Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Thank you so much for all your thoughtful, wonderful, kind comments telling me that I’m not a giant Grinch after all.

I am not sure why it takes me so long to figure these things out sometimes.  I think, for some reason, I expected Christmas traditions to happen  organically.  For a perfect magical Christmas to show up along with the rubbermaid tote of Christmas decorations and it never occurred to me that it was something I needed to actually CREATE  for myself.  I think I’ve been trying to order Christmas from Amazon.com, and it turns out they don’t sell “perfect Christmas” in a box after all.

It has been me and Erik for a long time now, and so just following along with our old family traditions was simplest.   But now we have kids and somehow that’s when it got more confusing.  Luckily our kids are still very young and so even though we’re still in the figuring out stage, that means we get to decide, still, what we want to do with this holiday. Is this even making any sense?  Christmas is in flux, I guess, is what I am saying, and we can still change it and meld it and we can do whatever we want to do!

I think I got caught up in the idea that the more presents I stuck under the tree for Eli, the more fun Christmas would be for him, and for us.  And that’s totally not true. In this case, less really is more.

For clarifications sake, when I say Eli got a lot of presents last year, I mean, no exaggeration, that he got between 40 and 50 things.  This was…excessive.  And overwhelming, and stressful for everyone.  We’re not going to repeat that this year.  (Even though no matter what I do there is STILL a voice in the back of my head shouting “HE NEEDS MORE PRESENTS” for reasons I just can’t explain.)

But lo! We have a plan.  I always feel better when I have a plan.  And even though half of me still wishes “Retreat to a desert island” was in the cards this year, it isn’t, so instead, I present to you, The Christmas Plan:

1. Get all the Christmas shopping done on one weekend.  Even better, on one day, leaving one present left to buy on a fun outing with 1. one of my favorite people and 2. a gingerbread spice latte.  And then after that, STOP.  NO MORE SHOPPING.

2.  Fill the advent calendar I made last year with fun “stuff” to do with Eli.  And blog it! Get ready for that tidal wave of excitement, ya’ll.

3.  Limit what we buy Eli  to 4 things from us.  This will be a Leapster, Duplos, Markers, and an art jar.  He’ll get one thing from Santa which will be a Fisher Price MP3 Player.  He’ll also get stocking presents but I am going to try to make it things like pajamas, play doh,  a copy of Chicken Run, soap, socks and other useful or consumable things, rather than crap no one wants that will just get thrown out.  Plus he’ll also get presents from grandparents, cousins, the neighbor, our friends, etc.  From his grandmother I believe he is getting the only thing he really asked for which is a cash register.

I think this is probably still too much stuff.  But baby steps, right?  Stuff I know he’ll use while entertaining himself is a gift to us all, you know?

4.  W will open Christmas presents Christmas Eve, with fun snacky fattening drinks and appetizers and desserts, but no big Christmas dinner.  (Instead we’ll do a fancy New Year’s Eve dinner). And then we’ll drive around and look at Christmas lights.

5.  Christmas morning will be for stocking opening and a one present from Santa, and then we’ll go to Dim Sum and then for a hike or a bike ride.

6. I am going to try to listen to as much Christmas music as possible, which always puts me in a better mood. I need to find the NPR schedule because I love all that pretentious choraly type Christmas music.

And that’s it! I know Eli and I am guessing he’s going to have way more fun with the 25 Advent Calendar activities that he would have being overwhelmed by 45 presents.

 

 

 

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10 Responses

  1. Sounds like a great plan. Your last post was very timely, and prompted awesome discussion b/t my husband and I. I look forward to hearing some more about this year’s Christmas.

  2. They got to open one each morning at breakfast. I like your “process” approach–you’ll find your way. When my chidlren were little, the most looked forward to thing for Christmas was the Advent Calendars their grandmother made for them every year. The gifts were things lip Chapstick, a matchbox car, a mini roll of LifeSavers, etc..Today they are adults and they still remember those gifts! They enjoyed the anticipation, and trying to guess what each little package contained.

