So, I have been a little sidetracked this week with Christmas shopping and planning, hence the quiet blog. This is one of the first years that I actually feel ahead of schedule! I even have most of my husband’s gifts wrapped and under the tree. Unfortunately, all of the extra Christmas cheer around here has meant a more quiet blog week.
With my head stuck in Christmas planning, I thought it would be fun to hear from you on how your Christmas plans are coming. Are you keeping things simple, or have big plans for parties? What food are you planning on making? I’d love to hear!
Here’s what is going on in our household (so far).
Every year is a little different for us. Some years we’ve kept things, very, very simple. Other years, with very little budget, we got creative in how to make or find gifts for our extended family. While we are still spending significantly below the national average for Christmas gifts, this is one of our more well-thought out Christmases, with some nice things being given.
I have loved giving gifts since a young child. I think it’s one of my love languages, if you will. While I think that it’s very important not to allow gifts to distract us from the really important things in life (like faith and family), gifts can be a way of expressing our gratitude for those really important people in our life. So, while my gifts may not always be large and expensive, I love giving them.
For the stockings, I kept things pretty simple. What I didn’t want to do was buy a lot of cheap plastic toys. So, instead, my five-year-old’s stocking is going to be full of art supplies (she LOVES doing crafts). I am really excited to give her these. In both of the girls stockings, they will find an Anamalz animal. I fell in love with these well-crafted animals, and thought it would be fun to start a little collection for the girls. My 14-month-old baby also has a couple of board books in her stocking. Her stocking is not going to be half as full, but she has high-quality, long lasting books and a toy. (Plus she’s not going to notice that at 14 months!).
Joel and I decided not to do stockings for each other this year. We generally haven’t. It always makes me a little sad, but it allowed us to have more of a budget for the girls, which makes me glad.
Both of the girls are getting a couple, very nice, high quality toys under the tree. I think I am just as excited to give them, as they are too open them. The one thing I found was that it really doesn’t work to wait all year to buy certain items for your children. For example, I had really wanted to get my 5-year-old a new gymnastic leotard-but decided to wait until Christmas. But when I looked at the budget, I realized I couldn’t fit it in. Some items just have to be spread throughout the year. Lesson learned!
I better keep my husband’s gift non-public, otherwise he might find out what he’s getting. But I am really happy with everything I got him this year. I spent far more time planning and shopping specifically for him this year, and am glad that I did. My husband sacrifices a lot for his family and deserves far more expensive gifts, but I know he will like mine.
I am just starting to think about this as we still have time. We have to decide our Christmas Eve plans, but I’d like to make a nice dinner then. I’ve always thought that the Italian Feast of the 7 Fishes on Christmas Eve was a lovely tradition. Growing up, our Christmas Eve was more like the Feast of the 1 Fish, as we enjoyed homemade clam chowder. I am mulling over what I want to do.
I am also hoping to get to a few new Christmas candy recipes done before Christmas. If I do, I will be sure to share any that work out well.
After Christmas stocking and presents at home, we are going over to Joel’s family’s house to exchange presents and eat brunch together. Later we will probably go to church together. I still need to work on some recipes for a gluten-free Christmas brunch for my 5-year-old.
I am not sure if it will work out with the busy holiday season, but we are also hoping to see a few of our friends during Joel’s Christmas break. I was thinking of hosting a small Christmas dinner party with a couple of them. If I do, I will definitely enjoy planning a more full meal for that as well. We will see what happens!
So there are my plans. I’d love to hear yours!
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For Christmas Eve, we always have a big gathering at my parent’s house where we eat lots of good food, read from the Bible, and sing lots of carols. Each year we make LOTS of homemade sugar cookies, caramels, and whatever else we decide on that year (this year we’ll be doing some peppermint bark). Christmas day, my husband and I will wake up early to have our own little Christmas morning with homemade eggnog, then we’ll go to church, then head over to his parent’s house to spend Christmas day with them. Then we usually go back over to my parent’s house that evening to play games and open presents with them. So… Christmas is busy for us. 🙂 I always neglect to make goodies for our neighbors (we usually just have enough for friends from church), but this year I am determined to make goodie plates for our neighbors. I feel pretty prepared this year, I just have to finish up some shopping this weekend, and then next week I’ll be making some lotion bars and chap sticks to give away. Love the holidays! I look forward to someday being able to host our own Christmas, though. When we have a house big enough to accommodate our large families. 🙂
This year, as we are expecting a new baby around Easter, we’ve decided to stay in Hong Kong and go home (Australia) for his/her first Christmas next year. Our 14mth old boy can experience a colder Christmas as his first one was in Australia too. On Christmas eve we have a few parties to attend and are hoping to find someone to stay so we can fit Midnight Mass in too. Then Christmas morning we will head to church then to a good friend’s place to exchange gifts and eat ham off the bone on croissants (love this Chrissy breakfast!). Lunch will be at another friend’s house then home to ours for an afternoon cocktail party with all the friends we have here. I am about to make gingerbread for the house the kids can eat on the day and sugar cookie dough for the individually wrapped cookies I want to give everyone important here. Love Christmas! Love having a child old enough to take to church. I’ve taught him ‘Mother Mary, Father Joseph and Baby Jesus’ by pointing at the Nativity Scene under our tree. Now when I ask where his father is, he points under the tree!!!
slowly but surely I’m getting through my list… it’s so hard to get it done!!!
Emmy (Wine and Butter)
I hope to make your gluten free chocolate tart (and blog about it!) since I am such wild fan!! 🙂
Could you provide a list of the art supplies you are getting your daughter? Always looking for high quality art supplies! Thank you!
My family has a seafood feast on Christmas Day. Shrimp, crab legs, lobster tail, scallops, and other yummy things 🙂
This year, I get to introduce my fiancée to my grandparents 🙂
I have two kids, and they each are getting four gifts. My husband is making a woodworking bench for my son and I made doll clothes for my daughter. Also they will get legos, and playmobil sets, a game, and gently used cowboy boots. My husband is getting a few cds, and photos. I have not printed out photos since having my second child, so he gets an album. He deserves much more. The kids stockings are art supplies and little things for homeschool. I do stockings for my husband and I, for the kids really. I put in nice shaving cream and lotion, soaps, toothpaste, chocolate mostly.
This i the first year we will not be having a big family affair. I have seven siblings, and am always the one to host. And this year I decided to focus on my kids. Family will stop by, but I am not making a big dinner.
I look forward to a mellow day spent with my husband and kids.
Happy holidays everyone!
It is neat you are contemplating the Feast of the Seven Fishes. We do that every year in my family. It is a lot of work, but the cooking is shared among more than one person. This year it will prove to be busier than usual as our boys are in the Christmas pageant at the church. I will have to be prepared with my contribution, but the planning is the key! I am making cioppino, pulpo (octopus), and possibly one more dish yet to be determined! After dinner we open gifts at my parents house on Christmas Eve and then it is off to home to put the boys in bed and start wrapping like crazy! Christmas morning my parents come to breakfast here at my house, usually arriving after my boys open their gifts. Fun and busy!