Four more packages to wrap, and I'm done! (I think)
Yay! Every (grand) child has a set of clothes and a toy?
Each of my kids a gift card? Check...
My package sent off to our son in China - "postage is too expensive", complained the postal worker at the register, "it's cheaper to buy it there!" "I know, I know", I respond,"but then I don't have a Christmas gift for him!" She nods.
To keep things simple, not having to look for the "perfect" gift, usually in October the emails start going back and forth about sizes, needs and wants of the little kids. Then, the big kids, ending with, "And what do yo want Mom? Dad?"
A few simple rules for presents:
Big Number I: relationships are more important that material possessions. If one of my adult children is in a financial crisis around December, I tell them not to worry, and something they do for me or for their dad can be a splendid gift.
Rule Number 2:
a present is a small gift representing that "I love you". Throughout the year "I love you" is said in several ways, and Christmas is just one of those times. Also, I realize that I can't buy love with a gift!
Some Random Rules:
* the same expenditure for each grand-child, and the same principle for every adult member of the family
* I will not go in debt to buy designer brands
* no expensive electronic gadgets - that is up to the parents to buy them
* I do honor color preferences
* once in a while I'll grant an "expensive" item, like a coat, as long as that person does not have 3 other coats
Usually a few friends are added to this list with a food-present and an inexpensive toy or game for their children, and a few care packages for those who I know are struggling to make ends meet. Further a shoebox with basic needs for a child in a third world country.
To simplify my Christmas preparations
From Sept. or Oct. on I work on my "basic List" till I finish - before Thanksgiving.
I live in the city, and much time would be wasted after that day on waiting in traffic, lines of cash-registers, and looking for 15-20 min. for a parking spot. Also, having ample time to compare prices, and coming up with the right items, means spending less dollars.
Now I can enjoy all the planned and imprompty celebrations in the coming weeks, all the way up to the New year. In the city are so many things to do, that we have to choose and take care that we don't run ourselves ragged going to every party and event.
Of course, there is a mad dash to our children 7 hours up North for the week of Thanksgiving.
It usually takes about another week till I can think about the Christmas tree, the lights on the roof line, and some cleaning. My highlight is the tree decorating. Nothing extravagant, but it slows me down enough that I remember that the real reason for all these preparations is to celebrate the Christ child coming to earth.