I love Christmas!
Serving others is my love language so preparing the holiday meal or making something special for friends and family is my favorite gift to give. I’m also not a fan of gift cards or cash as a Christmas gift unless that is the true need for a particular person, so for my family, I like to search out the perfect gift. It’s kind of like picking out a birthday card. I can sift through 50 cards at the store before finding “the one” that says exactly what I want to say. A simple Happy Birthday just will not do. I know, it’s a self-induced curse! This is when making a list and checking it twice is important. Planning ahead and spacing out the shopping along with making some compromises in my schedule helps reduce some of the stress. I have learned a few tricks over the years that have helped lighten the load and create some fun memories for our family. I’d like to share them with you. They have become fun holiday traditions for the Jones family.
Oh, Christmas Tree. Oh, Christmas Tree.
It all starts with the Christmas tree. I don’t stress about getting it up the day after Thanksgiving. The tree goes up and lights are put on when we have a free evening and the finishing touches are typically made over the following week. Ever since the kids were little, we would take them to pick out an ornament to purchase for our tree so we have tons of them. Along with all the homemade ornaments, they have made at school over the years, (yes, I put every one of them on the tree) we have tiny Tonka trucks, baseball players, Power Rangers, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob Square Pants and Barbie ornaments just to name a few. Our tree is a hodge-podge of ornaments and I absolutely love it! It’s literally a walk down memory lane every year.
Gift Exchange Game Shopping and Memory Making
I have a special shopping day with my girls who are both grown. We pick out gifts for their brothers and dad, but I also take note of everything they ooh and aww over during that day then take my sons shopping another day for the girls. It’s a wonderful day of laughter that I cherish. We finish the day with dinner, a glass of wine and even more laughter. Later in the month, I have another day of shopping with my sisters who live locally. We are outlet shopping queens! We probably spend more time giggling than we do shopping but for me, it’s about making memories. My husband and I, however, have mastered the art of online shopping. We can sit in the comfort of our home and knock out some serious items on our list. It’s a great compromise because my husband would rather be at the ranch or in our greenhouse than in any store.
Christmas with our extended family would be crazy expensive and stressful if we bought gifts for all 30 who usually attend. And that’s not even all of us! We set a price limit and buy one fun gift to play the “pick a gift or steal a gift” game. It can get pretty cut-throat but we always make up in the end.
Christmas Dinner: Don’t overload your “plate”
Our Christmas dinner is always a joint effort. My husband and I plan the menu but everyone picks a dish or two to bring. This gives each family an opportunity to contribute. We all join in on the cleanup as well. When our bellies are full, we gather in the living room to watch the movie Elf and put the finishing touches on a special day.
Letting go of having the picture-perfect Christmas has taken some effort on my part and has made time with my family more enjoyable. I hope you all have a very Merry (Stress-free) Christmas!