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Entertaining but not how I used to

(26 Posts)
overthehill Sun 29-Dec-19 14:32:38

In the past quite enjoyed having gatherings of people round. I am not a last minute person so any food that I prepared and could be frozen was done in advance, house scrubbed to within an inch of it's life beforehand along with shopping so everything sorted for the big day.

Now 72 not quite so keen on the work involved. Family tradition so our turn to host this coming New Years Day. I made the decision I am done with cooking so buying everything from the shops. Only thing I've made is a Christmas Cake.

Now the house, lucky in as much we live on a quiet road with just the two of us so doesn't get that dirty. Gave it a thorough do before Christmas so today am going round just dusting ledges that show. This was unheard of once, but I thought 'what the heck who's going to notice '.

Do others take short cuts they never used to and like me feel slightly guilty.

Ilovecheese Sun 29-Dec-19 14:44:59

Yes,I do. I can't remember the last time I gave a room a thorough "do" and I used to do so regularly. What makes it worse is my short sightedness which means I can miss quite large spiders webs!

Callistemon Sun 29-Dec-19 15:05:11

Yes, me overthehill
I never used to but we've both felt a bit under par this Christmas so this week's gathering is going to be an M&S one.

Without those two annoying people who advertise M&S Food.

The house had a thorough do in between one virus and another so had a lick and promise yesterday.
No-one is going to mind.
They all take their shoes off.


phoenix Sun 29-Dec-19 15:23:01

The Christmas decorations hide a multitude of sins tchwink

Our mantlepiece hasn't had a dust since the garland and the cards were put on it!

Nortsat46 Sun 29-Dec-19 15:24:16

I took lots of shortcut with the food this year and reined in on some of the meals I used to make.
It felt much easier.

I used to follow many of my mother’s traditions and cooking methods at Christmas not allowing for the fact that she was a stay at home mother and I have a complex and demanding job.

We do give ourselves some burdens to bear, at times ... (or I certainly do ...).

Lyndiloo Sun 29-Dec-19 15:24:18

I used to thoroughly 'spring-clean' the house ready for Christmas. Everything was spick and span. Over the last few years my housework leading up to the big day has got less and less. I was quite ashamed of myself this year, and a bit upset about it. (Only two of my windows cleaned, etc.) But I just thought, 'Stuff it - I can't do all this work in such a short space of time!' (I'm 73, btw.)

Family came to us for Boxing Day - and guess what? - not one person said, 'That window hasn't been cleaned!'

The two most important rooms in the house are the bathroom/loo and the kitchen. (And these were pristine!)

Windows? Bah! Humbug! smile

GrandmaMoira Sun 29-Dec-19 15:31:04

I cut back on cooking years ago. I used to make Christmas cakes and puddings for my MIL and DF as well as for us. I also made mince pies and sausage rolls. I haven't done any of that since my DF died.
This year I gave up wrapping and used gift bags. That saved lots of time.

SueDonim Sun 29-Dec-19 15:34:14

I certainly take short cuts nowadays, in the form of a cleaner. blush I needed her when I badly broke my leg some years ago but nowadays it’s a luxury I’m not prepared to give up until I can’t afford it.

SueDonim Sun 29-Dec-19 15:36:53

Lyndiloo I had a mad window-cleaning session just before my daughter’s wedding. I did something to my shoulder which meant that I endured 18mths of pain, hospital & physio visits and only ended when I was given steroid injections.

Window cleaning is bad for your health! grin

vinasol Sun 29-Dec-19 15:41:16

I clean my own windows but they don't get done as often as they should! I'm one floor up in a maisonette flat and if I knew there was a window cleaner nearby then I'd ask for them to be done. At least the blinds hide some of the dirt!

Harris27 Sun 29-Dec-19 15:42:07

I’m fairly houseproud but doing more hours at work leaves less time for chores. But I do try and keep up what doesn’t get done I don’t beat myself up about anymore!

Witzend Sun 29-Dec-19 15:45:29

Yes, I used to blitz the house if guests were coming, not any more. As long as it’s reasonable - I have to put my glasses on to see the dust!

I do still mostly cook, but it’s many years since I’ve made elaborate or fiddly food for guests, or had anything like a proper dinner party. And if I feel like it, I’ll go and get starters or puds from M&S. Or both.

Had two ex colleagues round for lunch shortly before Christmas and just about everything on the table was unapologetically M&S.

I was sort of converted many years ago, when we were invited to lunch with the sister of a Frenchwoman we had met on holiday.
The sister lived in London and I was half expecting a display of French cookery skills that would put mine to shame.

But she told us quite unashamedly that she had bought absolutely everything readymade from M&S - and there were paper plates, so hardly any washing up!
Something of an eye-opener at the time!

kittylester Sun 29-Dec-19 16:49:39

I have a cleaner too and use M&S in conjunction with my cooking. I always do double portions of stuff that is agreeable.

lemongrove Sun 29-Dec-19 16:54:27

Same as Phoenix says 😁the house is full of Christmassy bits and bobs and cards, that you can’t see any dust.
Due to DH’s recent illness, no hosting going on here, but family come and go and I serve the occasional sarnie and mince pie/ coffee but that’s all ( I could get used to that!)

dragonfly46 Sun 29-Dec-19 16:58:03

Ditto kitty

EllanVannin Sun 29-Dec-19 17:05:07

Round the edges for me. I don't move things as I used to do to dust.
A good " bottoming " is now a thing of the past when it comes to house-work. I'm too jiggered just hoovering the place.

