Keeping Christmas Real – Tips on Being Sane
Making a list & checking it a million times!
Yes, Christmas can be stressful, chaotic and exhausting. It doesn’t have to be so crazy or zap the last ounce of strength you have left after a busy day. I’m a marathon Christmas maniac. I want to stretch it out for as long as possible. To do that I’ve had to be a little inventive. I use these tips every year.
- I keep a journal of Christmas gifts and ideas. I drag that puppy out to see what I did in previous years that worked and didn’t.
- Gift List – I put everyone I need to get a gift.
- Gifts – I write down each gift I give so I don’t repeat it next year. It also helps when shopping.
- Food – For parties, dinners or spontaneous combustion events I include the kinds of food we ate and whether it was a good idea. I also put some of the comments. (Note: I might write this down after Christmas when I’m curled up by the fire sipping a latte.)
- Write about the actual Christmas holiday you spent with love ones. Next year you’ll remember how wonderful it was when all was said and done.
- I have a number of little ones to buy for so I put two on a page because I go a little “Santa Claus” when it comes to them. I want to make sure everyone gets the same number of packages to open. I also list the stocking stuffers.
- Amazon Wish List!!!!
- Take the kiddos in your life for a special day. Have them show you what they really want and take a picture with your phone. I do this several months ahead of time. Go back later and pick it up or watch for it on sale somewhere. Surprise! You are the favorite parent, aunt or grandma for getting the right thing! And they love having a day with you.
- Start a box of stocking stuffers in your favorite hiding place. Things become available all year. You’ll draw a blank when you actually need it so this is a real lifesaver.
- Take your journal I mentioned above.
- Photo copy your list onto your smart phone.
- Treat yourself to a gift too. It’s my payment for being—well—awesome.
- Shop alone. If you take your best friend, you’ll end up browsing without a plan.
- Shop early in the morning when clerks are helpful, rested and have just stocked the shelves. Oh! Compliment them too. They work really hard.
- Wrap each child’s gifts (provided they get more than one) in the same paper. Do the same with the adults. This helps me know at a glance how many each one has. Trust me they keep count. Wrap a sock or stick of candy cane if you have to!
- Buy paper and ribbon at half price after Christmas for the next year. Some hobby stores put it on sale before Christmas. I stock up and pack it with the Christmas decorations.
- It is just too much to shop for everyone on my list if I wait until December. There are plenty of sales starting in August. Have your family start an Amazon wish list so you can pick up things when you’re watching NCIS or The Walking Dead. (Not kidding.) Most of this year’s gifts I picked up on great sales in September and October. By Thanksgiving I just had to wait for the UPS guy to show up.
- My husband believes in magic. I know this because he NEVER helps with Christmas. He thinks it just happens I guess. So I set aside a day, an evening or some special time and wrap as many things as possible. (There is a lot!) I do it a couple of times. With kids, I’ll wrap all of one child’s then move to the next. I don’t add the pretty bows to the kids, but near the big event I go back and add pretty touches for the adults. My girls think I’m a rock star for being able to do so much. I just flash an angelic smile and say “thank you.” One year I had everything wrapped by Thanksgiving and stored in a closet. And yes! I did the “Thank you, Jesus” dance.
Christmas isn’t rocket science, just a little planning. There is still time to start that journal for your lists, ideas and complaints. Trust me on this. I have had relatives call me and ask me to consult my journal to see which kind of potatoes or pie we had the year before at the family dinner. I love my barely-hanging-together-sparkly-journal. Try it and let me know what you think.
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