Did it happen to you?
Did you suddenly find yourself half way through December and totally overwhelmed with what still had to be done? Still Christmas gifts to buy or make? Cards to write? Meals to plan? Every year I think I’m doing well until it gets to be about 10 days before Christmas then I panic. Not this past Christmas!
The year before I was so stressed out trying to get everything done I didn’t enjoy the Christmas break with my kids. I vowed that next year would be different. I knew that I had said that every year so I thought about how I could change things to make Christmas more relaxing, more fun and more about Jesus birth than gifts.
I started in January 2019. I wrote in my new planner at the beginning of each month to purchase two gifts on Amazon. It was a great trick. I helped me to really think about finding things for people. I also spend a few hours on Pinterest planning out gifts I would make for people. Click here to see my awesome boards. I have one called Cute Christmas and one called Gifts to Make. Both have great ideas for things to plan for next year’s creating. Each month I could work on something and by Christmas I had a room full of wrapped gifts ready for December. I don’t actually have a Christmas room but how cool would that be? Every extra space was crammed with gifts; under beds, in the basement, in my closet and under the baby’s crib.
What I have noticed is that Christmas has definitely become a season of celebrating and enjoying. Our first Christmas party is always the first weekend of December our Foster Parent Association hosts a Christmas breakfast with Santa. All of the foster families that sign up get a gift from Santa. All our children no matter how they came to us get a gift. We make that our kids one gift from Santa. All of December people ask my kids, “Are you excited for Santa to come?” Their reply gets a lot of funny looks when they tell people that Santa already came and had breakfast with them and gave them their gift. It’s quite precious and it’s great to get Santa out of the way and the other family gathering gifts are given come from people they love. No strings attached. We teach them to make and give gifts to people because they want to show that they care. After that first party, there are so many more and we’re thankful they are spread out from Dec. 1st through January 1st.
What I found by purchasing two gifts each month on Amazon, was that by the time December was half way through we were done all our shopping. We had successfully avoided all crazy mall shopping, all the lines, all the nerves, all the angry people, all the parking lots. I was busy finishing up my crafting but I waiting until the kids were in bed. When my kids got off school we had two weeks of calm, quiet fun. We did our own kids (all 9 of them plus the 3 grandkids) family Christmas meal and gift exchange on the 22nd the Sunday before the 25th. We had a lovely, calm Christmas Eve service at church and I had the stomach flu on the 25th. I was so thankful that everything was done and we were still able to focus on Jesus’ birth. As I was so sick, I remembered I felt just that sick during labour which made me think of Mary’s childbirth. I’ve never thought much about that part before. Poor Mary. Having to labour in a barn. That couldn’t be comfortable.
Now that’s it’s January, I’m going to once again write in each month to buy two gifts. This year I plan to wrap them as soon as they come in so I don’t give them to people before hand (which I am terrible for!). I love giving and I usually have a hard time waiting. I’m also going to write down a list of what I already bought in my phone so I’m not over buying for one child (that may have happened too!). I will start my Pinterest planning in January so I have some cute gifts ready for those who just pop in around Christmas.
If you want to have more time to spend with your family during the two week break, try some extra planning in January or at least July to help ease the Christmas rush.
Here are some of the gifts I made this year.
Made these for quite a few people including my aunts and grandmothers.
Made this for my skiing sister in law.
Made these for the kids teachers and some neighbours and friends.