Would you agree to host Christmas given this schedule?

ArchitectMammaOctober 8, 2012

Our kitchen cabinets are scheduled for installation December 3rd. We are GC-ing this job ourselves and if I line up everyone else, it looks like we'd be finishing around December 20. Given how deadlines and schedules seem to slip, would it be foolish to think I could host Christmas? I'm thinking it isn't out of the question entirely....but this involves multiple people flying so, it can't be a last minute decision. Thoughts???

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It wouldn't work for me. Unless you have a big space elsewhere and had a potluck, catered, or another kitchen to use. My MIL has a basement that has a kitchen inserted into one end of the partially finished room. This is a very modest 2br house built in the 50's. It works for her to have everyone eat down there with tables set up. She has served 18 people. Then following the meal we meet upstairs in the living room for presents, music, and cookies :)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 9:33PM
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At best, you will finish on schedule and be exhausted. At worst....

There is no way I would do it, but that's me. I would wait a year or another holiday further from the stress of the job.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 9:38PM
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I think it depends on how crazy stressed out you want to be during the holidays. Just because it is done doesn't meant the work is over. You still have to move back in. That can take some time, especially if your layout changed had dramatic changes.

So option 1 is that you agree to host Christmas and you're stressed about the whole schedule, rushing decisions that shouldn't be rushed, unable to enjoy your company because you're so stressed and possibly having to find an alternate place to have Christmas if/when your schedule slips.

Option 2 is that you make other plans for Christmas, give your huge remodel that time and attention it should have, enjoy your company and the holidays and breath a huge sigh of relief that you decided against hosting Christmas at your house.

I'd personally go for option 2.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 9:39PM
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Dont do it.

Have it someone else place. IF the kitchen does complete in time, then have everyone over for dessert after the dinner at your house for the unveiling.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 9:44PM
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Come on people....isn't anyone going to ask how the original poster feels about the family get together of Christmas on its own....independent of the status of the kitchen.

I think that if you want to host knowing that you won't have a kitchen, and that you would still find it a wonderful experience because it gives you the opportunity to see family and get together and do it in a state of it NOT being about the decor and meal, but about the holiday, then what a once in a lifetime opportunity. Never again will you feel free enough to say....please come for Christmas. We would love to see you. I have booked you into the Suite Hotel a couple of miles away. We can have X restaurant /grocery store cater in the main meal. Would you be a doll and bring some cookies, (home made or store bought) as I don't know if I'll have an oven. I may not have any decor up because we are under construction. But I will get a Christmas Tree, and we really think seeing all of you is too important to let this slip by us.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:33PM
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Would you agree to host Christmas given this schedule?

Yes, I probably would. And it would be a huge honking mistake that I would deeply regret.

Sorry, but I don't see how any schedule made in early Oct. that targets Dec. 20th as a completion date with you as GC for multiple trades could possibly have the required accuracy.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:44PM
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Are the people who are flying in staying at your house too? That alone can be stressful as routines are disrupted. Throw an unfinished kitchen into the mix....

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:55PM
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I wouldn't be able to plan on doing that. My stomach would be in constant turmoil over all the things that could possibly go wrong.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:03PM
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No. No. And no. I will bet you $100 right now that you will NOT make that deadline. The plumber will get sick. The electrician's car will break down. The drywaller got behind on another job and needs half a day more, which turns into two. My DIY GC project had all these delays and many many more. I won't tell you how much extra time it took me. It'll make you sad.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:08PM
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How close are the people who you are inviting...close as in emotionally close family/close friends? Are they close enough that you're OK with them seeing you in your robe and no shower?

Are they close enough that you don't mind them coming over if your house hasn't been just cleaned for the occasion...i.e., are you OK with them seeing the clutter in the Family Room from the kids playing, doing homework, or dropping their backpacks on the floor OR in the Kitchen b/c while the dishes from last night have been done, you haven't done today's dishes or there's clutter on the counters?

If yes to all of the above, then you probably could host Christmas - with the caveat that you probably won't be done so your guests will be around while you're dealing with contractors & subcontractors, your kitchen isn't usable, and you have dust and tools scattered around.

