At the end of my last post I mentioned that I had completed our shopping in about 3 hours on Monday night (minus the time it took to wrap when we got home). Today I thought I would share a few of the gift ideas we gathered for this year and how I went about making the present shopping that little bit easier. The only gifts that I had purchased during the year were bits and pieces for Cruz that I had picked up during sales online. Cruz is mad about all things tractors, trucks, planes, helicopters and ambulances so most of the gifts reflected his love of 'boys toys'. I also included a Magna Junior kit for him to play "dress ups", a Skip Hop bee plate that matches one of his bags and lunchboxes, a wooden clock (because he loves asking about the time), a game of football skittles, a pencil case and a recorder (to make a little
noise music). On the bottom left in the picture below you can see the "You're all my favourites" book, which we bought after we found out that we were expecting #2. Cruz's main present is his first bicycle that will be ready for him to ride and waiting under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning.
In Cruz's stocking (from Santa) are a few treats that Tim thought Cruz would enjoy. I loved seeing what Tim chose for Cruz and know that he will be very excited when he sees that stocking hanging on his door. Tim's plan is to teach Cruz how to use the whoopee cushion before we head out to his parents place for lunch. I'm sure there will be lots of laughs.
I didn't photograph any of the other gifts, just in case my family happened to stumble across this blog a few days before Christmas, but below are the wrapped presents that we bought and wrapped on Monday night. During the day on Monday I wrote down the names of every person that we needed to buy for, how much we wanted to spend on each person and the exact gifts I was wanting to buy for them. At the end of my list, I tallied up the costs and worked out how much it would cost us overall. Then, as soon as Tim arrived home from work, I sped off to the bank and withdrew that exact amount of money and made sure that I left my eftpos card in the car. Having the cash meant that I could keep track of what I was spending and visually see what I had left to spend. Tim and I have a Christmas account that we deposit money into weekly for this reason. There is nothing worse than feeling burdened by the HUGE costs that Christmas can bring and because we have been there before we made sure that we spread the cost out throughout this year instead. It was the nicest feeling knowing that we weren't using a credit card and getting ourselves further into debt again. Our plan for 2013 will be the same.
We kept the wrapping simple with just a few decorations on each. You will notice that we haven't included gift tags this year, but rather cut out the initial of each persons name and stuck it on the front of the wrapping. This makes identifying the gifts that need to go to my family's house and then to Tim's family's house nice and easy on Christmas morning. Cruz's presents are wrapped completely different to everyone else's so that he can identify them easily on the morning. They are the little brown packages, wrapped with green wool, the reindeer picture printed on the front and his name stamped where he can see it.
Every year we also buy for a handful of friends and their children. This year the gift that we chose was movie tickets. Not only was it nice and easy (see a pattern yet?) for me to run down to the cinema and buy 10 movie tickets, but we hope that it also allows those couples to enjoy a night out after Christmas celebrations start to wind down. For our doctor, obstetrician and the Pastor of our church we bought gift hampers from our local candy store.
So there you have it - this is how I tried to keep all the hussle and bussle of Christmas shopping this year down to 3 hours. My darling husband was waiting at home for me once I had finished the shopping and so we stayed up and wrapped and decorated the presents before we went to bed. All that is left now is for us to choose our stocking stuffers for each other which is my favourite type of Christmas shopping!
This year we wanted to make sure that Christmas didn't consume us, that we focused on what was important to us during this season and that we remembered how difficult and sad Christmas can be in other households. Between visiting Tim's family for lunch and my family for dinner, we will be popping in to a lunch at our church that is put on for people that may not have other company to share Christmas with. It is the first time we will be going, but I'm excited for Cruz (and ourselves) to spend this time with those families.
For today though, I will leave you with our dear Elfie as he shoots marshmallows at our lounge room wall. Bless him!