How To Shop For Large Christmas Dinners and Holiday Meals

7 Days of Christmas Crazy Mega – Holiday Meal Grocery Shopping for the Busy Mom

I started cooking the family Christmas Eve meal about seven years ago. I serve a traditional sit-down meal for around 20 with all the bells and whistles. I do this every year and three years ago Christmas Morning Breakfast was added to the mix.

To say that I need to optimize my Project planning is to put it mildly.

If you have a big meal to plan and cook, or any other larger event chances are there is a pretty intense shopping trip headed your way today or sometime real soon.


I am going to share how I cope with an enormous Christmas Dinner, Breakfast and meals for the week shopping trip with my Little Guy. But I must tell you, if you have more than three children  and a list  equal to that of Good St. Nick himself. Please, please try to find some place that will deliver!

I am also eating as many meals as I can at home this week. The tendency to  grab fast food during the holidays is intense. Those extra calories are not what I need and the processed food is really not good for my family. So on top of the shopping I am doing for Christmas, I am also adding super simple meals for at home.


Let’s Get Started:

Just answer the following questions and make your plan.


  • Have you written your meals for the next few days? If not then please do so if you desire. Add these plans to your calendar.
  • Have you written the menu plan for the Holiday Event? If not, then please do so.
  • Did you assign anyone a dish? Mark that off and send an email reminder.
  • Did you order a ham? Pies? Fruit or Vegetable Trays? If so add what day to pick-up or what day they should arrive on your calendar?
  • Gather every single recipe you will need to accomplish your holiday meal(s) and simple dinners for the week. I keep Holiday recipes in a binder just for this occasion.
  • If you double a recipe or triple, mark it with bright colors or a post it note as reminder for the grocery list.
  • Now write down every single ingredient that you need to accomplish your entire menu and simple dinners. This includes items you think you may have on hand.
  • Next, with list in hand, zip around the kitchen and mark off the items you already have. Kind of like grocery shopping in your home.
  • Next step: If you clip coupons, spend a few minutes choosing only the ones you absolutely need to take with you to the store for the items on your list.
  • After this, I use and my Iphone to tweak my list by stores. Costco, Target, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts etc.  You can do this with paper just as well. Cozi is totally free and has lots of nifty features.

To cope with my son hanging out with me through the shopping process I divide my shopping into a few short trips.  I never take him to more than two locations in one day.

Day 1: Target and Traders Joe’s

Day 2: Costco and Sprouts

You can also divide your list by refrigerated and shelved items. This means shop for the shelved items that need no cold storage in the day. Then have  your partner or spouse watch the little ones while you shop for the refrigerated items. Or just shop for the refrigerated items with your children the next day.


That is it, my tips for doing a Mega-Shopping Trip for the Holiday Meals.

7 Days of Christmas Crazy -Decorating When to Stop

7 Days of Christmas Crazy -Decorating When to Stop

I am an Obsessive Christmas Decorator. I can remember a couple of years back tying ribbons on boughs of greenery 15 minutes before guests were due to arrive for Christmas Eve Dinner. The silly part was, I was not dressed, my teeth not brushed and had not worn make-up in six days.

In other words I was a  Christmas Mess. 

This year I am putting a stop to my personal insanity and giving myself a new yearly deadline. No matter how the earth is spinning, no matter what pretty picture I see on Pinterest or in a magazine. On the first Sunday a week before Christmas I am stopping. This year that is December 15, 2013.

No more tinsel

Not one more bow

No more lights or

spray on snow.

No more  trees or 

elves dressed  in green.

No more stockings and 

not one more wreath.

I will be finished.

So my thoughts for today and a little momma challenge.

Gather up those bows and doodads and decide what must be done and what you can let go for decorating your home for the holidays.

Finished it up, put away the boxes, and then maybe hang out with the family bit.


7 Days of Christmas Crazy Gift Lists and Your Time

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”

Steve Prefontaine

I love this quote. Notice, Mr. Prefontaine does not say max out your credit cards, stress yourself and your sanity, and shop until you yell at your children. He just simple states to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.

As I type this I am singing Che Che Koolay in my head. It’s a an African song I will be sharing with my son’s class in about an hour. It is my gift to his and a gift from my heart.  With the cutbacks in school our school decided to keep dance and do away with music class. So, instead of giving all of his friends a bag of stickers and candy I am giving a music class as part of their holiday party . It is a gift from my heart and something that I feel is the very best of me.

But I still have a list of gifts to actually purchase this weekend. And I don’t want to get in the mad rush and over spend, stress myself out and lose my sanity . I don’t want to live with the regret of dreading to open my mailbox next month it a pile of holiday debt.

Instead I choose to know what I have in my heart and in my real pocketbook not my plastic one. Instead of charging myself blind I am going to give what I can and use my heart for the rest. How can I do this?

 How To Use My Real Pocketbook and Not My Plastic One

  1. Finish my gift project lists.
  2. Know what I can spend.
  3. And to make my holiday special I am setting aside time.

Time For My Heart To Give

Time to call my extended family.

Time to spend with my close family and friends.

Time to spend with my husband and my boys.

Time to volunteer with my husband and my boys to serve those who might need to help in this coldest part of the year.

Time to email Thank You Notes  to teachers, my choir students and other important people in  my life.

Time to take care of myself and plan my new year with good intentions and logical expectations.


So, although we are in the middle of our 7 days of Crazy Christmas. It does have to feel crazy even when we are surrounded by the busyness of the season.

If we plan-  our gifts lists

Know what we have to offer- our true pocket book and ourselves.

We can have a wonderful season as the rocking mommas we are meant to be.