Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Christmas To Do List

As Christmas draws closer it could be easy to become frantic and crazy trying to get everything done... but what really NEEDS to be done?

To be honest, I have done most of the crossed out items on the list and can truly appreciate the "better choices" that are written in.  Over the years we have scaled back our celebrations and reduced our gift list.  Dave comes from a large family and a few years ago we decided to for-go the gift exchange for adults and pool our donations made to a charitable organization.  

One tradition we have not altered over the years is our Annual Christmas Newsletter.  An update has been sent out with a card since we were married in 1985.  In the early 2000s our lives were overly busy and I had declared that I needed help with the letter.  Since then each individual has written their "article" offering the update and highlights of their own life.  

I am ever so grateful that our girls, despite being in their 30s, have continued with this tradition.  It can be quite the undertaking trying to get all of what was written to "fit" into the document. Some sentences get cut or re-phrased to do so... As editor of the family newsletter, I offer a deadline for the submission.  Each year, like clockwork, our youngest quickly sends her contribution in.  Also like clockwork, our oldest gets her section submitted just before the deadline.  LOL!  

Last year she was late by a day.  Dave and I discussed our options.  Rather than leave her out, I started scouring her fb account for pictures from throughout the year to offer a "pictorial" accounting of their family.  She would have been fine with that, but it was nice to get her actual update.

 All that to say that our letter has been printed and envelopes will be hand addressed this evening.  (It started out with just the front of a page, soon after it was printed front & back of a page... and then extended to a legal size paper, front and back...  With Heather's family having 6 people to account for, she needed more "real estate" to share their lives. This year the letter has grown again... it is now on 11x17, front and back.  The printer stated that "I anticipate next year's letter having an insert".  I assured him "this is the final expansion."

Once the family letter is in the mail I'll return to last week's list...

✔  Write final installment for the Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail sew along and get the last pattern written and tested (DONE - This will be published on Thursday, December 16th!)

✔  Meet with the local quilt shop about partnering for a block of the month event featuring the Pieces From the Past patterns (DONE - you can read about the details on last week's Thankful Thursday story)

❧  Finish the Disney Babies Memory Quilt
 (It sits right now 1/2 quilted and the binding has been cut and prepared.)  

It won't take long once I get back to the studio.  :)  Of course, if I hadn't become distracted with a DrEAMI project on Friday, it would be done.  🤷

I think we all know and understand how projects like these just cannot be ignored and you HAVE to get done.  You can read about the scrappy placemats by following the link above.

❧  Pull out decorations for Christmas (I hung up our stockings and the garland that holds the Christmas cards we receive.)

I saw a friend post the following... and I thought is was appropriate to share.  

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but here goes.  
You are not required to make a hand made gift for everyone you love every year.  I see so many of my friends becoming increasingly more frantic as the holidays approach, racing to finish gifts for their 37 most loved people.  It’s too much.  Give yourself a break.  

I stopped making Christmas gifts for family a few years ago, and it has been the best decision of my life.  

No one is entitled to a handmade quilt at Christmas.  Sure, it’s nice, but if you have made yourself unhappy and stressed, it wasn’t worth it.  My friends and family get quilted gifts when the spirit moves me, which isn’t at Christmas.  

If you are making yourself unhappy, stop.  Wouldn’t it be nice to give someone a surprise gift in February?  Or October?  Just because you made something and think they would like it.  Not because society appreciates makers only one time of year.  Or when they need us to be an unpaid mask making army. 

I love you all.  Have a wonderful holiday.

I hope that you are able to enjoy this season of celebration without feeling pressured or rushed.  Take the time to enjoy a cup of tea as you visit with a friend or family member.  Your presence will be more appreciated than your present.

Do you have any tips in surviving the hectic racing of the season?  

Leave a comment... I'm sure all of us would love to hear what you have to say.

Merry Quiltmas!


Linking with:

To Do Tuesday at Texas Quilt Gal
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Stitch Sew & Show at Life in the Scrap Patch


  1. quite some years ago I decided I was not making gifts for xmas - I give as I feel like it throughout the year instead - the family is way too large for gifting to all - like you we make donations instead - the season is about giving after all. It is too stressful to keep making hot pads, or lap size quilts, bowl warmers or whatever and a lot of people do not even appreciate them. Keep the season happy I think

  2. I have a few surprise Christmas projects this year, thankfully they were small items and are done (as far as I know!). We got our tree today and the decorating is done. I've been stressing about trying to finish quilts before the end of the year, but I am just accepting that I may not be able to. I did, however, lay out the Santa Fe blocks so I can ponder the finishing fabrics a bit. :-)

  3. Wonderful post Melva! I love the To Do List and would like to share it on my blog if that is okay? Your friend’s words of wisdom regarding handmade gifts is perfectly spot on! I give a few handmade gifts each year to some of the grands and great grands but most of my family and friends are well supplied with quilts, and runners and tree skirts, and….. Now if I make something throughout the year that I know will be just right for someone, then it is gifted then. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and a safe and healthy New Year. 🎄

  4. What a great post Melva. This year is a very small, quiet Christmas for us. We had all of our family here for Thanksgiving which means we won't see them for Christmas. I still decorated and plan to make cookies for my neighbors. It felt strange not to go Christmas shopping so our family 'adopted' a child for the holidays and it was really satisfying to shop for this little girl. As for making gifts, some years I do and others I don't. Just depends on how busy I feel. This year I haven't made gifts and that is ok. Happy Holidays!!

  5. Here's my tip: I don't always do a yearly letter but when I do, I've started sending it out at Thanksgiving--with Thanksgiving cards). Overall, I'm not a big card-sender but after my mom passed away, I began sending cards at all the holidays to her sisters who really missed her. When I would go to include a yearly update letter, I just felt so blessed as I was writing it up that it felt more appropriate to include it with the Thanksgiving cards. The best part is that I have it all done and behind me before the Christmas craziness even begins. If I want to include that with any Christmas cards to friends, etc, well, it's already written up!

  6. Love this! All great advice. Here's my tip: Keep a list from the prior year and update each year....it sure does help!

  7. What fun to read about your annual newsletter! I love those traditions. Mom and I used to look forward to the annual newsletters!
    Thank you for that wonderful list of alternatives to the crazed madness of trying to get things done for Christmas. And with that in mind, I need to check out your post from yesterday and get caught up - lol!

  8. And thank you for linking to To Do Tuesday!

  9. You have a lovely tradition! I totally agree with this statement " If you are making yourself unhappy, stop!" Sometimes, we forget to prioritize our own happiness. Happy Holiday!!

  10. Your family newsletter sounds like a great tradition. Thanks for sharing on Wednesday Wait Loss. Merry Christmas!