You can make your Christmas 2021 more awesome by doing a recap of Christmas 2020. An investment of 10-20 minutes of your time NOW, while the details are fresh in your mind, can help you have a merrier season in the future.
Try these 5 easy steps to review the holidays and help your future self take on Christmas 2021 with aplomb:
1. Relax-Find a quiet space where you won’t be bothered. Cozy up with a warm cup of tea or your favorite glass of wine and put your cellphone on Do Not Disturb.
2. Review-Think about the holiday season and everything in it, from meals to decorations to gifts---and everything in between. Scroll through the pictures on your phone to prompt you if needed.
3. Reflect-What went well, what didn’t go as you expected. Did you continue a favorite tradition? Start a new one?
4. Record-Capture as much, or as little, as you see fit. If you’re not sure, ask if knowing this information next time would be of benefit to you. Type it into your phone, write it in a journal. Be very specific on details that will help your future self. (I for one will be writing down the exact number of cards to order for Christmas 2021.
5. Remember-Put the recap in a secure place. Schedule an appointment for yourself on Dec 1st, 2021, “Review important info for Christmas 2021” and indicate the location of where you stored the info—whether that’s on pg. 92 of your journal, in a file named “XmasAnswerKey2021" or somewhere else.
Prompts to Help with Your Christmas Reflections
Below, you'll find a series of prompts that can help with your review. The first section has some questions for you to consider about the holiday overall, while the second section provides more information in these categories:
- Food/Drink Tasted/Bought Enjoyed
- Christmas Gifts Given and Received
- Social Connections Made
- Holiday Traditions
Now, let's get started!
Christmas Reflections Can Help Future Celebrations
There's no wrong way to review the Christmas we just enjoyed, but these questions can help you to identify some of the most useful information for you to use in the future:
- What worked well?
- What didn’t work well?
- What would you change and how?
- What one word would you use to describe the holiday season?
- What was your favorite holiday memory?
- What advice would you give yourself on December 1, 2021?
Your Christmas Review: Start, Stop and Continue
Over the years, I've found that the more details I capture, the more actionable the information is. Here are some categories and prompts that you may find useful:
Christmas Food and Drinks Bought/Tasted/Made
- Menus-What did you serve? Would you make it again? Did you make too much? Not enough?
- Cocktails/Wines-Did you have a favorite? Was there one you want to try for next year?
- Baking-What cookies did you make? How many? Which ones were the favorites? Can you easily access the recipes?
Gifts Given and Received for Christmas
- Gifts Given-What were the hits? What were the misses?
- Gifts Received-What was the favorite gift you received? Why?
- Close Calls-Any last minute gifts you had scramble to give? Do you want to add them to your list for the future?
- Wrapping-Did you try anything new? See an idea you want to do next year?
- Wrapping Supplies-Note anything needed or anything you have an abundance of
Social Connections (yes, even with COVID!)
- Events you went to-How did you enjoy them? Would you want to go again? Did you bring everything you needed?
- Parties hosted or attended-What was fun? What wasn't?
Holiday Visits-Was there a visit to Santa? Did you see friends from long ago? Were all of your visits on Zoom?
Volunteering You Did-How did you impact others? What do you want to plan for next year?
- Social Media-Which posts were most popular? Any cool ideas you saw others do that you want to use in the future?
Christmas Decorating Inside and Out
- Home decorating (inside)-What made you smile? What would you do again? What would you change? Any item to replace for next year?
- Home decorating (outside)-Note anything that worked well...or didn't.
- Christmas tree-What size/type of tree did you get? Need any new ornaments or lights for next year?
- Christmas Cards-What did you like about your card? How many did you send? Any addresses to be updated?
Family Traditions-Anything new started? Any updates to old traditions?
- Religious services-Any insights that can help for next year?
Review the Events of Christmas for More Insights
Another way to do this exercise is to think about the various events of the season. Go through each of the following and see if there's anything noteworthy:
- Week of Christmas
- Christmas Eve
- Christmas morning
- Christmas dinner
- New Year's Eve
- New Year's Day
My Personal Christmas Review 2020
Celebrating Christmas during a pandemic meant that some of my favorite things, like hosting my annual Girlfriends Wrapping Party and the Martin's Christmas party, didn't happen. I missed them!
Despite far fewer social connections, here are a few things from Christmas 2020 that I want to remember on December 1, 2021:
- Christmas tree-Got an 11' Noble fir. Thinner trunk meant it fit into the stand nicely and less volume meant it required less lights, which made the kids happy. Next year, go back to the traditional Douglas fir.
- Cookies-baked lots and lots, including Rugelach, Pignolis, Chocolate Peppermint, Giant Ginger Snaps and Sugar Cookies. New recipe, Lemon Ginger Sandwiches, was a hit. Confetti Logs that I first made in 1995 made a comeback. For next year, get plates/containers for giving cookies to friends.
- Christmas cards-Didn't order enough. BOO! Next year, order 85 cards plus extra envelopes. Upload the most current address spreadsheet. Helped mom and her aide sent out cards, including stamps and writing a note explaining her condition.
Decorating-loved how the decorations looked against the newly painted cabinets and walls, especially the pops of red against the white. Decorated @85% because there were no parties to host. Missed having the dining room chandelier decorated. Next year, do garland on bookshelves. Need new wreaths for outside and stocking holders for living room.
- Christmas Eve-a highlight as always! So lucky to share the seafood dinner of my people with our family friends. Cocktail was "meh" because I couldn't find the right recipe for Sour Cherry Lychee Punch. Grumble. Cheese plate was a favorite, though the homemade dinner rolls were a ton of work and no one ate them.
Spending some time to think about the holiday we just enjoyed can help you to have an even more joyous, less stressful Christmas next year.