Normally when July rolls around I start thinking about Christmas gifts. Like any crafter I start planning what I'm going to make for everyone, because as other crafters know you have to start early in order to have the time to get everything made. This year I am on a whole different page. I have not one desire to make anything outside of the few items I have in mind for Grant. This is so not me!
The past few years we have bought/made for over 20 people, not including Grant and my husband and I (if we buy for each other). Last year I think we hit our max at 27 people and I'm sorry but that's just CRAZY. I love giving gifts and I love making things for people but at some point we have to say enough is enough. Instead of being excited this year I was filled with dread. Dread at the idea of having so many late nights sewing, dread at the thought of trying to fit 20 some gifts into our tiny budget, dread at the thought of trying to figure out what the heck to buy/make for each person that they wouldn't throw out the next day, dread at all of it. For a crafter it really stinks to put your time, energy, and money into a gift you lovingly made only to have the recipient be lackluster about it, or it not fit properly because the wrong size was given, and I just don't want to deal with that this year.
I'm a firm believer that Christmas is not a time to feel dread in any way, shape, or form, so I said no more. It was fine when it was just my husband and I buying for parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, friends, bosses, co-workers, etc, etc. But now we have a nearly 3 year old and one on the way and it's time to downsize, and get back to the way Christmas should be. I want to focus on Grant being 3 this Christmas and the upcoming arrival of our second little one, and not put extra energy into the 20 something gifts I "should" buy for everyone we know.
Since having Grant I have thought a lot about what I want Christmas to be like for him, and my husband and I have decided we would rather it be about the experiences of the season than what Santa (and everyone else) is bringing him, and that this time of year should not be filled with stress which inevitably leads to an argument here and there. When I think of Christmas I don't think of what someone got me I think of decorating the tree, baking cookies with my Mom, and visiting for hours with my grandparents sitting on the living room floor. There are very few gifts we remember throughout the years so I don't want that to be our focus. Life goes too fast and we never know what the next year holds and who will still be with us. We have to take this time to make memories not stress ourselves out by buying gifts for everyone we know, stretching ourselves too thin, and regretting it come January when we are having a hard time making our bills on time.
For our families we are buying for just our parents and for the last couple years we have started doing couple gifts instead of 1 per person. I am elated with thoughts of only having to come up with and buy 3 gifts other than Grant's. A huge weight is lifted off my shoulders and I feel free. Free to enjoy the holidays, stress free!
One thing that's always difficult is our parents pretty much have everything and are getting more and more difficult to buy for. My solution is memories, especially for Derrick's parents since they don't get to see Grant on a weekly basis, photos are the best gifts. From July on I start watching for coupon codes through Shutterfly,com for free photo books. You can always find them and this year I also found a code for a free 12 month photo calendar which is perfect for my mom. I bought both of these items in the same order and only paid shipping costs which totaled a little less than $15! That's 2 gifts for 4 people for about $7 each. For my Dad and his wife I happened to get an email from snapfish.com for a free photo book. I of course jumped right on it and the shipping was only $1.99! Now its the end of August and I have all 3 sets of our parents gifts bought and paid for for under $18. Which means Grant is all we have left, and I feel pure excitement. I can't wait to have a date night with my husband to go shopping for his gifts. We have never gotten to do that before. It's always picking things up here and there, having to search for the best deals due to our budget. But this year I know we can splurge a little on just our little guy because we have no one else to worry about. It's wonderful and definitely a first for us.
I finally have time to make the stockings, advent calendar, and other little Christmas items I usually don't have time to make because I'm too busy worrying about making everyone's gifts instead.
Stay tuned for those posts, they will be coming soon!