Winter is in full swing and the holidays are coming fast! Here in Wisconsin, snow is on the ground and decorations are already being hung. This is also the most stressful time of year for the working, busy mom. The end of the year is hectic for many professions, including my own. There are school concerts, holiday parties, work deadlines, family functions, etc. Gift giving can become a real burden.
One thing I do well is give gifts. First, I love shopping! My family tells me that the kids always love their Aunt CiCi gifts. Yes, they call me Aunt Ci Ci!!! I have to say, I put a lot of energy into making Christmas special for my children and my nieces and nephews. I thought that I would share what I do.
First, make a list of who you need to buy for. Then, set your budget and timeline. For instance, we have Christmas December 15th at my in-laws this year. I also have relatives in California. Allow time for anything that has to be shipped. If your family is at the point where they are just giving gift cards, then stop giving gifts to everyone, pick names or consider a theme or family gift. Maybe start exchanging ornaments or do a white elephant game. There is nothing worse than opening 10 gift cards with all of the cousins.
I like to make sure that I get something that the person would never get for themselves or something that is really unique. I tend to be generous with my gifts. That doesn't always mean expensive. I put a lot of thought into what I give each person. I feel like it's the one day of the year that I get to do something for someone else. If the dollar amount is low, then I stick to an ornament or something small that would have meaning to the person, like a framed photo.
Start early if you have a lot of people to buy for. I tend to stock up on hostess gifts like candles, box of chocolates, etc. I buy them when I see them and keep a drawer of these things. When that unexpected invitation happens or an unexpected guest shows up, you have something all ready.
Yes, the holidays are stressful. I encourage you to find the meaning in the holidays. Gifts are about love, appreciation and gratitude.