Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Christmas in August 2009

If you are a fairly new friend of mine, I'm about to let you in on a little secret. Are you ready?

I start planning for Christmas in JUNE.

I like being organized and spreading my purchases (gifts, food and ornaments for the kids) out over several months instead of trying to cram everything into a couple weeks. When I plan ahead like this...I have found that I am more relaxed during the holidays and we have time to make special memories.

You will notice that June was two months ago....and I'm behind schedule.

I'm getting a late start this year for several reasons. Many plans have been up in the air....Calvin agreed to travel for Christmas without discussing it with me and then recent events have made that trip unnecessary. I prefer to spend Christmas in MY HOME. Especially while the children are younger and have unpredictable behavior large sleep requirements.

The other reason is that for the last five years...Calvin's side of the family has drawn names for gift giving. It started out of necessity...because money was tight and the dollar limit was relatively low. That limit has grown over the last few years and I've enjoyed the arrangement...being able to focus on one person and spending my budget on them.

This year some family members don't want to draw names. This has caused me to stress out a little bit about the holidays and wonder how I'm going to spread my small gift budget out among 5 people. If Mr Scrooge Calvin had his way...no one would be getting a gift this year.

I had a poll up a few weeks ago. Thank you for voting and giving me your opinion. The consensus was that few nice gifts were preferable to several inexpensive gifts and many agreed with me that Christmas really is about the Children....and not receiving presents.

This all gave me much to think about....and I told Calvin a few weeks ago that I wanted to limit the amount of gifts we bought for the kids this year. Last year...they each had 22ish presents and it took two days for them to open them all. This is excessive!

When I think back to last Christmas....I can't remember what we bought them as gifts (except all of the THOMAS the Train stuff). What I do remember is all of the fun we had with the elves, playing in the snow, the tea party, making cookies, watching the Christmas shows on TV and attempting to go to the parade.

This morning I was googling *filling my child's love cup* and I found this article from The Natural Child Project and it was as if a giant light went on! To read the entire article click HERE.

In a nutshell....after spending all of our time shopping, baking and attending a bunch of holiday parties we don't have as much time to spend with our kids. Children crave attention from the people they love and they need to have their love cup filled or they feel unhappy.

If you try to make a kid happy by buying them more presents to make up for the lack of time you are spending with them they learn that things make them happy. We never want to substitute gifts for love or they require more things to try to fill the emptiness they feel.

What every children really needs is the gift of feeling loved, listened too, understood and useful. Our kids want to be with us and do things with us. Spending time with them is more important than any gift you could give them.

And so...I feel like I'm on the right track and this year we will be taking the focus off from gifts and re-direct it were it should be. On Santa Claus making memories, helping other's and Jesus. He is the reason for the season...afterall!

List of things to do in August/September:

Organize Christmas notebook and create list and budget spreadsheets.

Find a support group for notebook addiction. (carried over from last year)

Start thinking about gift ideas for family and kids.

Select a date for the Holiday Tea Party

Start working on holiday letter

HALLOWEEN: Decide on and purchase costume for the kids. Decide on costumes for me and Bobbi.


  1. What planet are you on where you think YOUR kids need large quantities of sleep?! I live here too now and know that's not true.
    You just wish they slept more.

    I can't wait for Christmas with the kids!

  2. I love someone who plans ahead!

    And that picture is hysterical with that caption. Bravo.

  3. I am all about planning for Christmas early! I want all the details done early so that come December I just want to be able to saok in the season!

  4. Oye! Christmas? I can't think about Christmas until I after I deal with Halloween. And, then, I can't think about Christmas until I get the family through Thanksgiving.

    No wonder I am nuts for the holiday's.

  5. Now that school has started the rest of the year will fly by. I need to plan something for the holidays but it's usually just the 8yo and her daddy and myself. Who knows this year may be different since I've got a new grandbaby though.

  6. Once again, you are my inspiration! I really wanted to do better with Christmas this year, maybe I will be able to!

    I only like to have Christmas at my house or my parents' house. Same traditions and it still feels like home. I will NOT spend it at my inlaws ever.. just incase you were curious! HA HA

    I am so glad you are posting this again this year. It keeps me motivated.

  7. Hey Stranger, sorry it's been awhile, but I'm finally back! Great post! I also do all my Christmas shopping early, infact I'm just about done. But you are so right on, it's about the memories, not the presents, it's about the feeling that Christmas brings. I LOVE it! Have a fabulous day!

  8. Oh My goodness. You're worse than (I can't call her SWMBO because she has said she doesn't want to be referred to as She Who Must Be Obeyed any longer) LM - who also lives on lists - and her calendar. Of course, my sons are all grown now - so we actually look forward to Christmas Morning, when all three sons are home - which happens so rarely now. And somehow, the pile never seems to shrink from year to year - those three guys (and now, a Daughter-in-law, as well) still make out like bandits.

