Gearing Up for Christmas 2010 & a Confession

Heather says:

Before reality hit, I was thinking of doing a Countdown to Christmas in the same style as Countdown to Turkey Day, but then I began to think of all the extra traditions that some families have and the whole concept became overwhelming. If you’re trying to make sure you have everything ready for Christmas. Laura Otero has a few To Do lists from her Motivation Monday series that would serve as a great checklist to make sure everything is on track. My hope is to have something together before the start of Advent next year. And the busyness? That leads me to my confession.

In the shuffle, I forgot to turn in an affidavit saying I am excused from jury duty. There is an exemption in SC for primary care givers with young children. After all, it’s hard to make a babysitter magically appear in the middle of the day for an undetermined amount of time. Not only did I forget to turn in the affidavit, I completely forgot about jury duty.


The court date was the 17th.

Yesterday, I sheepishly got the affidavit notarized, after calling the magistrate court in a panic and never reaching a human. I’ve never really gotten into trouble -caught if you must be technical- and I was furious that it could be over something as stupid as missing jury duty. My husband had a field day teasing me about how he was going to have to tell the kids their mom missed Christmas because she was in jail -unlikely, but that didn’t stop him. Thankfully if I had remembered to call the night before, I would have learned I didn’t actually have to show up, so all the panic and fear was for nothing.

In that light, I’m going to give myself a short vacation. I’ll be back on Boxing Day and we can start talking about the New Year?

To better prepare for next year, let’s talk about Christmas traditions:

When does your family decorate the house?

When do you put up the tree?

In our home Christmas dinner is usually quite similar to our Thanksgiving Menu, but usually a little pared down. What about you? Do you have a different menu for Christmas?

Do you have a special Christmas breakfast?


Cinnamon rolls -made the night before and popped into the oven first thing?

individual monkey breads
Photo Credit: Rachel Matthews @sthrnfairytale

Or how about Monkey Bread? Rachel and makes gorgeous a version that cuts down on some of the grabbing, individual monkey bread.

We’re a little naughty and always have a mimosa during the madness that is a houseful of over-tired from Midnight Mass- sugar-riddled children bouncing off the walls . (They are cooped up because it’s usually 6am and they can’t go outside and play until at least 9 for our neighbors’ sakes). What’s a mimosa? It’s champagne with a splash of orange juice. It’s easy, it feels positively decadent.

If we’re lucky and we usually are, the kids crash and there are early naps for all.

Before I sign off, I want to remind you that all of the above? It’s just the icing; keep it in its place. Real families and real life don’t usually look like perfect greeting cards. The kids get cranky, the grown ups bicker, a dish gets burned, the cat knocks over the tree. Whatever. It’s not what matters.

Stop on Christmas Eve and just be thankful. Quit worrying about the details, they don’t matter as much as you think.

If you are safe, warm, and fed, that’s so much more than so many have.

Let the rest go.

I want to wish each and every reader a very Merry Christmas.

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17 thoughts on “Gearing Up for Christmas 2010 & a Confession”

  1. Wishing you, your family and the entire family of your Home EC 101 crowd, the best for a Happy and Heathly holiday, regardless of which (or any) version you celebrate.
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  2. What a excellent story, as well as definitely some thing to remember for future years if I find yourself getting into which situation.
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  3. Heather, I'm just catching up on my blog reading and SO appreciative of you linking in to my "Motivation Monday" post. I hope you and your family are having a lovely holiday together. Sending lots of holiday blessings your way!! xo Laura
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  4. I grew up decorating on the 15th, but my husband's birthday is the 16th. So, I either do it well before that date or the day after — that way his birthday isn't all caught up in Christmas decorations.

    We make churros for breakfast – Mexican fried dough strips.

    Glad you didn't get into trouble! I waited and waited to be called for jury duty – lived in the same county for 12 years to no avail. Then, the month after I move to a new state, I got a jury duty notice — for the old state. Quite frustrating. Now it's been 3 years and I haven't ever been called to jury duty here. I think it's a conspiracy – lol.

  5. Heather, I'm so relieved that you're not reading this comment through the bars of your jail cell. Ha!

    Our Christmas this year is our biggest yet. My family is finally getting together for the first time in 15 years. I repeated my mantra every day, "keep it simple" and managed to pare down some things. For example, I'm not making the trip to my in-laws and dragging everyone along with me. And my presents to friends this year was a tin of homemade cookies and a donation in their honor to our local food bank. However, my mantra didn't stop me from tackling a crown roast for the first time for Christmas dinner nor did it stop me from sewing everyone a stocking.

