working our way through the list

When we are preparing for our annual Christmas Open House, there is always a long list of tasks that need to be done. We keep a running list on Google Docs, shared with those who come over to help. They can check that list to see what needs to be done. We can add to the list as the week goes by. Easy and so helpful! The list is organized by rooms. Most items on the list are not cleaning chores but other things that need to be done. Add bows to the banister garland, wash the cabinet fronts in the kitchen, hang wreaths on porch windows, etc. It seems that every time I go through a room, I see something else that needs to be done!

Older Son and his family came back on Saturday to help with party prep. Rose Red and Snow White were our busy, little elves. Running errands, setting up nativities, placing poinsettias, and washing windows. They were ready to jump in to help whenever we called their names. And if they got to climb up on something that is usually off limits, all the better!

elf help

Rose Red filled the Three Kings gift boxes. She had red, green, and silver foiled candy Kisses. She decided the silver ones were for the gift of gold, the green ones for the gift of myrrh, and the red ones for the gift of frankincense. If you are here for the Open House, you can check to see if there are any left!

Three Kings gifts

Genny came back to help on Saturday and Sunday. We worked on the Putz tree. I ordered a new white tree this year. The other one was looking worn out. The new tree is taller and looks great! What it doesn’t look is that pink! My phone camera would not adjust for the LED lights. There is a pink faint gleam to it, but nothing like this picture.

Putz tree

We added Putz houses and churches from my Etsy stockpile.

Putz house

Putz house

Putz house

Putz church

Putz house

On Monday, I finished seven new shadow boxes for the local gift shop Breath of Eden.

Christmas card shadow boxes

And I finished this Christmas Tree Lot Putz. Fun to make! It is listed in my Etsy shop – ChristmasNotebook.

Christmas Tree Lot Putz

On Tuesday, DH added garland to the top of the kitchen shelves.

garland over the kitchen shelves

I made enough Chex Mix to fill four one-gallon Ziploc bags.

stirring the Chex Mix

I made Oreo Cherry Truffles.

Oreo Cherry Truffles

The paperwhites are shooting up. A sweet reminder that spring will come again!


I made new ornaments for one of the trees. It used to hold pictures of our children and grands. I changed the theme to “Christmas at our house.” I used foam core board and pictures I printed to make the ornaments. After the Open House is over, I plan to post a tutorial. I got the idea at Making Lemonade.

Christmas ornaments




On Wednesday DH finished cleaning all the light fixtures. Clark helped change the burned out lightbulb.

changing light bulbs

I put ornaments on this little aluminum tree. Winston and Amy supervised.

aluminum tree

Winston even offered to help decorate.

Winston "helping."

Afterwards, he sat in the basket and admired the tree with its vintage ornaments.

aluminum tree

My sister found all the vintage ornaments in thrift stores a few years ago.

vintage ornaments

I straightened the beads on this little tree. They stay on the tree when it is stored and had somehow become tangled a bit. Not hard to fix. Amy watched from the chair and Ski made a close inspection. To attach the beads, I bend the very end of the branch back and over the bead string. Holds them in place very well. I do the same thing on the blue and silver tree in the downstairs bedroom.

Jesse tree

DH hung the snowflakes from the kitchen ceiling. Now it feels like Christmas!

hanging snowflakes

My usual routine for open house prep is to spend Thursday, Friday and Saturday (before the open house on Sunday) in the kitchen. Today, I made a big pot of chicken tortellini soup which we can lunch on this weekend. And I dipped truffles and cookie bar bites.

Daniel’s Cookie Bar Bites

Cookie Bar Bites

Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

Peanut Butter Truffle

Mocha Truffles

Mocha Truffles

And Chocolate Creams

Chocolate Cream Truffles

Today our daughter-in-law and older grand came over to help. They will be here until after the party. They are making great headway on the list. Tomorrow friend Laurie is coming to help and tomorrow evening my sister Genny will arrive to stay until after the party on Sunday. Also, our son and two younger grands will arrive tomorrow evening to spend the rest of the weekend. Lots of helping hands. I am very grateful!

I think we are doing very well with our schedule and the list of things that need to be done. Tomorrow, while everyone else takes care of the rest of the house, I will be dipping more truffles, making last minute cookies and candies, and cheering on all my helpers! My thanks to all of you!


One Comment

  1. Posted December 2, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Your Putz tree is gorgeous! And I love how your photo ornaments turned out. We are getting a real tree this year and will be visiting one of the cut your own places next weekend after my son gets home from college. So I am living vicariously though all of your beautiful Christmas decorations 🙂

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