Thursday, November 4, 2010

Planning Ahead for Christmas

I love Christmas for many reasons.  First, remembering the reason for the season: the birth of Christ. Then there's decorating and the smell of fresh-cut pine (or via candle if you have a fake tree).  Time spent with family and friends.  Cookies!  Sending and receiving cards. Parties. Christmas carols. Christmas music in general. O Holy Night. Mashed potatoes at family celebrations. Nativity scenes.  Egg nog.

The best part for me is buying presents.  Yes, I said buying. While I like a good gift as much as anyone, I really love figuring out the perfect present and then watching my loved one's face as the open it.  Priceless, each and every time.

I try to keep my eyes open for good gifts all year round, sometimes stocking up on a birthday or Christmas present 6 months before it'll ever be given.  Sometimes it means I have a few options for one person, which is always a nice feeling! 

Some of my favorite presents I've bought include clay pigeons for my cousin Jon (complete with a drawing of Bambi that said "better these than Bambi"), Alice Cooper's book about golf for my cousin Adam who lurves heavy metal and golf, a variety of Earl Gray teas for my mama, and the goody bags I create for my grandparents with fun wine, crackers, soups, and more.  That's just off the top of my head.

I get antsy if I'm not mostly done with Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving.  Maybe it's all those years working retail but I hate shopping around the holidays.  You couldn't pay me to participate in Black Friday.  Well, I take that back.  If you gave me an unlimited shopping spree, I would gladly do damage with your money!  In any case, I hate the crowds, I hate rude shoppers, I hate how products you're searching for have sold out by the time you get there.  I'd much rather shop now than later.  There are two exceptions to this rule: Kohls and Borders always have great Christmas sales.  I simply get in and get out- and definitely at the beginning of December.

The other reason I love shopping early is to display all my wrapped presents under the tree and then doling them out as I see people.  It's so nice to have a pretty arrangement for the whole month.  (My family has always been one that decorates a day or two after Thanksgiving and I've kept that tradition going myself.)

It may be silly/OCD to think about Christmas at the end of October but I spent last weekend planning for Christmas.   I wrote down who I'll be shopping for.  I also wrote down who will get this year's Ode to Friendship CD.  I started the mixes several years ago because 1) I love sharing the music I listen to and 2) it means I get to give more presents.  That's how much I love giving gifts- I had to figure out a way for me to give presents that doesn't break the bank!  I wrote down all the artists that I'll feature and over the next month will figure out which songs make the cut.

Finally, I wrote my list of people to send Christmas cards to.  I have some ideas up my sleeve on what to do this year so stay tuned...

What Christmas traditions are you looking forward to?  What's your gift-giving strategy?


  1. I am SO with you on the fun of gift giving. I love the anticipation I get when I think about how someone will respond to their gift. Last year at Christmas, a friend burst into tears when she saw the canvas I had made out of a photo of her son. That was probably my most special gift giving memory!!!

  2. JJ, that is quite the reaction! What a great gift idea.

  3. I LOVE CHRISTMAS. Ask anyone who has to see me in November or December. I'm so full of cheer that I probably get a little annoying.

    I've taken to hand-making most of my Christmas gifts -- and let me tell ya, I have had more fun these past two years giving gifts than ever. Even when it's only a tin of homemade hot chocolate mix or a knitted scarf, I love giving of my time and myself in fun and creative ways.

    I can't wait to celebrate more and more over the next two months! :)


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