Monday, November 9, 2009

Making a List...and finding a balance

While I love giving gifts, I have to admit Christmas shopping is not my favorite venture. Love Christmas...just not a bit fan of malls this time of year. They are crowded and I can never find what I want. I end up grumpy like Scrooge. No one wants a Mama Scrooge. Why is it there is so much pressure on the mother/wife/shopper to buy the correct presents to make everyone's special day? The hardest thing is doing it with a budget and finding the right balance between needs and wants. A couple years ago I bought all the gifts from us as well as two other people for my children. It ended up being a full-time job and I was a super stressed out mom before I even had to drag out the wrapping paper. Not a good thing and I've been committed to having a joyful Christmas each year since.

In case you're just meeting me, I'm a mom with five children and a large extended family. I'm seriously not a grumpy person and I'm so sorry if this post has started off on a negative note. I love Christmas. I love celebrating the birth of Christ. I love my family and I love the season of giving. I love sharing what I have and love buying gifts. I want to make sure that I keep the beauty in my home this year and the stress out.

I use a few strategies to help combat the shopping pressure this time of year. Here's a few quick ideas for less stress...

  • Start early. Some years I start in January. This year I started in July but I'm slowly working my way through the list.
  • Finish before December. This is when the malls get scary. In my mind anyway. Crowds make for more wasted time standing in lines.
  • Smile and be polite! This is Christmas. Good manners are beautiful and smiles are catching!
  • Be there when the mall opens. It will be less crowded and you'll have more energy.
  • Make a list. Check it twice. This helps you stay on budget and on track. Some people are easier to buy for than others. My daughter is super easy to buy for and I tend to buy a little too much. Good thing her birthday is in February and I can keep any excess for then!
  • Ask people what they want. This may or may not work. It does save you the guessing game but if you get a LONG list, you may have some disappointed children. Be sure to remind them that Santa cannot bring everything! It's actually good for them to learn that life is not perfect.
  • Pair up with someone else to purchase one large gift. My hubby's siblings love doing this for my MIL and she gets something she can really use.
  • Ask for help. Last year I was getting a little stressed as Christmas was almost here and I had a few things left to buy. My dear friend came shopping with me to help me out and was a life saver. Thanks Rebecca!
  • Cut down on excess gifts. We've slowly cut down on our extended family giving at the suggestion of other family members. I'm thrilled. The focus of our Christmas celebrations is now more on family and the reason for the season.
  • It doesn't hurt to buy things that people need as part of their gift. More things to open, even if it is socks and underwear. I always like to give the kids new pencils and paper for school at this time of year too.
  • If you're on a budget and have the time, homemade gifts are lovely thoughts. Be sure to start early though!
  • Find time for yourself. A happy home is a gift in itself.
  • Shop on-line and look for free or discount shipping options. Sitting in my jammies with hot chocolate while Christmas music plays is my idea of a dream shopping trip. No parking difficulties and I don't have to scrape the windshield.
  • Wrap as you go to save your back in a wrapping marathon.
  • Try food gifts for people that have everything. We all have to eat and it doesn't lead to un-needed clutter. Except maybe around the waistline.
  • Give yourself permission to buy gift cards for teenagers and hard to buy for people.'s OK.

tin details here.'s the thought that counts. A cherished gift may just be the gift of your time. People are so much more important things any time.

Enjoy your holiday shopping this Christmas season and may you all receive the gift of joy and peace.


This post links up with Red Writing's Twelve Weeks of Christmas


  1. Great list! My teens love getting gift cards, especially for the movie theatre or bookstore. Cold hard cash is always welcome too!

  2. Wonderful suggestions!! I now give $$$ to my five grown grandkids, but not the seven-year-old. They're pretty happy with that and it saves my life!!
    Best wishes as you get all your shopping done early!
    Christmas Blessings,
    Jayne at mysongwithin

  3. great advice - we try to give the kids little things like coloring books and crayons and wrap each little thing separately :D

    i have a friend who buys more "experiences" than anything. like a trip to the zoo or night out with dad etcetera - she says it leads to less clutter too and great memories :D

  4. Great tips! And I love the gift card holder! I'm going to do that for the gift cards I give this year. Very cute.

  5. I love gift cards! Especially because I'm so frugal, I can usually get a lot more for the money you give me than you could have gotten for me. :)

  6. I like your ideas and I don't think you sounded negative! Hey, you're among a bunch of over-whelmed Christmas people here! ha!


Thanks for stopping by Finding Beauty @ Home. And thanks for your lovely comments. I appreciate each one. Have a beautiful day!