I’m a planner. I do not like leaving things to the last minute—never have. I was always done with projects and papers for school early. Tight deadlines stress me out. Sometimes, this makes my life easier, but sometimes it adds a little extra pressure. One of the areas that it added extra was Christmas.
My husband and I both have big families. Neither of them expect extravagant gifts. They are both pretty laid back in terms of gifts. But, I added pressure to myself. I love giving gifts. I like finding the perfect present for someone. When I did that for every single person it overwhelmed me and I dreaded the Christmas season. I lost sight of what we were celebrating.
Gifts were causing me stress. I had to limit them.
My family started drawing names, and it reduced the number of presents significantly. Some years, I really miss buying gifts for everyone but I also really love putting all my effort into finding that perfect gift.
Handmade Christmas Gifts
I love creating. I’ve loved crafts ever since my mom let me do them. I started making gifts. (Mind you, they are not masterpieces and some of them have fallen apart) but it makes me so much more excited to give them. One year I made seasonal kitchen towels that you hang on an oven handle. One year I made a sunset sign, with a photo glued to mountains. I have wood burned, painted, sewed, and tried to utilize things that I have easy access to. I do have to plan ahead so that I have enough time to make them. But it has brought back my Christmas spirit. I am excited for everyone to open their gifts, and I am so much less stressed because they are usually made way in advance.
The year we got married, I started making Christmas ornaments for everyone. I do it every year and I love finding ones to make. Some are really detailed and take a long time to make, and some are popsicle preschool crafts but they make me smile every time I put them on the tree.
Shopping Early + Local
I do have some people that I really enjoy shopping for. But, I do my best to shop early (again, no last -minute things for me). I do my best to shop small. I feel better about what I’m buying and I love supporting my local stores.
There is the cutest toy shop in Old Colorado City, and also Poor Richards, Buffalo Ridge Trading Post has an incredible hot sauce bar. Pikes Peak lemonade is my go-to gift. I can add them to neighbor cookie plates or teacher gifts. Rocky Mountain Soap, downtown has amazing bath and shower bombs. I love going into the stores because the employees have the best recommendations.
Keeping It Simple
We don’t buy our kids a ton. We get them a book to share, something to wear (usually new cowgirl boots or a new sweatshirt or jacket—something practical and needed, but still fun). And a toy or game. We do an activity advent calendar and it is my favorite. I load it with activities and some are super small and some are really time-involved, but they all have something holiday-ish to do. A few of our favorites are: singing a Christmas song, coloring a Christmas picture, looking at the lights at the Broadmoor, making hot chocolate, making Christmas cookies, leaving a present at a friend’s house, etc.
The holiday season is upon us and I hope you find a way to enjoy it, if you don’t already!