A couple of days ago our home was all a buzz with talk of Brig's latest quandary. Is Santa real or not? I told him it was up to him to decide for himself. He believes, but that doesn't alleviate his suffering; it just creates a new problem. What if he believes in Santa, but Santa isn't real after all. Then his kids, when he has them, won't get anything for Christmas. He hasn't come up with a solution for that one yet, but Hunter, always listening in the background, has. "I believe in Mom," he said. For someone still having issues with potty training that is one smart kid.
I've been dreading the impending holidays for some time now. I think Thanksgiving will be okay, but the idea of doing the whole after the kids go to bed Christmas Eve thing by myself is hardly appealing. (You know what I mean, right? I'm trying not to out anyone here, just in case I have young readers.) So I've been trying to put a little jingle in my step despite my real feelings. For me this means having projects to work on: new stockings for the entire family, handmade Christmas cards, and a ridiculously fun new decorating scheme for the tree. To have the time to get all these projects done I knew I needed to bust out all my Christmas shopping pronto. With two great formulas, I got all of it done in one evening. Kids and extended family. Enough of my friends and family have asked for my system that I figured it would be easiest to just blog it.
My kid formula is not original, I read it on a blog last year, but it was too late to incorporate then. Here it is: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. 4 items. (And stockings of course.) It's clear, it's organized and it's concise. What obsessive-compulsive dreams are made of! So go to your favorite kid clothing store and buy an outfit or article of clothing for each kid and check it off the list. Go to the bookstore, pick out a book for each kid and check it off the list. You get the idea. And you're doing all this as Santa's helper, of course.
I am crazy excited about my formula for all the extended family, but I have to be vague so I don't ruin it for all my extended family members who read my blog. I'm excited about it because it was fun to think up, fun to put together, it will give the recipients some insight into our family, and it has the potential of turning into an annual tradition. Each family member picked a favorite thing (or I chose it for them, just knowing their favorites) and we bought 8 of them. Everything will be wrapped with a tag saying whose favorite the item is and one of each item goes in a basket for each of the extended family members. So for my family they are "Five Favorites" baskets. (I included one of Matt's favorites. I'm not done being sentimental yet.) Some ideas for favorites are movies, books, board games, video games, candy bars, treats, restaurant or store gift cards, magazine subscriptions, museum memberships, scented candles, favorite type of popcorn, favorite color of play-doh...depending on the categories you choose you could spend as much or as little as you want on this. It works for any budget. And every year the kids can decide what their favorite thing is to share with the rest of the family.
And there you go. The shopping is done and I can go back to building birdhouses and looking for a stuffed peacock to sit atop my Christmas tree.