With the Christmas season gearing up, I'm taking a good hard look at our our schedule, budget and intentions. With those things in mind I'm hoping to enjoy a Christmas with our family that is rich in tradition and memories and lighter on our pocketbook and storage space. I've come up with a few tactics for making this possible.
1. We'll use what we have.
We won't be buying wrapping paper, cardstock or envelopes this year. We seem to have enough of these supplies and it would be nice to lighten the load on our storage areas instead of having each area/container/etc. packed to the brim. I did need to buy some tissue paper, but I think that'll be all. This has gone even deeper...into my fabric stash even! After all, what am I saving all those scraps for? I've made some simple bags from those scraps and used my pinking shears around the edges and cinched them up with pretty ribbons. This is a good option for our family as we need to ship gifts across the border. These gifts are completely accessible for examination by customs officials while still not being completely obvious to the recipient until the desired time for gift openings.
In the kitchen, we'll make homemade gifts from ingredients we mostly already have and using containers we have on hand.
For our children's homemade gifts this year (I try to make something homemade for each of them each Christmas), I'll be using fabric and supplies I have squirreled away in months and yes, years, past. No, the fabric may not be the perfect color or print, but who wants to go to the craft superstore in late November and December? Not me!
We won't be purchasing new decorations this year, though I'm still contemplating an ornament for each child. We'll need to repurpose some items that are not traditionally reserved for Christmas. I've got some ideas up my sleeve in this area so I'm hoping for the best.
2. We'll do our best to operate with the one item in, one item out principle. This is certainly a challenging area for us, especially when it comes to toys. But, without some kind of limits, our house which is extremely low on designated storage space becomes overrun with toys and the kids get overwhelmed and don't really play, but go from toy to toy to toy, not really enjoying any of them. I admit that this is one of those areas where I like to talk a good game, but seem to find it hard to part with things. I'll try to stay strong this year, though!
3. We'll slow down to enjoy the season. At least this is my hope. We're only planning on attending a couple of parties so this should not be too difficult. Somehow I have visions of sitting around in the evening sipping hot chocolate with the children, listening to Christmas music and just enjoying time together. To make this a reality I'll need to stay on top of my routines and be disciplined throughout the day to complete necessary tasks so that there is time to just enjoy being together as a family and to enjoy a few low-preparation activities. With the kids being 5, 3 and 1, I'm letting go of ideas of a perfectly decorated home or tree, perfectly decorated sugar cookies or even a wonderfully presented meal. I'll do my best and allow my children to do the same so we can relax and make happy memories together.
4. We'll give gifts to bless, not impress. Our aim will be to give gifts that will be sure to be enjoyed and used, not to "wow" anyone. We just as well adopt this approach since it is no surprise that it is beyond our means to be passing out cashmere sweaters and iPods. Hopefully the lovingly wrapped humble gifts we are able to give will communicate our love and care more than the use of our Visa card ever could.
4. We'll spend time teaching our children the real meaning of Christmas so that, hopefully, the above four items can all be kept in proper perspective.
Merry Christmas! What ideas do you have for joyfully managing the holidays?