Well, Halloween 2008 is in the past, Thanksgiving is just ahead, and then Christmas will be here before we know it. Does Christmas stress you out? It sure does me. It stresses me out financially: where will I get the money to buy everything I need to or want to get? Emotionally: Did I get enough gifts, were they good enough? Did the people like them? I always worry that I didn't get my own kids enough, that they won't like what I got them, or that they're disappointed in what they did or didn't get. Mentally: making all the family arrangements, there's my family, my ex's family, Tom's family, and then of course our family. That's even getting harder with the kids growing up.
Alot of this fear comes from comments made to me in the past about gifts I've bought such as "You shouldn't give pictures of your kids as gifts, that's not a real gift, you should give those to us anyway". "Oh great, just what I need, another coffee mug". Now I've just decided to put those words out of my head. Do the best I can, and if people don't like or appreciate their gift, I cannot control how they feel. I can only control how I feel and react.
This year is going to be different. For one thing, we've been putting money back since the first of the year for Christmas. We've had to spend some along the way for one reason or another, but I've used some of it to buy gifts. I've talked to my own kids and asked them flat out if they'd rather have a stocking and $'s or if they want gifts? Serenity said she was fine either way, but she'd prefer $'s because she's trying to save for a new car. Check, just finish getting stocking stuffers and put the cash aside, and I"m done with her. Josh said he was fine either way, but would really prefer the money. Check, finish getting stocking stuffers for him, and put the cash aside and I"m done with him. Tasha at first said she'd rather have a gift, but when she found out Josh and Serenity both wanted money, she said she'd think about it and let me know. I've already got some stocking stuffers for them, I'll gather a few more, find out what Tasha wants and be done. I've just decided that I would rather give them money if that's what they really want and be done with it. That right there will remove a huge stress at Christmas off of me because I seriously wondered around Wal-Mart in tears trying to figure out what to get them last year. Then I got my feelings hurt on Christmas when Serenity remarked that all of her gifts were "practical". I know she didn't mean anything by it, and I"m way too sensitive anyway. But this will help reduce my stress.
Another big stresser for me at Christmas has been that we've waited until the last minute to do our shopping the last couple of years. That was unusual for me, for a few years, I got it all done early. But for one reason or another, it hadn't happened that way the last few years. This year, I'm way ahead of where I've been. This is a partial list of who we try to buy for:
My mom and dad
Tom's dad and stepmom
my ex's mom and dad
My sister and husband-done
Our niece and husband-done
Tom's sister and husband-done
Tom's younger sister-done, but will probably try to find something to add
My niece and nephew-done, but will probably try to find something to add
Our two great-nieces-done
gift exchanges: Child Enrichment Club, child care association, my family
My child care kids: done, ordered them each 3 books from Scholastic, plus they'll get a treat bag at our party.
I'm sure there's more that I'm not thinking of right now. I'll have to pull my list out and look over it. But I'm out of time for now. For tomorrow, I'll try to find some ideas to share.