Every year I try so hard to have a stress free Christmas season and every year I end up with the opposite. I am determined NOT to stress over Christmas this year. I’m not worried about having Christmas trees up with no decorations (our two smaller trees are still bare). Actually Ava Grey is having a blast decorating the tree we put in her playroom. We knocked out our Christmas card picture back in November. Brian has helped out tremendously. He helped plan one party (it was a party for his friends), made the Christmas cards, ordered them, and helped address them. He is also helping me with gift ideas this year. That is such a huge help – especially for some of the guy gifts. He get Ava Grey to bed last night so I could hit a couple stores without any little helpers. I don’t like shopping on the weekend this time of year so that alone was a huge blessing.
Today I am heading out to shop with only one child. If today goes as planned, I will have all but 3 gifts purchased by the time I pick the big kids up from school. The only thing left will be to prepare all the homemade treats (that can’t be make more than a day in advance).
On the to-do list:
- Map out all food items I will prepare for the holidays (dishes and gift treats). Purchase any non-perishable ingredients.
- Purchase the last of the gifts on my list (minus 3 that have to wait until next week).
- Print all photos needed for Christmas gifts.
- Order one more batch of Christmas cards and get them in the mail or ready to deliver.
- Finish planning the 6th grade Christmas party for the boys at my son’s independent studies school and buy all non-perishables.
We’ve also reduce the number of gifts we are giving (and thus receiving) this year. We’ve had some of this in place for a few years but added others this year. So far, no one has complained. Here is our plan.
- For cousins and siblings, we give gifts to them until they have children. Once they have children, we only give gifts to their children. As the oldest siblings, we’ve had children forever it seems. This was initially put in place to help our siblings out. We were buying them a gift however they were buying gifts for FOUR of us. The balance was way off.
- For the larger family parties, we either draw names or give to the children only. For one family party “children” are 10 and under. For another, “children” are high school and under.
- This year I am making some homemade gifts again (both edible and inedible). When we were first married, I used to make gifts for people and I enjoyed it. Not only did it save money, I felt like I was putting so much thought and love into their gift. I plan to make more homemade gifts next year.
I’ve also purchased two broken items at a huge discount. I bought a decoration normally priced $60 that I know a family member will love. I actually went to see if they had one that was not broken. When the cashier scanned it the discounted price popped up – $5!!! Several items had popped off but were still present. I bought it! Then I bought some $2 super glue. $7 for a $60 decoration from an awesome brand made my day. I’ll share a picture after Christmas as the receiver will likely read this .
At Hallmark, I noticed a picture frame that was perfect for one family member. The glass had a chip in it though. I asked if they had another and they didn’t nor did any other Hallmark in the area. I heard the manager tell the cashier to put it in the defective box. So, I asked if they would sell it for a discount. They sold it to me for 50% off. I used a $3 gold crown rewards gift certificate leaving my out of pocket cost only $5! I am stopping by Home Depot today to get a new piece of glass cut for the frame. I’ll share that picture too after Christmas.
As I mentioned above, I plan to make even more gifts next year. I’ll be spending some time on Pinterest this season searching for gift ideas for next year.
Have you made homemade gifts in the past? I would love to see your ideas. Feel free to leave a link in the comment section either to your blog or a website with great homemade gift ideas.