The clocks have gone back, the nights have drawn in and there’s the subtle smell of chimney smoke wafting in the crisp, cool air. Christmas is creeping ever closer and unlike most years when I’ve just about finished my shopping by now, this year I’ve barely even begun!
God knows why but I feel quite stressed about the seasonal shopping stuff at present, not only is everything so ridiculously expensive these days but our kids seem to have everything they need and more!
Trying to find ideas for two children whose entire household is stacked high with toys, games and treats is tricky. E has already covered the Smyths catalogue from front to back with endless circles identifying everything that she so fancies, J on the other hand has circled a few bits and pieces but otherwise doesn’t seem entirely sure himself as to what he’d like.
For the past five years or more I have tended to stick to online shopping to cut down on costs. This year though I think I may well venture out to stores such as B&M Bargains, Argos and Asda with my phone in hand, 4G at the ready to see if I can cut costs even more so. I don’t mind paying for things but I begrudge seeing the same item that I’ve just bought for £15-£30 cheaper elsewhere.
As you know I’m a lady whom likes a list and it’s these lists which have been a lifeline when it comes to Christmas. Earlier in the year I make a list of all those whom we buy presents for, I then scribble a few present ideas alongside their name and over time adjust the ideas to suit accordingly. I then spend a few days (usually with my laptop in hand) acquiring said gifts within a set budget, ticking off names as I go along. So far this system seems to have worked successfully, it also provides me with a history of purchased presents for future reference.
Following Christmas I put together a list of gifts received ensuring that the children and I send out thank you letters to all those that gave us gifts. I use yet another ‘tick system’ only using a highlighter to make a note of letters completed and sent.
Despite being ridiculously organised in the past and having my ‘gift guide’ at the ready I’m just not feeling it this year. Whether it’s a financial constraint issue, a lack of inspiration or a simple bout of the ‘bah humbugs’ I’m not entirely sure. Either way I need to pull my socks up and get Santa’s sleigh sorted!
I’m sure once I’ve ploughed through the kids wish lists and have ticked off the majority of their gifts I will feel far better but at present I am in a ‘seasonal slump’. I’m all for the mince pies and the mulled wine but god forbid anyone should play a festive number on the radio, I am pretty sure that I would find myself in a cold sweat of blind panic as I feel so far behind.
The husband on the other hand seems rather nonchalant about the Christmas caper, he’s quite confident that things will get sorted which is all very well as realistically he only has me to buy for and that’s pretty easy these days thanks to Amazon wish lists and such-like. I’m hoping that he may be able to help me out of this ‘Ho Ho Noooo’ situation by giving my ‘shopping sleigh’ a push in the right direction starting with a ‘kid-free’ shopping spree.
Speaking of the husband, he’s another unknown entity in terms of gifts this year, it’s not that he’s difficult to buy for but for the past six or seven years I have found myself buying almost the same items year in year out. I could really do with Paul starting his own Amazon wish list to give me a little inspiration but I’m pretty sure that he would also add the same items; aftershave, slippers, shoes, DVDs, Jack Daniels and all the other usual seasonal suspects.
I try to make gift ideas as personal as possible, tailoring gifts to suit each individual but seem to be struggling somewhat this year. How do you know that the gift you spent time and effort choosing is something that will really be appreciated? Whether its specially selected, handcrafted or home-made does it really matter?
Over the years both Paul and I have spent hours making wine, baking cakes, sewing bunting and producing a whole array of home-made gifts not only to cut costs but also to offer our family and friends something a little different in terms of gifts. I’ll be honest though, I simply haven’t got the time or energy to do anything of the sort this year and other than my annual family calendars I’ll try to keep things simple.
Being bombarded by endless Christmas advertisements both on the Radio and Television doesn’t help my current situation, I am well aware that Christmas is coming I don’t need reminding every other minute! I would like to be able to take Christmas in my own time without being forced to feel festive.
Give me a week or two and I will make a conscious effort to get my gifts into order and get Christmas cracking, only then will I be able to munch the mince pies, bring on the Baileys and jingle my festive bells.