There is so much going on around the holidays. We’ve got parties, dinners, gifts to buy, not to mention the 6 birthdays my family celebrate. Add that on top of your usual jobs, kids and regularly scheduled programming and you’ve got enough stress to refill your Xanax prescription. Thankfully you’ve stumbled upon Lazybabymama and I’m ready to share some tips on how to cut corners and tone it down to have a more relaxing, lazy holiday. Follow my steps and you’ll have a lazy Christmas worth remembering. This ain’t no Martha Stewart blog over here so don’t expect lifelong keepsakes or raves about your baking. But you can expect to make some memories because holidays are not about stress and anxiety, they’re about having fun and hopefully getting lazy.
1. Lower your standards. We can have it all as long as we are realistic about what “all” means. If you want to survive the holidays without any additional gray hairs I suggest you cut yourself some slack.
2. Gingerbread House – Every home needs a gingerbread house. Not really, no house needs one but it’s fun to have and fun to make (If you’re into sticky messes). I say cut them off the list but if your kids are begging you to make one grab a kit. We got a tiny set form the dollar store. It was super-cute but collapsed before we finished putting the candy on it. It was pretty fun to destroy it, especially since it took five minutes to make (That may have contributed to its structural failures). Remember it's not about the house, it’s about the memoires.
3. Wrapping Presents – Two words: Gift bags. Okay, Okay I know that a large pile of gift bags under a tree looks like a terrible, tissue paper nightmare. Alas I have other options: Nesting Boxes. I have to give credit to my momma for this one. She’s been nesting since the 90’s. The boxes are cute and you just pop a bow on it and you’re set. Grab some wire ribbon from the craft store and tie them up. It takes ½ the amount of time as wrapping, less cutting and no tape. Don’t give me crap that you can’t tie a bow; if you can tie your shoes you can tie a bow. It will be worth the ten minutes watching a YouTube video on bows. Also if you cant tie a bow I’m pretty sure you have trouble wrapping too, so I think my suggestion will be easier and look better than your crumpled messes under the tree.
4. Storing the wrappings – I live in a tiny apartment so I don’t have these “wrapping stations” that are all the rage these days. Seriously I don’t have any stations – not even a laundry folding station. If I fold my laundry on the counter you bet that’s where the presents get wrapped too. Anyway, I store my wrapping stuff in an oversized Macy's gift box under the tree. All my bows and tissue paper are in there and it looks kind of cute – maybe there’s a little Martha in me after all?
5. Cookies – I have plenty of old memories of my family making Christmas cookies and they’re great. There's nothing like sticks of butter and big 80’s hair to bring me back. Maybe in a few years when the twins are older we can do it again. In the meantime, we’re buying store bought dough and that’s that. We grab that "break and bake" stuff, pop them on a tray and throw it in the oven. We’ve got fresh cookies in 20 minutes. No joke, 20 minutes from the moment we decide to bake, to the time we are enjoying cookies. Maybe next year we’ll progress to a dough roll and I’ll let Ali spoon out her own cookies. But for right now she’s happy simply arranging them on the tray. Maybe this year I’ll tease her bangs before we bake just for some nostalgia.
6. Gifts - Full disclosure: my twins don’t go in the car and they don’t go shopping. If I get a spare hour to myself it’s usually not enough time to go Christmas shopping. Therefore online shopping is the best bet. If you’re ordering diapers and k-cups every month, the Amazon Prime membership is everything. We get free 2-day shipping, a huge bonus come holiday season. Another perk is that I can keep everything in the shipping boxes, which helps if you have to prevent kids from finding the presents. Another gift getting secret: Evernote – it’s a note taking app that allows you to sort your notes. You can keep a gift list all year long. When someone mentions something you pop it on the list and then grab it. It makes the shopping so much easier when you know what you need. Simply planning ahead really pays off here. If all else fails you can give the gift of your Christmas cookies.
7. Christmas crafts – I hate mess and I hate glue, but Ali likes crafting. Plus it doesn’t help that I’ve got to be five places at once, so if scissors and glue are involved I can’t walk away from Ali while she’s’ crafting. I need something she can do for fun without any help. Michaels.com gets me. It’s like they can see into my soul. They have holiday crafts with age range, time and messy rating. Because we don’t have time to search the Internet for these crafts either! So suck it Martha.
8. Christmas Music – if you spend time curating a Christmas playlist you’re probably an idiot. Download the Pandora app, search for Christmas and move on with your life. Maybe take up rock collecting as another needless, time-consuming activity.
9. Decorating - Hopefully with all the corners we’ve cut so far you’ve got some extra time to decorate. Decorating sucks, but a house that has already been decorated is great. It's the ultimate catch-22. We have two options: first is to leave the decorations up all year long! Kidding, it’s not like we left our lights up until we moved last year (I had twins remember! Priorities). Or you can just keep it simple. No kid looks back thinking “man I wish mom put up more decorations.” I do however, have a memory of when my mom put up two trees in the house and it’s more like “remember that time mom up up two trees? That was overkill.” So take it easy this year. A pre-lit tree is always a good call, extra garland and minimal ornaments help too. Also, go for larger decorating items to take up space, I have snowmen. Ali names them. Her favorite is Gobie, and mine is Una. - I think she's hinting that she want's some Bubble Guppies for Christmas.
10. Desserts –You may be lazy but you’re still a social human being, which means you will be going to parties. If you know anything about social graces you’re aware that if you go to a party you bring something with you. I know you don’t need any of that stress so I’m about to blow your mind with a super-easy dessert that a blind monkey could make. Step one: make a chocolate box cake – just follow the directions, it doesn’t need to be pretty. If you burn it, you can cut off the burnt pieces. Next grab an instant chocolate pudding mix, some Coolwhip and a large clear trifle bowl. (If you don’t have a trifle bowl, I suggest you invest in one because you’re going to make this dessert all day, every day.) Next, take your cake and crumble it up with your hands, that’s right, rip it apart, the uglier and crumby-er the better. Throw half in the bottom of the bowl; mix up the pudding and before it sets pour it on top of the cake. Then throw the Coolwhip on top of the pudding then the cake again, more pudding then finish with Coolwhip. You can add anything you want to the cake, chocolate chips, cut up some Kit-Kats, throw some Reese’s peanut butter cups, you name it. One time I was feeling energized and I made it with red velvet cake and I colored the cool whip green – it looked ridiculous, don’t try that.
If I can do most of this with one-year-old twins and a four year old you can too! Don’t do it all at once and don’t feel bad for not doing everything. Have a merry Lazybabymama Christmas and relax like baby Jesus intended.
Please post any of your favorite holiday short cuts. Ill try to do some of yours and whichever works out ill post here.