On Christmas organization

Christmas is a mere three days away and my Facebook feed is filling with friends and acquaintances declaring victory over the to-do list and sitting down in front of a tree surrounded by beautifully wrapped gifts and drinking an egg nog. I just wrapped my last gifts last night, programmed my children’s Leap Frog gifts and checked the piles one more time.

Canning cellar = Super secret present location

In our home, we wind up traveling a lot for the holidays. My in-laws live an hour away and we usually make two trips in a week because the reunion typically falls within days of the holiday (for 2012, it’s tonight). If we are going to my grandmother’s, she also lives an hour away and in the case of this year, we’ll also be going there twice in a week: Christmas Eve to celebrate with her, my father and youngest brother and then next weekend to celebrate with my uncles and cousins. Between November and January, we will have had 6 separate Christmas celebrations. It gets a little overwhelming and now I know why my parents would forget gifts at home or lose hidden ones!

For me, I start an idea list in the summer. Two of our nephews have birthdays in December and so we also have a birthday party to attend. On my list, I have the gifts grouped by event and when the date is known, I write that as well. Once I’m sure I know what we are purchasing for people, I write that item down and then I make an additional note: purchased/arrived/wrapped. I try to do as much of my shopping online as I can since I hate going into stores this time of year, hence the “arrived” slot. I cross each off as it is applicable.

All those shipping boxes sure come in handy since that’s what I use to separate out the gifts. Of course, I box them based on date needed and then when we are ready to leave, I just grab the appropriate box and head out the door! And believe me, when it’s a struggle to get your children convinced that a drive in the car won’t end in disaster (both kids detest their car seats), any bit of easy I can get is right up my alley!

I do Christmas cards, and this year they were done prior to Thanksgiving only because Hallmark had a sale in October and I had nothing to keep my hands busy one night while we watched a movie. Even though I printed photos to include in some of the cards, my total for 80 cards and photos was still less than $20. It’s the postage that gets you though… Anyway, I was happy with my cards and photos until I saw some of the photocards we were sent and I remembered why I always do those instead. Next year. There’s always next year…

Christmas has gotten easier for me over the years, even though we’ve had to add more celebrations and we’ve had our children. This year was the easiest, lowest stress and most enjoyable we’ve had in the 8 years since we started dating! Although, I should mention that I got to do it all by myself. Neither child was interested in choosing gifts for others and Matt has been working a lot lately, so I was able to just do my own thing. For me, doing my own thing, wrapping gifts alone in the basement after the kids went to bed made for a practically perfect way to usher in the holiday celebrations!

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