Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Getting Ready for Christmas - Part 1 of 2

Well, other than finalizing what we will purchase for Seth's larger gift (I'm still looking for ideas, though I've received a few excellent ones already!), my 'ideas' lists for gifts and stocking stuffers are now complete, and organized into a 4-column chart where the headings are: The gift receiver's name; the gift idea(s) that I plan to purchase; the store where the item will be purchased; and a box where I can check off the item once it has been purchased.   Now it's time to get my shopping done (I'm well underway already, actually, thanks to some online shopping I did a few weeks ago); my goal is December 12, which gives me about twelve days.

We don't buy a lot of expensive gifts for Christmas.  As I mentioned earlier this week, we tend to buy one 'larger' gift for each kid ($50-60) and then a few small things for each, for about $5-6 or less.  But still, that means purchasing three larger gifts and then 9-12 smaller things in total (3-4 little things for each kid)...plus stocking stuffers.  Plus gifts for other family members and a few friends and teachers, etc.  It adds up in errand running!  I'm sure you know all about this!!

I always find generating ideas to be the hardest part.  In fact, I can now breathe a sigh of relief because the hardest part for me is over...or, rather, it will be once I finalize Seth's larger gift idea.  I don't mind the running around part to pick things up - it's actually the one time of year that I mostly enjoy shopping.  The hardest part this year will be finding some time without the kids to actually run those errands.  But my parents have offered (well, happily agreed) to take the kids for a few hours later this week so that I can tear around one area of town and get certain things checked off of my list.

We're also doing stockings for Christmas this year - for the first time ever.  This has been one of the highlights of my last few weeks and I'd love to tell you about it.

For most of my married life (almost 18 years!), I have had a dream of doing Christmas stockings.  Even though we've never done the Santa thing, I love the idea of filling some big socks with little trinkets.  But I decided years ago that we would not start this tradition until our family was complete.  Well, it is complete now!!  In fact, it was complete last year already, but I wasn't ready - I was struggling under such a weight of depression (I know that more in hindsight than I did at the time) that it was enough for me just to get through the gift-buying and other Christmas prep.  Last year was a pretty memorable year in how huge our transition was to becoming a complete family...and let me just add how different things are/I am this year compared to last year...it's like a world of difference.

So about a month ago, when I happened to be near a mall, I dropped in at Chapters for a few moments to see if their Christmas stuff was out yet - I've always loved the stockings they sell around this time of year.  They didn't have them out yet.  When I went back two weeks ago, I was thrilled to see that they had their stocking displays out, and I was able to choose some simple stockings (red velvet with glittery silver snowflakes on them, and a jingle bell at the top) and stocking holders.  When I paid for them, I had tears in my eyes and a quivery lip because I knew how long I'd waited to do this.  The cashier asked if I was ok, and I said that I was more than ok, that this was a bit of a dream come true!  My smile was broad.

So I'm pretty excited about the stocking thing this year and have had fun planning little things to go into them...nothing fancy at all, and all inexpensive.

In case you're interested, or in need of ideas for your own kids, here are some of the things on my list for kids' stocking stuffers:  mandarin oranges (of course!); fruit leather strips; toothbrush; temporary tattoos; one of those big m&m-filled hollow plastic candy-canes (great space occupier!); other chocolate; a McDonald's gift certificate to buy a hot chocolate; a mini cereal box; chapstick; small strips of clay from the dollar store; an animal sponge capsule from the dollar store; a small game for each; a loonie; bubble gum for the boys and body glitter for Lizzie; and a matchbox car for each.  As you can see, nothing here is expensive - the toothbrushes will be the single biggest ticked item!  But it'll be fun and I can hardly wait to see the kids' faces on Christmas morning.  Actually, I can hardly wait to see my own face on Christmas morning...all about those silly stockings!!

I've also, btw, given Geoff a list of things to buy for my stocking (and he's free to add to the list with his own imagination!), and have told him that I will provide the oranges and the chocolate for my stocking!  I've got my list planned for his stocking, too, but will not divulge that here just in case he happens to look at my blog...which he rarely does...do you notice my discontent about this Geoff??!!!

jk...sort of.  :)

Tomorrow I'll talk briefly about the planning I've been doing for our month of December.  My goal is to keep going with school for the first two weeks of December but to switch gears in the afternoons to Christmas oriented activities.  I'm happy to share those ideas with you tomorrow, and welcome your ideas, too!!

More to come.

Ahh...only four days til December!


  1. I'm so glad you will have your stockings this year. Take pictures for us when they go up on the mantle. And you HAVE to get the gold foil chocolate coins for the stockings! Why I think it would be a sin and a shame to not have them. lol Can you tell that those are a BIG deal in our family tradition? My daughter is 22 and still feels the need to remind me to get them. I only forgot them once...

  2. Well I never would have thought about the chocolate coins! But I shall add them to my list and start our own little inclusion tradition! I would hate to have been around on the year you forgot them!!



  3. I bought my stockings this year too - I guess I am on the other end of the spectrum - it's a leap of faith for me. I bought 3 - one for me and two others.

  4. Yay Melissa - I love that you did that. We built a mudroom on faith a year before we got our referral...we built it for a family of five rather than for a family of three (if we never received a referral of any kids) or a family of four (if we received a referral of a single child). We have five cubbies for boots, five drawers for personal stuff, five baskets for mitts/hats, five shelves for shoes, etc etc. May your leap of faith work out as well as ours did!!!