The Christmas spirit has taken up residency in my house and I am trying my hardest to embrace it. The holidays can be equal parts tough, fun, and exhausting for me because I am a list maker who is never satisfied until every line item is check-marked to completion.
As a mom, my holiday to-do list seems endless. There is so much work to be done in anticipation of December 25th. Christmas celebrations also have the bad habit of lasting five to ten days for my family due to holiday parties, school programs, gatherings with extended family, and visits to Kris Kringle prior to the big guy’s epic sleigh ride. I like to stay busy, but the holidays take it to the extreme. It often feels like Christmas is happening during all of December for my crew and me.
I counteract the chaos by trying to have a solid holiday game plan. This type of organization seems to chill me out and also make me be better about enjoying the holiday season. I need the reminder to smile and relax, as much as I need the reminders to buy more scotch tape and seasonal coffee creamer.
Presents for the Kids
Gift giving always gets out of hand at my house. My children have only two cousins and many generous family members. My husband and I also want to receive accolades on Christmas morning, so we are right there with all of the grandparents, aunts, and uncles when it comes to buying presents for our little ones.
I am still a firm believer in letting Santa get his dues, but I do not let him give out the biggest or the best gifts. For one, I want to win “coolest mom ever” on Christmas morning by nailing it with the perfect presents. Why should Santa get my credit? I also always go back to a Facebook post I read about Jolly Old St. Nick and the fairness factor of gift giving. Young kids talk about these things at school, and no one wants to think the worst of Santa Claus. But, it is hard to explain why he brought bicycles, surf boards, and trips to Disney to some children, and small gifts of sidewalk chalk and play dough to others. Therefore my husband and I try to stay more minimal with Santa’s shopping, which means the big guy in the red suit typically gives small to medium size gifts, such as: graphic novels, small lego sets, chapstick, toothbrushes, socks, and silly string.
The past couple of years I have kept my holiday shopping in check by doling out four gifts each to my kiddos that fall under the headlines of: Want, Need, Wear, Read. Four presents is still more than plenty, plus the topic guidelines keep me focused.
This season I got a bit creative on my own and changed my headings to:
- Something to make you THINK…
- Something purple, blue, or PINK…
- Something to SHARE…
- Something for CARE…
The “think” category is limitless and can be books for reading, board games that require strategic play, crossword puzzles, or a Soduko notebook.
The color category of purple, blue, or pink can be changed up to be any color that fits what you are buying. I have two daughters, so the chances of having gifts with a splash of pink or purple are high. A person could say any color in addition to pink to make the rhyme work. This grouping of presents for my kids this year will include a nightlight, a cd case holder, and an under the bed storage tote. I know, I know these are not extravagant gifts, but my children need them if they want to keep requesting Taylor Swift music and Artemis Fowl books.
Something to share is my favorite category because it means group gifts. I am wrapping up one thing and putting all four of my kids’ names on the tag. This guideline makes me feel good about going big on a gift because the entire family is going to enjoy it. Basketball hoops, vacations, amusement park passes, a karaoke machine, a tree house, tents, games, and more all work under this category.
Something for care is the staple grouping for the obligatory gifts of underwear, pajamas, bed sheets, toothbrushes, or anything else that requires some sort of caring for oneself. My daughters are getting wet hair brushes because the tangles from bedhead are causing serious morning routine tension. My baby boy is getting a crib sheet and my preschooler will probably get bubble bath soap.
The Season’s Reason
I am ahead of the game this year thanks to an earlier than usual holiday shopping trip with gal pals. However, in between all of the planning, gift wrapping, and holiday cheer spreading…I need to remember to enjoy myself. My kids currently love the holidays, which means I need to embrace these sweet times. It won’t be long and they will all be shrugging and mumbling when it comes to decorating the tree or piling in the car to see the city’s holiday lights on display.
I may bear the brunt of the holiday load, but I also reap the benefits of bringing magical moments to my family. And thankfully my husband and friends will let me vent went the holiday stress goes to my head. Deep breaths and the ability to relax are on my wish list this year, and I plan to have fun this season (come holiday crisis or Christmas miracle).
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