Category Archives: Christmas

Christmastime is Here…and My Money is Gone

Oh, Christmastime. The most wonderful time of the year. Blah, blah, blah. Mistletoeing. Hearts glowing. Yadda yadda. One week and counting until everything is expected to be complete and in place. I am actually in a relatively unique position this year. I am finished shopping! This is true for two reasons: 1) I’m actually done shopping! 2) My Christmas budget is gone.

My first response to that realization was “crap!!!” What if I need more stocking stuffers?! I still haven’t gotten anything for my brother!! Big Sister just added something to her list!!

My next response was “Whew!” I’m actually feeling pretty relieved that the Christmas dough is gone. The bulk of my “necessary” shopping is done. Big gifts were purchased months ago, and I had already decided that the bulk of our Christmas was going to be DIY stuff anyway (stay tuned for posts about 2 projects in particular). I also feel relieved because it takes the pressure off with regards to last minute shopping and feeling the need to make my children’s every wish come true.

I absolutely try to fulfill the bulk of my older child’s wish list. She generally makes pretty reasonable requests, and the ones that aren’t (e.g., “I want one of each American Girl doll”) are immediately, though gently squashed (“Baby, do you know how much it would cost to get one of each doll? Over $1000. Do you have that much? No? Ok then.”) The baby is still too little to be making requests…she’ll get what she gets, but not having the ability to get Big Sister everything she wants is, in my opinion, a blessing. Not just for me, but for her as well. She will grow up knowing the value of what she has, the value of a dollar, the difference between wants and needs, and, hopefully, the true meaning of Christmas (aaaaand, cue Silent Night).

This week at our house will be filled with lots of hustle and bustle. I will essentially live at my sewing machine, and I don’t think I would have it any other way. Yes, life might be a little easier and slightly less stressful if the Christmas (and overall) budget was a little roomier, but I think, if that were the case, I would find stress in other places. We have, in the past 4 years, gone from putting a large proportion of our “needs” on credit cards to having only one, seldom used card with a low limit. Our kids are clothed, fed, sheltered, and loved, and we will have a very nice Christmas. We are still working on managing our monthly expenses frugally and intelligently, but we get better all the time.

Bottom line: I’m glad the Christmas shopping is over and done with. It will give us time to focus on the importance of the season and enjoy each other and our extended family. Shopping will briefly resume at the beginning of January when we prepare for “Christmas II: The Voyage West”, but until then, I will sew and bake and paint and create with the stuff that is at hand. I dare say that some of the creations will be a step up from store-bought anyway…and they will be filled with infinitely more love (and maybe some blood, sweat, and tears…though hopefully those will wipe right off).


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Filed under Christmas, Kids, Momma Musings

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Want some?

Um…what’s that you say? Christmas?! Not even!

It’s really hard to think about Christmas when it’s 100+ degrees outside, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately! I’ve decided that shopping/preparing from July to December would probably be a good idea. Makes things easier on the budget, and it makes things less stressful. What can be bad about that!

Now, I used to shop all year. The last time I did this was 2002. Just married. I innocently started buying little things here and there and putting them up for Christmas. I tended to favor my mom because, well, I know her and I know what she likes. I put things all over the apartment. I made things too. Then, about a week before Christmas I started pulling everything out. Holy geez! There was stuff everywhere! I had done a pretty good job buying for everyone, but I had completely overbought for my mom. If I had been smart, I would have put some of it up for birthdays and next Christmas, but I was 21 and excited to give it all to her! So, I ended up having to go shopping to fill out everyone else’s haul so that she didn’t get more than everyone! Ever since then, I’ve been afraid to shop all year. Afraid of spending more money in my quest to spend less. Afraid to run out of room to hide things because I’ve overshopped!

Cut to now…9 years later. I’m ready. I can do it! I can be frugal AND have foresight! I can shop smarter, not harder. So far, Abbey is the one who has benefitted from my early shopping. One thing was supposed to be a birthday present, but I forgot to give it to her…it became a Christmas present! Score! Then, the other day, I found a gently used Leapster 2 (which we almost got her for her bday at full price) with 4 games (1 of which she will never see…no offense to those of you who like Spongebob, but we don’t) for half the price of the game system alone. Score number 2! With the exception of her “big gift” which will have to wait because we can’t hide it and a very few stocking stuffers, I’m done with her! Sweet!

Tomorrow, I embark on phase 2 of early Christmas. I’m going to start preparing to learn to make jelly. Yes, you read that correctly…jelly. We have a gnarly apple tree in our yard. No, it doesn’t grow gnarly apples. The previous owners of our property apparently never, ever pruned it. It is very bizarrely shaped, has a chain that has grown into the trunk, and is, frankly, ugly…but man does it grow some apples!

Zach shaking the gnarly tree's limbs...easy harvest!

Last night, my family and I harvested apples. It was hot. There were ants and other creepy crawlies, but it was fun. Abbey had fun aiming the rotten or otherwise no good apples at the trash can. Lily had fun picking up the apples that fell to the ground and carrying them around.

Working hard

Lily sorting some apples

Abbey did a great job sorting the good ones from the duds, and she had a lot of fun too!

My sweet little apple picker

After we finished, we decided to get a few pictures of our haul! As you can see in the background, there were a ton leftover. They mostly had bugs or were otherwise not ones we wanted to take in the house. I even got to get in a picture!

The harvesters with their haul!

I got a pic too!

When we were about to head in, Lily decided she was going to help us carry everything inside. The basket probably weighed about as much as she does! Needless to say…she didn’t get very far!

She wanted to help carry the apples in!

We had a great time picking apples, and if you are someone who knows me in real life and we’re close…look out for some apple goodies this Christmas! That is, of course, assuming that I can pull them off. We shall see. Stay tuned!


Filed under Christmas, Family Fun, Kids