  9. Love to read this blog post!

    If you're still looking for help with the Christmas notebook, we have a lot of printable forms--and links to online Christmas organizing groups--at Organized Christmas.


    See you there!

  10. Way to go Connie! We started drawing names last year and it worked out really well. It's so great that you start early and then have everything figured out by the time the holidays roll around.

    I wish I could get myself organized. Thanks for the inspiration!


  11. hehe. I thought I was quite organised...I have bought the stocking filler stuff but that is about it. YOu are scarily organised chick!

  12. Wow, I am impressed. I wish I could be that organized. :)

  13. I posted about a holiday notebook recently....


    now im really curious to see yours :)

  14. I won't lie you kinda got my heart racing thinking I am behind with the Christmas planning already. Whew, now I need to go shopping, lol. Great blog!

  15. My oldest son is in charge of the boys' letter to Santa It's also a thank you note for last years' gifts.

    Nerf guns are stocking stuffers. Those are the BEST gifts ever, especially with a house full of boys. The two oldest now help Santa get things done after the little guys are asleep, a little egg nog, a little truffle, a lot of Christmas cooking! They think it's a hoot to see how many times they can shoot mom and scare the heebeegeebees out of her.

    I love the idea of buying early. I always start picking up gifts. My littles guy is getting an "antique" meaning old box to store his treasures. My boys love boxes like that!

    Your blog has made me itching to get ready for Christmas. However, I have to decorate for Halloween first, which is tremendous fun.

    Note: I still love presents! My motto: if you still believe in Santa, Santa delivers!

  16. can you plan out my christmas early too? I'll be your bff. : )

    Every year I vow to get my act together and well... every year nada. But you do sound like you have a great plan and hopefully this year I'll get my act together.


  17. A great big SITS hello. In June, really? I start planning for Christmas on December 26th...for the next year!!! But I'm not allowed to "talk" about it until July. LOL A kindred spirit for sure!


  18. I start early also!
    I find it so much easier when the holidays come around and you could also find the "perfect" gift for all parties because you have so many months to do so!

  19. Good for you! I think we all know someone who's parents tried to buy their love and we have seen the result.. it doesn't work.
    It really is the traditions and being with the kids that make Christmas so wonderful.
    Congrats on being featured on SITS!

  20. I too start planning Christmas early. I have even been known to start my shopping in Feb :)

  21. Im Here from SITS. Congrats on being FB. I love that you plan ahead. (I love to plan things-- and make lists). Which reminds me-- Christmas is coming up!

  22. Just found your blog. Love. It. I am impressed at the intense dedication to Christmas. I am truely a holiday freak too. Difference between you and me is that it is always a mystery how the whole joyous day happened. I have a bunch of teens. They are not nearly as easy to impress with the details I spend hours on.

  23. I just joined SITS yesterday so I'm still learning about the whole process and since you were the FB, I decided to check your blog. LOVE IT! I'm like you, a natural born organizer. However, I became a SAHM last summer and within the past year, I've seen my organizing fly right out the window. Maybe you'll be my new inspiration :) I look forward to reading more!

  24. Congrats on being an FB with SITS, Connie!

    A couple years ago, some mommies and I were talking about the Christmas present overload and one mommy spoke up and said she limited the gifts she and her husband gave their children to three - based on the number of gifts the Magi brought to the baby Jesus. That struck a chord with me and I've been doing it ever since. 3 is a nice round easy number to do.

  25. Can't wait to see what you come up with for gifts! Just came over from SITS.

  26. Oh that comment message is so cute! :o) I think that it is good that you have planned in advanace and that you realize that your kids need LOVE and not things as much as they do parental support. :o)

  27. You've just inspired me to get my butt in gear! There are only FOUR months until Christmas...that's not very long!! It's only like 8 paychecks (I get paid every 2 weeks). Holy moley, I might have just experienced a small panic attack. Thanks for the post. I need to run out and buy a "Christmas Notebook".

  28. Your attitude is great ... You're right on !! And I agree about being organized. It's the one thing that helped me keep my "sanity" when my kids were young.

    www.FunnyPhotosContest.com Submit CUTE or FUNNY photos and tell friends to vote for them. No entry fee.

  29. I love the photo and you just may have inspired my own Christmas card theme this year. :)
    I plan for Christmas all year long too. I decide on NEXT year's color scheme/activities while still in the middle of a December.
    You are my kind of people...

