I've noticed this week that things are hotting up!
I keep coming across signs and tweets telling me how many sleeps/days/minutes there are until Christmas!.There are more adverts, and more poeople are mentioning the "C" word!
Talking to others in preparation for last week's talk at Kerith, I collected lots of really helpful practical tips , which I thought you might enjoy too.
FinanceBuy Gift cards from places that give back to you (eg supermarket points)
Save up throughout the year, any vouchers/points that come with use of a credit card or the Tesco clubcard, for example. What we save up throughout the year, pretty much covers our christmas presents! I also start buying a few little bits earlier on in the year as I see them.
One thing I have done all my adult life is to save with my dad. We call 'Christmas club' and I suppose it's quite an old fashioned idea really, each month I give him some money, and he gives it back to me at the beginning of December. My teenage sons do it now, too.
Family and Friends
Pleasing wider family - this is difficult as your family grows and the kids get older. We have learnt (through mistakes) that we mustn't cram in too much or do too much of the entertaining ourselves
We send out about two hundred cards (it usually me that writes them). For us in many cases it is the only means of keeping in contact with some of our respective families, friends and neighbours. The pressures and difficulties I find with this is not only the unnecessary expense of it all, but the time it takes and quite frankly I have felt perhaps I should approach it in a different way. For instance a lot of our family and friends have e-mail addresses. At present I am in the middle of creating a “Family newsletter” with one or two photographs and some of the news of the things that have happened in our household over the year. Also, I intend to take the opportunity of mentioning our faith, and how important Jesus is in our lives. It is not enough just to send a card with a few words written.
Outside pressures“as a mum, christmas can be a huge pressure to go all crafty and make everything just because everyone else seems to be doing it! Christmas cards, decorations, christmas cake, mince pies, christmas presents. Don't succumb to the pressures, stick with what you're good at and if buying everything in works, then stick to that “
Don’t believe the magazine pictures!
In the past, I have left buying the Advent Calendars until 1st December (when the shelves are empty!) and writing my christmas cards just before the last posting date. So, this year I am going to pop a reminder (with an alarm!) in my iphone a few weeks before advent and on 1st December re: christmas cards.
I want to enjoy the season of advent, not be stressing throughout the whole of December as I am chasing my tail!
Spread out the chores
I should probably plan in christmas present wrapping time, as this always ends up being late Christmas eve!
TraditionsBe Brave! Break and Make traditions
Build and maintain the little traditions. For us this includes the homemade advent calendar, the chocolates and sweets going out only when we finish for the holidays, the meal on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day breakfast.
“I consider all of December as Christmas. This has changed my attitude and I don't get sooo hung on the day itself, the build up is just as special.”