Have you already missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Are you stressed about gift giving?
Here is some suggestions on how to survive the season with sanity, from a seasoned mother of six:
Three Gifts, Christmas Date Night, Santa Doesn't Wrap, Religious Gift and Extra Gift Cards.
A great rule of thumb my parents used when we were young was Three Gifts each. Their reasoning was that the Christ Child received three gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, so three must be a good number. We don't always use the Three Gift rule with our kids, due to pricing of some big items, they may only get one or two. But use this rule of Three Gifts to curtail costs and keep it simple.
When all the kids were under 10, Bob and I would do all the Christmas shopping in one evening. It was our Christmas date night. We would have one of the grandmas watch the kids (sleepover is best) and we would have a nice dinner out and then go to a MAJOR toy store.
We always took this list with us when we went shopping in hopes of
making each one's Christmas dreams come true and also to keep us from
throwing in impulse items or getting more gifts for one child than another. To make a list, we used the ad flyers for major toy stores that come in the mail in early December. We always gave these to the kids and let them circle any and all the toys they wanted. We always told them that Santa needed ideas and that he could never bring all the items they wanted, but would bring some of them. This became our working list.
Another list to have with you is a list of things the children already have. Home many times do you go to buy a new train for the Brio set and can't remember if you have Thomas and James or Thomas and Henry? If I don't write down Little Pet shop beauty shop, I can easily think she has Little Pet Shop hospital. Write down what you have so you don't duplicate.
As the children have grown up and no longer want kiddie toys, the gift giving gets trickier. One thing that is always great is a family gift, that everyone can enjoy. Some ideas could be foos-ball table, ping pong table/pool table, basket ball hoop, kayak/paddle board.
At our house, Santa doesn't wrap.
This was always the tradition in Bob's family growing up. When our kids were little, all the gifts were from Santa. And Santa doesn't wrap, he displays the gifts. One child's gifts are on the sofa, another child's gifts are on the chair. Not wrapping saves so much time and money and waste. Also, a time or two, it allowed us to switch a gift from one child to another after everything was laid out the night before to make it all look pretty equal.
One thing we always try to do, not only for our own children but for gifts for our god-children too, is to give a religious gift. Depending on age, it could be a bible, a crucifix, a rosary, a prayer book or devotional book, a picture of a saint or holy hero or just a prayer card and a prayer. A Truth Be Told Download of the Month Club subscription is a great gift to inspire teens, click HERE to JOIN.
The last several years, we have bought the restaurant gift cards that give a discount or a bonus card for after the holidays. We usually buy extra of these, for people we might forget. I recommend getting some $5 and $10 cards and keeping them with you. Extra Gift Cards, come in really handy not only for someone you forgot, but also for someone that comes to mind spur of the moment: school personnel, hairdresser, postman, AND for Kris Kringle gifts that your kids remember as you are driving to school in the morning! And if you don't give them away at Christmas, they are great to give to a mom with a new baby so she does not have to cook a meal any time of year!