Christmas is a time filled with joy, excitement, festivities and fun. That is, unless you’re a mom. Every year, I look forward to the holiday season. Visions of sugar plums dance through my head like everyone else, then reality sets in. Being a mom around Christmas time, or any holiday for that matter, is tough stuff. There’s school parties to bake for, holiday outfits to find, Christmas cards to order and mail, a menu to plan, gifts to buy, gifts to wrap, gifts to hide — so many freakin’ gifts! So, it’s no wonder that many of us mamas are left looking like we’ve been through the ringer by the time the new year hits.
Last January, I made a promise to myself: I’m going to do Christmas right this year. I’m going to devise a plan to enjoy it to its fullest. I’m not going to let the anxiety that surrounds buying the most perfect gifts or finding the best yet inexpensive holiday cards consume me. (Not to mention studies show people who get a head start on holiday decorations are happier people all around.) It’s been eight months in the making, but I know this December, I’m going to enjoy the holidays, and you can too. It might still be summer, but I’m already planning for Christmas, and here’s how:
I’m keeping a running gift list.
Every year I seem to go bonkers over getting people the perfect gifts. By December 15, I’m just hoping to get them something they won’t totally hate. However, a little pre-planning can knock this stressor out of the picture.
The second my kids mention that they want something, I grab for my phone, open my Christmas notes and add that item. When my son proclaims he wants a CatBoy car, or my daughter says she needs to have a new JoJo bow, my response is always, “Better let Santa know.” Little do they know that Santa’s added it to her list, and I’ll remind them of these must-haves when it comes to writing that precious list to the big guy up North.
My list extends to the rest of our family too. If you’ve mentioned something that you like in front of me in the last eight months, odds are you’ll be getting it during our gift exchange. I’ve also been paying attention more to my own fleeting thoughts. When I think, “Cousin Kyle would love that,” I’ll add it to my list in hopes that I pick cousin Kyle in our family Secret Santa.
I’m buying gifts ASAP!
I’ve proclaimed to anyone who will listen to me that gifts will be purchased before December. Imagine… all of your gifts bought and wrapped before the month even descends upon us. I know, it’s a wild idea. However, with the above list in your hand, and Black Friday in November, it can happen!
I’m purchasing those adorable Christmas clothes when they hit the shelves.
Let’s face it, Christmas clothes will start showing up in stores by October. Don’t put off what you can do today. I’ll be picking up our matching PJs (you know… the PJs you always think would be adorable for your family but then forget all about when the holiday madness begins) and cute Christmas outfits as soon as I see them in the stores instead of grumbling about the early arrival of all things jolly.
I’m going to do my research early.
Last year, I spent two hours searching for the cutest Christmas cards that wouldn’t break the bank. Two hours! It was frustrating, and didn’t leave me feeling all warm and cozy as you would expect during the most wonderful time of the year. I’ve made a holiday to-do list and any item that requires a little research will be addressed in October or November.
Of course, my plan isn’t fool-proof. Of course, I will be under a time-crunch and find myself running around like mad at some point in December. But, I hope that my holiday anxiety will be minimal this year. I’ve only got a few short years with my precious kids before the magic of Christmas changes for them. I only have a few years that they will want to bake cookies with me instead of head to the mall with their friends. So, this year, I vow to enjoy this time with them. I vow to enjoy the decorating, baking, visit with Santa, Christmas movies, holiday parties, laughter, innocence and magic instead of overthinking and worrying about what little time I have to get other things done.
Wishing you a HAPPY holiday (and pre-holiday) season, friends!