An even bigger question: Can your guests handle it? Will you be putting them in an uncomfortable position of feeling like they're in the way or just not feeling comfortable around the situation? Even giving them the option to come or not isn't really fair b/c they may feel that can't turn you down b/c you're close friends or family and don't want to hurt your feelings.

Trying to rush a remodel job is not a good idea. Do you really want to spend all that money remodeling your kitchen and be forced to make compromises with what you really want just b/c you've set yourself an unrealistic deadline (despite what your contractor tells you)? Do you want to later regret some of those choices you made b/c you were in a hurry?

Please think it through.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:08PM
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Only do it if you're into self flagellation and enjoy the misery and pain. There's no way in Hades that you'll actually meet your deadline, so that's your starting point for your decision. Add in the mess, and the stress, and the push and pull of family dynamics of even a fairly functional family, and it's a plan for some serious prescription medication in the coming month.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:28PM
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Why not host Christmas? - with the understanding that your house will be in disarray but you can have a wonderful meal at a restaurant - or a picnic at home - and enjoy everyone's company. Just don't plan on the work being done. In my family being clear that things will not be 'perfect' ahead of time means a lot less stress.

I think the bottom line is what you would like (besides things being finished). I am much nicer to be around when I don't feel like everything needs to be perfect.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:41PM
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Sure. Go ahead.
Since you appear to be believing that all the things you read about here, misorders, mishaps, disappearing workers, broken or damaged materials, back orders, (stop me) aren't going to happen to you, what the heck?

But I'd think you reading this forum would have your answer.

Really, though, if your people understand you're under construction and you don't care? It could be a great time.

One thing falling thru the cracks. You'd also have to listen to everyone tell you how they would do this, how you shouldn't do that, how this is wrong, and you DON'T WANT THAT, (remember? All covered here in other renos.)

Your choice, but I think if you are absolutely anything like most of us, you'll want your home done and beautiful for any company, so you'll just be a stressed mess.

Ho Ho Ho!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:10AM
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you are nuts. do not do it. stuff happens, that is the nature of construction. have them come next year.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:50AM
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Iwouldn't do it. I usually host Xmas eve for my large family of 30 plus people and there's just no way i'll do it while my kitchen is in middle of reno, its why we're pushing our demo start date till after NYE for that exact reason. We were slated to start first week of Dec with approx of 4 weeks work, i told my GC, no way, no how. Start in new year's week. Peace of mind for me.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:11AM
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Um. I wouldn't want to sign up for that much stress. However, I have signed up for that much stress over and over again, so....

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:18AM
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I would say that it depends on what is scheduled for when, and if your family has anywhere else to go, such as another relative with space. If for example, everything but the backsplash is set for December 8th that might be enough cushion. If your counter isn't going in until say the 18th, that's a totally different story. Don't forget that it will be Holiday times for your contractors too. Thanksgiving alone could cause a bunch of delays.

I know sometimes there is nobody else in the family who has enough space, so you may want to do it but have a backup plan like cooking at someone else's house. I would also say host the meal, but perhaps not out of town guests.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 2:01AM
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Hmm, The only way I would host with that schedule is if I had the only home large enough in my family to fit everyone. On second thought, I think I would rent out a reception hall before having it in my non functional home.

Your kitchen remodel might go exactly as planned or ...not. My kitchen falls under that category. Our original cabinet instal date was the second week of July. They actually went in the first week of September. Our plumbing was just installed today (yes, I'm doing the happy dance!) I thought I had everything scheduled perfect but then I made a last minute change in the cabinets, someone went on vacation, granite was not cooperating, a contractor waiting gets called into another job, etc.
Hosting Easter would be a wonderful idea.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 2:40AM
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ArchitectMamma, I'm in a similar situation, but not quite as stressful. My cabinets will be delivered on Nov 26 or 27. That will put our Dec 14 finish date in jeopardy. We have a GC, not DIY.

