Grand to bland…’tis the season – Epilogue

Christmas has come and gone…for some. For others they will be starting their panic. What a wonderful time of the year. Now my previous post mentioned my survival plans. Did you use them? Did they work? I hope so. Let me share how I faired.

I was lucky to get a couple of days vacation time prior to my scheduled Christmas Eve festivities. Knowing that all would be well, I decided to book a doctor’s appointment and some other health related errands, like ultrasounds and X-rays. Multitasking momma! The plan was good. The execution? Not as I had planned. Being out of the house and out and about made it harder to focus on tasks that needed to be completed. So day 1 ended with doing other things not on my to do list. Well…it was my first day on vacation after all. I had to enjoy the freedom. No problem. I had three more days.

Day 2. So nice to sleep in!  Then another ultrasound. Downtown. No biggie.  It so happened that they were on time and I left on time.  I decided I needed a bit of holiday umph decorations. Hmmm, newly revised plan, not in the schedule.  Meh.  That’s life.  So I drove around and popped into several different places. Mission accomplished!  Our home would look lovely with my new Christmassy candle holders.  Lovely red, white, and green candle holders in silver trays.  So pretty and 70% off on clearance.  SCORE!  I was in the Christmas spending spirit haha!  Morning became afternoon and afternoon became…oops…evening.  Ah…another non-cross-stuff-off-my-list day, but that was fine.  There were still two more FULL days.

Day 3. No health stuff. It was time to get down to business. Wiseguy was home. He could help out.  Hmmm, he had some errands to run. Well why not go with him? We don’t get enough time together anyway.  How did day 3 end?  Pretty much the same as days 1 and 2.  Are you laughing yet?  Has this happened with your foolproof plan?

Day 4. The day before the magical event.  I accomplished a lot that day. I emphatically looked at my list of things to take care of and used my incredible pen to whittle away at many of the words on it.  The TO DO list was suddenly becoming a poster board for Zorro…items slashed in defeat as they were not completed.  True, they might not have been accomplished, but they were my dream list and so were just that…dreams.  The reality is oftentimes unachievable.  As usual, my initial lists are the A-list plans of groups of highly specialized teams of people like, let’s say Hollywood planners for the Academy Awards  My actual final lists are true to humankind; one-woman type shows.

So, in true list-cutting form, here is how my list went from grand to bland:

BAKE COOKIES – GRAND PLAN:  Bake the following cookies and make cookie plates for each family of guests.  Includes shortbread, pizzelle, linzer, chocolate chip mint, macaroons, chocolate dipped pretzels with sprinkles, and cranberry bars.

BAKE COOKIES – BLAND PLAN:  Hmmm. I had managed to bake up a tray of shortbread. No one really eats cookies after the feast. (Hear sound of sword leaving sheathe…a.k.a. pen cap being removed.  SLASH!  Off the list!)

SEAFOOD DINNER:  GRAND PLAN:  maple glazed salmon, calamari fritti (that means fried, but sounds waaaaay fancier this way), shrimp in white wine sauce, pub style haddock, and gloriously crunchy Crab cakes.

SEAFOOD DINNER:  BLAND PLAN: Never made crab cakes before.  I haven’t opened the can of crab yet.  Meh.  Maybe next year.  (FLICK!  Off the list!)

I sat at my kitchen counter, sipping my hazelnut cappuccino (uh yeah…might as well do things in style) and brandished my pen with marksmanship-like finesse.  I attacked that unicorn of a list.  From mystifyingly delusional to tangibly accomplishable.  Booyah!

SET TABLE.  I can do it tomorrow morning.  SWIPE!  Off the list.

VACUUM AND MOP.  I vacuumed up the dust bunny families who resided in the corners of each room (so technically done). Mopping can wait. It will be evening and no one will notice the dried paw marks.  WHIP!  Off the list.

WRAP PRESENTS.  LUNGE!  Nope, make that a feint.  That definitely had to be done. And it was!  By 2 o’clock in the morning.  I listened to Christmas music and I watched Christmas movies. I was full of holiday spirit (no, not spirits).  I was all happy inside.  I was excited and gleeful and most of all, grateful.  I really do have a wonderful life.  With a smile on my face, I crawled into bed.

THE DAY OF. Got in 5 hours sleep. Woo hoo!  Prepped food. Set table. Listened to Christmas music. Took deep breaths and reminded myself that tonight is gonna be loud and fun! As always, things will turn out great.  Just believe.

It WAS wonderful! The banter abounded nice and loud from every corner.  There was lots of hearty laughter.  The main meal turned out fantastic, naturally.  The chef de jour (me) was extremely happy with how everything turned out.  The younger generation assisted in carrying the loaded up plates to the table and then cleared the dishes after the meal.  Fruit platters went out.  See? No need for cookies.  Opening of presents by the young ones and their excited ooohs and aaahs.  It even snowed (a lot) to make it a wonderfully white Christmas.  A magical Christmas Eve.

I do live by my suggested life recommendations. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes you realize that crossing things off your list makes you a much happier hostess. Sometimes doing things that weren’t on your list makes you a much happier hostess. Sometimes not expecting anything is when the most wonderfully unexpected will occur.

I hope you had a marvellous Christmas and I wish you all the best in the New Year!  2018 here we come!

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