Monday, 4 January 2016

Christmas is better on a spreadsheet

As I’d rather be the go to name when we are looking for a Christmas villain – and because Scrooge gets so much bad press – I’m sharing what really excited me about this past Christmas.

I should clarify I’m not actually fan of excitement; it only leads to bad decision-making and ultimately disappointment.  Excitement and anti-climax are forever friends.

Instead my kicks and giggles come from slick planning and execution of the family fun around Christmas time.  There’s little more warming than when a plan comes together and everyone is enjoying themselves.

Look how much fun my nephew has at Christmas

Literally any excuse for a spreadsheet

For Christmas the count of spreadsheets now reaches three, and if Microsoft Access had been in any way understandable I’d have a Xmas database by now.

We have:

Christmas Present List
This goes back to 2010, and has a record of what we bought for people.   Which is great when we are looking for ideas to start with, and as a double-check that we aren’t making a hat trick of sweaters or slippers for Granddad.

It also operates as a shopping checklist with presents going from ‘Red’ to ‘Black’ once we’ve got them.

It doesn’t have prices or supplier on or anything, but it’s amazing how my wife has gone from hating this spreadsheet to loving it as it takes a load of stress out of keeping track of present shopping.

Christmas Hunt Clues
We paint Santa as a bit of a joker, who thinks leaving presents under the tree is a little too easy for a cheeky scamp, so have a fun Christmas present hunt to festive tunes in the early hours of December the 25th.  So new for 2015, we recorded a list of where we hid all our boy’s presents, and the clues to find them.

Mind, I’m not sure how useful this will be next year, as the boy initially got a little upset as when he found no presents under the Christmas tree he thought he was on Santa’s naughty list.

Christmas Supplies Spreadsheet
My family laughed me out of town a few years ago when I issued them a Xmas supplies spreadsheet.  It had a list of all items we needed for a successful Christmas Day and against each item, the family member responsible.  However this has proved useful to remove stress, and also to alleviate problems recalling who bought what the previous year.

All these spreadsheets take mere moments to update, sort in the way you want them, and print copies for whoever needs them.

Take time to save time.

It doesn't stop there

But my Christmas efficiencies and instructions no longer stop there.   This year other highlights include, buying a large illuminated Christmas sign, erecting it, but losing a few LEDs on it during its use this Christmas.

Guessing that might piss most people off, but I just saw it as an excuse to return the thing for free, and effectively score us a free outside Christmas display for the 2015 season.  Score.

And finally, in a move that I know we save much procrastination next year.  I made notes as to how I put up Christmas lights inside and outside our home.

Because I’m an imbecile I can never remember how I’ve done stuff from one year to the next.  For the last couple we’ve decorated our banister with the lights I bought for my somewhat botched wedding proposal.

Getting all the knots out, and then finding I’ve missed a rung, or got too much left, after 30 minutes of wrapping the hole gazillion feet of cable around our stairs has me muttering and declaring how I’ll never be doing it again.

After I went through that process this year, I stumbled back upon the successful technique for their application.

And thus this information is written down and recorded within my new Christmas Decoration Instruction Word document.

I’m smiling as I type that, as I feel the tiny amount of stress that action has now removed leaving my limited capacity brain.

It’s terrible fun you know, and satisfying, being a miserable nerdy git like me.

Now with spreadsheet and instruction bells on at Christmas.