Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Planning for A Sensible Christmas

Well, it's now November. Halloween and Election day are over, and it's time to look to the next holiday. I have a few more decorations to add, some cooking to do, and travel plans to make.  Guess what-I'm not talking about Christmas.  Because the first of November was on a Thursday, our American Thanksgiving certainly seems to be coming early than usual this year. As I mentioned over at Carla's blog-one holiday at a time. Or, as my college student put it (tongue in cheek), "lets not ignore the national holiday for the religious holiday".

I've been busy making things to sell-but today it was time to do a few decorations at home.  The gourd is hand blown and purchase from a glass maker who (as far as I know) only sells at the Colorado Ren fair each year-and each year I get one or two things. The flowers are of course my attempt at learning arranging techniques

They don't make many "Thanksgiving" candies. Perhaps I could do this for Thanksgiving without the peeps, and change the candies to more fall and less Halloween style colors?

 Time to start decorating fall sugar cookies for home and hostess gifts.  I think I'll leave off the witch at this late date, though!

And finally one last fall project for me. This year I finally have my own Halloween quilt and fall quilt.  This table runner will go one one of my coffee tables.

Still, I am doing a bit of Christmas thinking these days. In my experience, if you want to have an affordable, low key holiday, it requires planning. Add to this fact that I hate shopping in crowds, and I see a  need for some Christmas effort at this time of year.

This week, my family exchanged gift list. As we all know, different families have different traditions. Some of us only gift children. Some of us do family gifts, or experiences.  We all do what works for us. In my family we all exchange gifts-with recognition of financial differences and needs. 

 Most often, the adults ask for things that they would not get themselves (for financial or other reasons). My in laws long ago told us that they would probably never need anything again, and generally we give them consumables-in either certificates or real gifts. However, last year my mother in law ruined a navy cardigan and wanted just the cardigan-who knew Land's end was the only place on the planet to find such a thing.

I'll share with you that my gift requests include gift certificates for a massage (that darned neck muscle) and fabric stores (surprise), along with lotions and place settings of cream fiesta ware (I deal with three kinds of pottery collecting and need to bring them together)

This year, as in other years, my aim is again for the(hopefully less than) $500 holiday. This is for thirteen family adults, three young adults (college age) two infants and my own two children. It also includes nominal gifts to various social groups, and holiday cooking. It does not include hosting a holiday. It does include charity purchases. That amount does not include holiday travel.

A good two fifths of that money will be spent on my own two adult children. We're corny as can be-we still do stockings, but now all the family takes turns filling those stockings. It's not mom's turn alone. And because I'm a "moooom", this year I've reverted to childhood habits. Each child will get something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. Although I'm being a tad flexible on the reading portion-I expect movies and games will enter that sphere by their own nature.

For the balance of the gifts, it will be a mix. Some will be store bought, many will be homemade. This is where I remind everyone that homemade does not have to mean time consuming, or "crafty".  Homemade for me this year will be canned food baskets (cranberry walnut conserve and dessert sauces), smaller sewn items, and a "special event" story type scrapbook page, among others.  I'll be sharing all my gifted items as I make them, create them, and sharing the time it makes (as well as the general cost). I expect that college age nieces and nephews, as well as toddlers, will prefer gift certificates or play toys. So, a certain amount of store bought gifts will grace my tree!

Finally, I look to keep so called Christmas events low key, limited, and church related as much as possible. Belonging to such a large church means a cookie exchange, a concert of lessons and carols and other holiday fun. Add that to a holiday symphony concert,  and the little get togethers for the various organizations I belong to -and a social schedule is born. One that keeps me out of the house at a reasonable level. The rest of the time I prefer to relax at home, enjoy my Christmas decorations and sip an eggnog laced with bourbon.

And now, I'm off to go stare into my freezer. Remember when I sold my gigantic garage freezer?  Well, this Christmas will tell the tale as to whether I need to reinvest in a small apartment (indoor style) freezer. It will be interesting to see where all those  baked cookies, pies and other baked goods will fit.  Life is an adventure, after all.


  1. Oh dear, Christmas is now right around the corner isn't it?!?

    Actually, my first priority is always filling up our calendar with wonderful activities. The gift presents, and everything else, are very secondary for me. More than anything else I love the opportunities December provides to visit, attend and socialize with people I care about. Which is why it continues to be my favorite holiday in spite of the considerable stress it delivers along the way.

  2. I thoroughly enjoy your posts and this one especially-- Christmas should be fun and warm and fuzzy and it sounds like yours is!

    My family still does stockings too!

    We,too, love to give gifts such as what they need (socks) something to READ (ALWAYS) something they want (who knows) and..what was the other one??

    We sold our large freezer when we down sized this summer.. the one in my regular fridge is now stuffed..I said I was gonna STOP DOING THAT! Hellllpppp....

    goal: eat up the freezer during November!!!!!

  3. i edjoy that you post your christmas/fall information. I'm adjusting to the realization that, especially as my children are in their 40's (HOW did THAT happen!) I don't have to be the perfect mom & resource always.

    I have almost all of Christmas finished; as a new retiree, my income is less & my planning time is more. Among the items coming my family's way are small disaster preparedness/emergency packs for their cars (& one home)

    Also very glad the election is over....I worked in the governmental part of that for nearly 30 years, making sure elections in our county were run well & didn't realize how many negative ads were on TV.

    You inspire me to keep my Christmas/charitable giving under control. That has always been one of my biggest issues.


Things I'm Enjoying This Monday-And A Couple Things That Are Frustrating Me!!

One of the many reasons I don't do serious (other than visiting family) travel during the summer is the chance to stay at home. Warm w...