Did you miss us this weekend? We missed you so we are bringing it BIG and sharing the merry by giving you some relief from top to bottom for today’s Christmas in July Giveaway!
We clearly love Christmas – I mean we love it so much that we started it early and have so enjoyed celebrating with all of you. But, we aren’t crazy enough to think recognize that Christmas also brings some stress along. The Merry Momma’s are committed to helping you plan a stress-free card and photo session and even made some awesome suggestions for what to bring in your bag… but the holidays also bring a whole other mess of stress. So here are some of our tips to start now before the rush of the season hits you.
1. Set a budget – There is nothing more stressful than money and being unorganized. Start thinking now about what you want to purchase and plan it out. Santa gifts, stocking stuffers, neighbors, friends, spouses, in-laws, bosses, teachers, kids, kids’ friends, the DOG… LAWDY the lists go on and on. Set a budget and stick with it! One of our money saving strategies is to host a huge garage sale in August or September and then keep that cash for Christmas shopping. (Now, that also adds the stress of a garage sale, but we have proven our crazy so I’m not afraid to tell you that we love those, too!)
And I clearly have a spreadsheet. #duh
I like to organize my list by estimated cost and actual cost, as well as where I purchased the gift and when. It helps me the next year when I’m trying to think of a place that I got a good deal as well as not to repeat a gift as was mentioned above. I color code by month of purchase – so this list keeps me in budget and on track.
I try to be done with shopping by the first weekend in December. In my “life as a UPS wife”, I don’t have lots of free, uninterrupted, no-kids-around time from Thanksgiving to New Years. So, by getting shopping done early, I save myself some stress and time.
We buy for roughly 20-25 people each year. This includes family (ours is relatively small), teachers, kids’ friends, and our friends. We also “adopt” 3 kids that are the same age as each of the King Kiddos. I keep this list in an envelope as well as all the receipts I gather throughout my shopping spree(s) and then (and I think this is important) I label the receipts so I can double track spending/be able to locate it if something needs returning. (See? Crazy.)
The numbers are totally made up for this example, but the spreadsheet is formatted to automatically update so I have an actual representation of what has been spent. I also track spending on any new Christmas decorations I buy as well as the cost of the King family Christmas card (including envelopes and postage).
2. Limit the gift giving – What? Now that’s crazy talk! Absolutely we limit the giving. We stick with the four gift rule: want, need, wear, read. And you know what? Our kids aren’t missing out on a single thing. This doesn’t include Santa gifts, but we don’t go crazy with him, either. Ryan and I also don’t exchange gifts – we just don’t feel the need. We’d rather give our time to each other so that’s what works for us. You do what works for YOU, but part of that budgeting is to set the expectations for the things listed above!
3. Update your address list – The Mommas may or may not have an awesome post coming up about addressing your cards so to get ahead of the game, start cleaning up that list now. Things to consider:
- Who has moved?
- Who has gotten married? Or divorced? (True story – I mailed a Christmas card to one of my friends and her husband for 3 years after they were divorced – because I had no idea. SMH)
- Who has passed away?
- Who needs to be added to the list? (Wahoo – this one is fun because that means you have more cool people in your life that you care about!)
- Who needs to be deleted from the list? (This one can be hard, but it’s ok. Friendships change, relationships ebb and flow. Don’t feel guilty!)
4. Discuss travel plans now. I don’t have any well-tested plan of my own, since our family is small so everyone just comes to us. I found a few articles that offer some tips…
- This is a guide for brides
- Here is one for parents
- This one had the most to offer with unique ideas like, schedule a make-up day, try the 4 Christmases approach (ha!) and my favorite, make them come to you. 😉
All of them said to start early, which is now, y’all!
5. Schedule the fun. This has helped us lots. Ryan and I discuss the “big” things we want to do during the holidays and make sure to get it on the calendar early. Pictures with Santa, a day trip, weekend at Gigis, night out with friends. The funny thing is that the holidays are not a surprise – they don’t just arrive. We KNOW they are coming, so why not prepare for them?
And, if this list alone just gave you a grand case of the hives, well take a deep breath because we have two things to throw your way. Remember when we said “set the budget” – well that’s a whole lot easier when you have a fantastic gift card to use! Thanks to Root’s Boutique we have $40 for one lucky reader to claim! Check out some of their newest items….
And if that’s still not enough to calm you down, well, we have an alternative solution… PAMPER YOURSELF! HA! And thanks to our friends at Galleria Day Spa, we are giving away a facial to one lucky reader to just that! All you have to do is follow the directions below!
What are you waiting for? Enter below…