we'll say good-bye to friends that have stopped by, pour ourselves a good eggnog, sherry or hot chocolate for the kids and then take our turns reading "The Night Before Christmas" before settling in for the night.
I'll wait until everyone is sleeping then I'll still sneak upstairs with the stockings that have been filled with small individually wrapped 'stocking stuffers' and leave a stocking at the foot of everyone's bed. In the morning, this was the trick that kept my children in bed an extra 45 minutes. The excitement of opening these small 'teaser prezzies' was just enough to give us that extra bit of 'lie-in time'. My kids are grown now, but still expect this tradition and so it carries on. Hopefully it will be a tradition that they will themselves carry on through generations.
I know my household will be very blessed this year. My children will be home, my parents will be with us, my sister and her family, including in-laws will be with us and there is no doubt that Christmas Day we will be surrounded by love and joy. We'll count our blessings before eating a ridiculously great meal and then wonder why it all went by so fast.
Wishing you all the same joy and blessings as you celebrate this special time of the year. From our home to yours, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwansaa! No matter what you celebrate, may it be filled with love, joy and happy memories.
Elyn Rahman ~ Proud owner of A Charleston Event & Bridal Library
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