Xxjanexx Sun 29-Dec-19 17:12:34

The only housework I’ve done over Christmas is the kitchen,bathroom and run the hoover over.
I’m a list person each Sunday I write a list of what’s to be done in each room...then highlight what I feel like doing each day then tick it off as it’s done.
I find it helps my MH if I try to keep to a bit of a routine.
As for baking I haven’t done any! Shame on me.

Hetty58 Sun 29-Dec-19 17:13:39

There's no point in exhausting myself and I just don't have the same energy I used to. People come to see me, not the house. My brother and OH were pleased with a salad, jacket potatoes and (quickly made) chickpea and spinach curry. I made a sponge cake the day before. That's about all I'll do these days!

Granny23 Sun 29-Dec-19 17:38:01

From the day I got married (in 1966) and had my own house, I did all the celebration meals for Birthdays, Christmas and New Year. In fact for the first few years I did 2 x Christmas dinners and the same at New Year as my parents + maiden Aunt did not get on with DH's parents and Maiden Aunt. So it was 5 of us for dinner at lunch time then 6 of us (including my sister) in the early evening. This continued until they died even though I had two children added and was after a short break, still working full time. On reflection I realise that these 'elders' were all only in their 60's (and I was only 19 when I married.)

It strikes me that people regarded themselves as 'elderly' and absolved of parental and hosting duties at a much younger age than our generation do.

Jomarie Sun 29-Dec-19 17:53:26

I do agree wholeheartedly with you Granny23 - I too feel that the younger generation (not all) have become convinced that we 70+ year olds have the same energy, commitment and enthusiasm for hosting celebration meals as when we were twenty years younger! I wish!! I find it all exhausting nowadays even though I actually do now have the time being retired.
I wonder if it has anything to do with many of them (again not all) starting families at an age when we were finished reproducing? Just a thought. hmm

varian Sun 29-Dec-19 17:53:37

Since I got married, also in 1966, I have probably done about 45 Christmases. The exceptions were one or two before we had children, when we lived abroad and I think we've had three at AC's homes. Usually we have a houseful. This year only 11 but there have been 17 sitting down for Xmas dinner.

Hardly any two folk in our family have the same diet. We do have omnivores, but even they might disagree about how they want the turkey done. Then we have those who eat fish but not meat, the vegetarians and the vegans. There are some with serious allergies - dairy, eggs and sesame and others who have to be gluten free. Fortunately I do like cooking and the others will wash up.

One of the traditions has always been Xmas pudding. I make a vegan, gluten free version which contains money, dowse it in brandy or whisky and set fire to it. This year I told them on Xmas Eve that I was about to make the pudding and one DGD said she didn't like it, several others agreed. I said it was a tradition but they seemed happy to let it go so we did not have any Xmas pudding!!!

We did have chocolate mousse, sherry trifle, fruit salad, vegan ice cream and mince pies. No-one seemed to miss the pudding. So much for tradition.

BlueSapphire Sun 29-Dec-19 18:31:08

All my windowsills look terribly grubby, and it's not dust or dirt I promise you.
One of my cats has taken a liking to stripping out all the sealant around the window frames, and the only thing that stops her is a liberal sprinkling of pepper. Recently found her at a window I had forgotten to do. She has now started on the doors...
And like others I am nowhere near as thorough as I used to be. I think there's only me and I don't make much dust. So long as the rooms are tidy and I have a quick run around with the Hoover every so often, it looks ok.

rubysong Sun 29-Dec-19 20:14:36

This was the first time in 47 years of marriage that I bought mince pies instead of making them. The world didn't come to an end. Next year I won't do a Christmas cake. It still hasn't been cut. Maybe I'll get a plastic 'dummy' cake and ice that as I quite enjoy doing the icing.

overthehill Tue 31-Dec-19 08:52:03

I'm glad I'm not the only one.

Granny23 you're so right this had never occured to me. I to married at 19 and took on the mantle of host in chief. My mother never entertained or either of the two MILs I had.
It's opened my eyes, so this time will be the last and if I'm still alive and kicking next time my turn comes round we can go out for a meal it'll be cheaper to, I spent a fortune yesterday.

Maggiemaybe Tue 31-Dec-19 09:18:45

Yes, I’ve learnt at last how much easier it is when you keep it simple (stupid). For the first time in 40 odd years of hosting Christmas, the cranberry sauce, stuffings, bread sauce and mincemeat came from the supermarket. Nobody noticed. Just as they’ve never noticed before that they were all homemade. tchsmile

As for cleaning, having the decorations up is the best excuse ever for not doing it. Mine don’t come down till January 6th. I suppose I’ll have to do some dusting then (sigh).