  30. Have you heard of FLylady? It's not a bad thing to have a notebook! LOL
    Sure keeps me organized!
    Good idea to limit the amount of gifts. We started making homemade gifts for each other a couple years ago due to money issues, so the kids each make a gift for each other and I make a gift for each kid, and then they get to choose ONE gift in a certain price range that is not hand made. Each hand made item is a surprise and it is fun trying to make sure no one knows what we are making for each other!

  31. I am actually raising 17 month old twin sons and like you thought it was a piece of cake.

    Um... no more. Whoah!~

    Love your entry and the witty comments that it provoked. I have nothing witty to say, since the coffee that gets me going every morning before my little dudes wake up, has long left my system. Need that precious sleep so don't care snarf any more down...

    Love your blog!

  32. Desert Greetings fellow SITSta!

    There is something to be said for planning now for the holidays. I feel that if you start now and get a little done each month, when the holidays actually arrive you can enjoy the time with family and friends and not be stressing over everything.
    I already have a few Christmas present stashed myself,

    Wishing you a scent-sational day in the SITS limelight!

  33. Being a Mormom mommy and grandma, I can chuckle at your description of living in a Utah Mormom neighborhood.

  34. Great Blog! I only wish to be this organized and really learn to enjoy Christmas and all the preparation that surrounds it. I am inspired to TRY!
    From a fellow SITS-ta!

  35. I have inspirations of being that organized for Christmas but it just doesn't happen. Love the pic of your kids :)

  36. I think it's a great idea to start in June for the holiday season. Even if it's just in thought! Last year we went to Disney for Christmas so we didn't have to think about it too much but this year I have to think of something to top that- if possible.

  37. The photo of the kids is THE BEST I've ever seen-- and that includes my kids and grandkids! I'm rofl with that one-- the faces are priceless!

  38. I love the fact I am not the only one planning for Christmas 1/2 way through the year! I am so glad there are others who do it too! Love the blog BTW!

    Stopped in from SITS

  39. I used to be a summer-Christmas planner too. Then after marriage, I fell behind and became a fall-Christmas planner. Then after daughter came, each year I got later and later....

    And now I am lucky if I can get everything together on Christmas Eve.

  40. I like to start Christmas shopping early, so I can take advantage of good deals. Sometimes I start as early as the Christmas Clearance sale the year before.

  41. Connie!

    I LOVED this post! What a great reminder to us all. And, ofcourse...I love your reminder about keeping Christ as the center of Christmas most of all. i actually wrote a book called "31 Family Devotions for Christmas" I have free contests on my blog every Friday, so I hope you'll check it out.
    (This new blog is replacing my old one. I'm having a Grand Opening celebration for my new site & blog on September 4th!)

    Anyways....I didn't write all that just so you would come and see all my stuff. I truly did appreciate what you wrote and I am one of those that starts preparing for Christmas early, too! (Like in January...when everything is on sale!! LOL!)

    Have a great night! I look forward to keeping up with you on here!

    Great blog!

  42. Christmas in June?!?!? I wish I was that organized. Stopping by from SITS. Love the xmas pic by the way :)

  43. Hi! Thank you so much for your kinds words on my blog. The blogging community has really brightened my day and I keep praying that things will get better.
    Just wanted to say that I love this! Christmas time is my favorite time of year and I too try to spread out my gift buying so I am not broke in December.

  44. I think I will try this early this year! last year was chaotic cramming all in!

  45. I'm so glad that there's someone else out there who thinks early for Christmas shopping. I start my Christmas shopping in February. Seriously. I keep an email list to myself of what I bought and for what person and who I still need to buy things for, so that I don't forget anyone. Greg thinks I'm nuts, but it sure helps not to run and rush and build up a bill in December. Plus, when I see something for someone throughout the year, I can buy it and know it's there, not, "Oh, I'll buy it later" and not find it again....

  46. I tried to comment on this the other day from my phone and it wouldn't work - very frustrating. Anywho - I can't believe you plan for Christmas so early! I'm so jealous! 5 out of our 6 birthdays are in the fall, and Halloween is a HUGE deal here at our house. I probably SHOULD plan Christmas in June, when I have time! Post lots of ideas for the rest of us to keep it simple, please!

  47. Dude, you are WAY more organized than I am. WAY. As in, way, WAY. :)

  48. I started doing this last year (upon your suggestion) and it worked fabulously!

    I started in July and purchased 2 Christmas gifts. I was on vacation on Aug 25th, so I'm a bit behind, but I'll catch up.

    I need to start my notebook too.

    And, if you find a notebook and/or list making support group, hook me up. I'll add "Join support group" to my to-do list :)

  49. I actually start planning for Christmas around Thanksgiving. And by Christmas, I mean the FOLLOWING year's Christmas...


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