  3. Sorry, my ISP did something weird while that was transmitting. ‘They got to open” belongs after “Lifesavers, etc.”

  4. That sounds awesome. I didn’t get a chance to comment on the last post, but I also wanted to tell you you aren’t a Grinch. I feel pretty much the same way. Last year, I tried so hard to keep a lid on things because I hate there being too many presents. But I kept forgetting what I bought and buying “one more small thing.” We withheld a few of them once I saw them all together in a pile. And then I have to fight back the tide of grandparent gifts which are CRAZY. They go crazy for all of us, actually, and a few years ago I decided to refuse to get caught up in this and we buy my in-laws one gift each, even if they insist on getting us each 25 things. As for the kids, I have to talk to myself fairly constantly all Christmas to remind myself that these gifts are given with love. They are not meant to drive me insane. I can put them in the attic. Just say thank you.

    Funny story: Last year, I went up to get something in February or March. I was a bit hormonal, and found about 10 unwrapped gifts for Jack and Nora from my A’s brother and his wife and I became enraged because why? Why did they feel they had to buy MY kids 15 presents? I didn’t even know these presents were there! (I hate making kids stop playing with the toy they like to keep! opening! gifts! so sometimes, there are unwrapped gifts at the end of the day.) Do they think I’m going to buy THEIR kids 15 presents? BECAUSE I AM NOT. Do they realize I have, literally, twelve nieces and nephews on my side of the family?

    Anyway, I talked myself off that ledge and stopped being unreasonably angry, but still. It gets insane. Crazed. TOO MUCH.

    So your plan sounds delightful. I resoundingly approve.

  5. That sounds perfect, and perfectly delightful. I especially love the shopping-all-in-one-day plan. That sounds heavenly. I need to get on board that train.

    What I liked best, though, about your plan is that it sounds like you have a TON of awesome, memory-filled Christmas traditions in the making. I can picture your kids getting all excited years from now about doing dim sum on Christmas… or looking forward all December to the Christmas lights viewing on Christmas Eve. Yay. 🙂

  6. This is the time of year where I get annoyed at how much breeding has gone on in my husband’s family. *sigh* It’s just too much stress buying presents for all those kids and the phone calls of what does my child want (he’s a teenager, he wants to buy stuff himself, give him money-done!) because they call my husband who has no idea, instead of me.

    Anyway, I love your plan. We open gifts on Christmas Eve with appetizers and I LOVE IT.

  7. I think that your plans sound wonderful!

    We were also appalled by the excess of last year, so this year we did two things:

    (1) My daughter’s birthday is in early November. For her party, we asked that people bring only art supplies which we gave to her preschool. This allowed her to make a big splash at preschool, and her class got great stuff. Some people came to the party with nothing, some brought art stuff, some gave a present anyway. It was perfect. And that way she didn’t get overwhelmed with stuff a month before Hanukkah.

    (2) For Hanukkah, we asked for “intangible gifts” from the grandparents. This means membership to Children’s Museum, show tickets, that sort of thing. We promised to wrap up a photo or somethign so that the kids would still have something to open.

  8. That sounds like an awesome plan! I know what you’re saying about that feeling of “must buy more” even after you’ve decided that you’re done shopping. Last year, I had a bit more money than usual, so I really went crazy buying presents for my family; it was really fun but as they all kept opening things from me, I felt kind of strange about it, like I was trying to show off or something – which I totally wasn’t. I realized that the problem was that I really enjoyed the shopping part, and that isn’t what Christmas is about, so I needed to tone it down a bit. So, I’m back to sticking to more of a budget this year and when I’m done…I’M DONE!

  9. I’m late with my comment here, but I think you have a super plan. It’s so hard to not get caught up in the “just one more gift” mentality, especially when we are flooded with ON SALE NOW messages beginning the week before Thanksgiving. I shop & stash starting in September, and sometimes I forget how fast things accumulate, then feel pressured to buy more when everything gets marked down before Christmas. My solution is to keep a list, limit my purchasing, and if I do end up with too much, I funnel some into birthdays (February & March). Even grandparent gifts will sometimes get re-routed.

    I am also totally on board with the low-key food plan. Who wants to spend all of Christmas eve or Christmas day in the kitchen? If we’re home, we usually do Christmas eve enchiladas, then we start Christmas morning with cinnamon rolls (prepped in advance, then baked in the am) and nibble all day on apps & snacks. Everyone is happy!

  10. […] last year was the first year I came up with a Christmas Plan.  Having endured many years of Christmas Suckitude, it FINALLY occured to me that maybe instead of […]

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