Back on Land

He deploys, and I make a life back on land.

Simplifying Christmas Giving

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Here’s how Christmas shopping has gone for me over the past few years.

  1. Ask kids to write letters to Santa. Wait for it. Wait for it. Wait for it. No letter.
  2. Remind them of the the rules … “No letter, no presents.” Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it. No letter.
  3. In the meantime buy random cool things I think the kids will like. Random toy. Random clothes. Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching. Time is running out, and Christmas begins to add up.
  4. Finally get the letters and realize two things: (a) my kids really don’t ask for much (loooooove this) and (b) they each have a pile of presents already but nothing that’s on their lists.
  5. Go back to the stores, shop some more, blow any budget I had. Hate shopping, hate shopping, hate shopping.

(Usually there’s a step 6 of me forgetting about stocking stuffers for one kid or the other and rushing out to buy some random stuff on the 22nd or 23rd … yes, I should get coal EVERY year …)

In the end, the kids are happy, and I will admit I love that one picture of the Christmas tree surrounded by a giant pile of presents. However, I am always left frustrated by seeing a pile of things I know the kids didn’t want in the the first place, that will hardly get looked at, and will annoy me all year.

Well, NO MORE!

This year our letters are already done. I told the big kids last week that we would be writing AND MAILING our lists over the weekend. I told them about “The Four Gift Rule” (something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read) and gave them a a slip of paper with “want, need, wear, read” sections and lots of blank lines and told them to start thinking in advance. Then on Sunday we all sat down together at the table and wrote letters to Santa (on these super cute FREE printables). All in one sitting, three kids finished letters to Santa. It was beautiful.

Letters to Santa

Then we “mailed” them …

Mailing our letters

Later that evening, Santa, Amazon.com, and I began our yearly meeting of the minds and wallets. All in one evening the vast majority was ordered, and I already have a clear plan in mind for everything else! I am absolutely thrilled!

And how are we fairing on the “four” part of the plan?

Well … not too bad really. Early on Josh and I decided that in addition to the four gifts, each girl would receive special gifts from Mom and Dad, something they didn’t ask for that each of us can make or choose for them. Which actually brings our “four gift rule” up to six, but I am determined that we will stick to that number. I’ll be honest: it’s going to be tough. I really do LOVE that Christmas-tree-surrounded-by-gifts photo, and I really do like buying gifts for my kids! Resisting the urge to splurge on “cool random things” is HARD!

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On the flip-side though I know that  what’s in store for the kids is a morning of wishes fulfilled. I know they will really appreciate and love what’s under the tree, and I know that we will ALL be happier with the outcome. Be strong, Jodi, be strong. You can do this!

Now who wants to share a good plan for buying stocking stuffers … before December 23rd …

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