It's my turn to host Christmas, and I'm going to do it. We might be having chili out of the crock pot in disposible dishes. But, I don't care. For once in my life, I'm just gonna go with the flow.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 9:46AM
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Thanks for all the feedback. As some of you said, I probably know the answer to the question...the kitchen will not be done. So then it is more about choosing to host with a half finished kitchen or heading to my mom's which means flying with two toddlers under the age of 3. Don't both options sound appealing? :)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 10:05AM
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I think flying with the kids would be easier then doing Christmas at your house. Think about how much fun it will be to host parties once your kitchen is completely done and organized. Then you can have all the parties you want!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 10:08AM
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If I was looking for the picture perfect Christmas, complete with a set table and decorations and everything in it's place to show off my remodel, no way would I host. If I were just letting family and friends who are close and understanding, and who are not there to view my unveiling but to celebrate the holiday and maybe bring side dishes to help with the food (as I'm sure not every pot and pan will be unpacked), then sure. The best Christmas we had was when we were smack dab in the middle of our kitchen remodel and we set up a small tree in our finished basement... we ended up not having the whole family over Christmas morning since I didn't have a kitchen to cook in (went to my sister-in-laws), but just hanging out Christmas eve with a few family members around our little tree was lovely. "Hosting Christmas" can mean a lot of different things on different levels. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 11:22AM
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Stay home and let everyone know default could be Chinese take-out. Cook's choice. At best you get to have a great time in your new kitchen, worst...moo goo gai pan. :)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 11:59AM
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even if your kitchen is "done", there will still likely be construction dust and other mess that will linger. it took us a couple + weeks to feel like we were actually "done" once everything was installed. and my GC's cleaned up really well after themselves...and I'm not super anal...just a thought.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:04PM
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If your kitchen is not done, will you physically have room? At different times during construction, we had appliances in the garage and family room, cabinets in the living room, boxes of flooring in the dining room, etc. Not to mention most of our kitchen stuff (small appliances, most of our dishes and cookware, etc) was in boxes in the garage.

Even with the addition, for most of the remodel the house felt so much smaller. We physically just didn't have space for extra bodies - it felt crowded with just the four of us!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:36PM
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as others have said, it is unlikely that your kitchen will be done. The templating for your countertops can't happen until the cabinets are in and the turnaround time for that can be a couple of weeks and then you can't hook up your sinks, faucets, etc. until that's done, etc. etc...

BUT, flying with two 3 year olds is stressful too so either way you look at it, you're in for a bit of stress.

My kitchen is almost completed but even when it was torn apart I never stopped having people over. Its sort of fun and you are off the hook from doing things the "martha stewart" way (if that is even a consideration?). People have lower expectations for the meal... in my case the parties and dinners we've hosted during this have had a camping type of feel to them which everyone has enjoyed - especially the kids..

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:14PM
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I agree that you should count on your kitchen not being finished. But to add my two cents, I have a 2 and a 3 year old. I flew home with them once! I now get in a car and DRIVE 8 hours each way with two toddlers to avoid flying with them when we go home to see my parents. So I agree with mamadadapaige, it is a whole different level of stress.

With that being said, I also come from a family who would not even consider asking the question you are asking here. It would not matter to us if someone didn't have a fully working kitchen. I am living in a half gutted house with a bare bones kitchen and haven't stopped having family and friends over. I figure it is going to take us years to finish the house, if I stop having people over until it is done, we wont have any friends left.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 1:59PM
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You mentioned your Mom coming to you or you flying there. IT"S YOUR MOMMY! We don't care about finished kitchens, construction dust, or any other inconveniences. And two babies?! Grandmas will sleep on a bed of nails to spend time with our Grandbabies. I'd not care about whether or not the kitchen is done. Time to break out the paper plates and eat whatever. What fond memories it'll make for you little ones when they are older. But that's me and I"m not a fancy girl...but I am a Mom and Grandma and I would endure anything on earth to spend time with my babies (grown and new) during the holidays.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 2:30PM
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We hosted Christmas during DH's chemotherapy, so I may not be a rational one here-- but in general I'd ask why you would host? Why wouldn't this be a better year for someone else?

In our case, we didn't want to lose Christmas as well to the chemo so the family came, stayed in the homes of kind neighbors who were travelling, and did all the work, including finding us an artificial tree (first and last time) to avoid nausea-inducing odors and buying the meal almost entirely from Whole Foods (ditto re cooking odors).