    As I sat in the closet furiously wrapped gifts, it hit me how lucky I am to have my family. My child, especially, is a living miracle that I have the privilege of loving every single day. Your words hit home with me. I am a blessed woman indeed.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, and I look forward to reading your blog into the new year and beyond.
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  6. We've streamlined pretty much everything related to the holiday except for food. Decorations are simplified, centerpiece is some greens, candles and cranberries or other fruits on a tray. Gifts are for kids only (and our mother, of course). Because we have several events over the weekend, our family Christmas will be a ham, cheesy mashed potato casserole with scallions, roasted sweet potato chunks with cajun seasoning, steamed medley of broccoli, cualiflower and carrots with butter sauce and toasted crumbs. Cookies and rum cake for dessert. My plan is to get as much prepped as possible on Thursday. Sunday we gather with family out of town, so we plan ahead and share food duties.

    I've vowed to make cards during the year instead of trying to squeeze another craft in before the deadline. Store bought cards were sent out late last week.

    Heather- I, with all my good intentions, ideas, projects ended up with things stacking up last year. So much so, that I forgot my dear, dear husband's birthday. When he started singing "happy birthday to me…" late in the afternoon, I felt tears well up in my eyes. I was heartbroken that I forgot. Just flat out FORGOT. I can see forgetting jury duty, but not my wonderful husband's birthday/ Yet I did. I thought I'd share so you don't feel so bad about your civic duty slip up.

    Have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas! (And don't stress!)

  7. Enjoy your time off, Heather. Nobody deserves it more than you. Thank you for another wonderful year. I truly enjoy reading your site, and I can't wait til your book comes out next year. I'm so proud of you. Merry Christmas.

  8. Our Christmas tradition is breakfast – bacon, eggs and toast. And grits. 🙂 My mom being from Tennessee, we were all raised on grits and Christmas isn't Christmas without them.

    I am grateful for my parents' health. It will be a quiet day with them but there's nothing wrong with that. A very merry Christmas to you too, Heather, and enjoy your break!


    I'm so glad you didn't get in trouble!

    YAY for mimosas and for featuring my Individual monkey breads with your AMAZING looking cinnamon roll! YUMMY

    Have an amazing Christmas, my sweet friend.

  10. I am so glad you did not wind up in the slammer for skipping out on jury duty. I did not know that there was such a thing as an exemption from jury duty but that is nice that there is especially for folks in your situation. As for Christmas around our place we just do what we can with what we have. Nothing fancy at all, just sit around and enjoy each other and what presents we are able to scrape together. I like what you said about keeping it real. If we have a roof over our heads and we are with our families and we can eat then we are so blessed. I am always mindful of the 6 million Americans that are out of work and unemployed at this time of year. I know it has to be tough on all of them. Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family. Enjoy your break and drink a mimosa for me. 🙂
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  11. You're lucky… In St. Louis it takes a near death experience to get out of jury duty. And if you don't show up? They come find your a$$!

    I'm hosting Christmas Eve for the first time this year and I'm trying something new. I am making a pork roast stuffed with winter fruit and topped with a port sauce. I'm having some anxiety about the rest of the menu, but I'm sure it will all work out. This year is much more about family than in years past, so that's an exciting evolution. It really is so much fun to experience Christmas with your own kid(s).

  12. My dad’s side of the family is from Norway and Christmas dinner always included fish. Since grandma died mom has carried on the tradition so our Christmas dinner is likely to have Torsk (or cod), oyster stew, pie, cookies, and all the other “holiday” foods. I’d love some turkey or ham, but you don’t mess with tradition. There might be some chicken noodle soup for those of us who don’t do the oysters.

    Decorations at my house are minimal. About the week after Thanksgiving I put up the Nativity. Mom says in the last week or so she started to decorate. Lots of greenery and white lights with red bows and we may or may not have a tree this year.

    • We have a lot of Norwegian and German influence from my husband's side of the family. Would you believe the drug me to a lutefisk dinner the first week I moved to Minnesota. I was just waiting for Garrison Keillor to start doing voice overs.

  13. I don't remember why this started, but we have chili and cornbread for Christmas dinner. We do our "big" family thing Christmas Eve, so Christmas Day is a little more chill. I make a huge pot of turkey chili and different kinds of cornbread like sour cream and chive or cheddar jalapeno cornbread. Then we just graze on it all day along with leftover hors d'oeurves from the night before. It is awesome.


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