But they had a kitchen to serve and wash in!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 2:43PM
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Non-kitchen-related thought, based on second-hand experience: As my friends' children got older, the kids developed a preference for celebrating Christmas in their own homes: they wanted Santa to come down their chimney, celebrate under the tree decorated with ornaments they'd made, presents became increasingly likely to be connected to something they already had (e.g., a Lego set that interacted with stuff at home, American Girl dresses when the doll was at home, etc.). If your little ones are both under 3, they probably aren't old enough to really notice where Christmas is being held - so this might be a good year to travel if they begin to express preferences towards Christmas at home in the future.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 2:48PM
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I hosted Christmas last year and our cabinets didn't go in until the week of Dec 12th, so later than you. Mind you, I didn't really consider that the install would go late and I managed the schedule like a hawk.

If you are GC'ing it yourself (which I was also) you should plan your schedule in detail in advance and have the subs committed to your dates in advance. Then the single most important thing you need to do is to have everything ready on each day for the pertinent subs, and be available to answer any questions or deal with any issues/decisions that need to be made (and you'll be surprised just how many there are).

In hindsight, the best thing about hosting Christmas last year was it forced me to get everything put away and cleaned up quickly. Which I would most definitely have procrastinated on bigtime if I didn't have that extra incentive!

I posted some info on our scheduling about halfway down the linked thread so you can judge how it compares to yours. We did have our schedules and trades locked down by early Sept though; do you already have your timelines committed to by your subs?

Here is a link that might be useful: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg1222423719089.html

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 3:49PM
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As long as you have a working range, sink and DW and you don't have to impress anyone in your family then sure why not.

Flying with 2 kids under 3 - I'd rather barbecue a turkey and wash all the dishes by hand than do that at Christmas. That to me is more of a nightmare and stress-inducer.

Your local grocery store can probably do up vegie/cheese trays for starters, buy pies and Christmas cake and just keep it simple.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:10PM
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I hosted Christmas dinner while my kitchen was completely in progress. I told everyone ahead of time. It was just close family (brother and wife and mother) who brought dishes to share. We did our best with a crockpot, rice cooker, bbq and toaster oven. We enjoyed each other's company, the kid's were home for santa (where they prefer to be on Xmas morning). It was the best option for us at the time and my family was fine with it.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 6:01PM
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1. How long will they stay if they come?
2. How long will you stay away if you go there?
3. Are you free to leave if you still have contractors coming in?
4. Will you be more stressed if you leave town than if you stay at home?
5. How important is it to you to have your kitchen finished when you entertain your family?
6. If they come this year and your kitchen isn't finished, will they come back next year to celebrate in your renovated kitchen?
7. How flexible are you/your family about dining out on holidays or bringing in a prepared holiday feast?

Sometimes its fun to be very casual and not worry about getting everything baked, roasted and otherwise perfectly prepared and served. And the best part is that if your kitchen isn't finished, nobody will have high expectations of you so less pressure in that regard. AND maybe your kitchen will be done enough or even done completely. You know your own personal needs and your family's style. Find the way that works best for you all to enjoy the holiday, whether at your home or your mother's. And it is so very true about Grandmas and their babies.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 6:20PM
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Depends. If by host you mean full blown decorating and doing all the cooking I say no way, but if you make modifications by going out to dinner, have running water and a place elsewhere to plug in the fridge, microwave and coffeemaker, can contain the construction mess so it doesn't interfere with the rest of the house, and have understanding guests then why not.

In addition to your mom who else is coming? And where does your family usually celebrate the holidays? If it's just mom and close relatives coming and they understand the situation then you should be fine. However if Xmas is usually at your Mom's and she (they) think travel is just as much of a hassle as you think it would be with 2 small kids then don't mess with tradition.

What is their opinion? Have you discussed the options with them yet?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 6:25PM
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The deadline date is best case scenario and we all know how that turns out.

Moving everything back in and organizing the kitchen was a nightmare for me. All those boxes to unpack and washing everything. Deciding which cupboard would house what. I don't want to revisit that!
We couldn't use the living room either because everything from the kitchen was practically up to the ceiling in there. Even though the kitchen was the renovation, it seemed to encompass the whole house.

Me, I'd offer to host Easter.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 7:40PM
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