As Christmas approaches, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed, stressed out, and even grumpy. You may need an extra cafecito or two to keep you going! As a mom, you know all too well that most of the burden is on you, but it doesn't have to be. The key is to spend a little time getting organized, have an action plan, and then the rest is possible. Don't stress out if it's not picture perfect, remember, life is messy and perfection doesn't exist!
So the clock is winding down and if you're anything like me, you have some shopping done, but not everything. I have a master list included in the Free Get Organized for the Holidays that will help you keep everything and everyone organized. Plus, it'll also help you get organized for next year's Thanksgiving as well. I mean, who can remember what they gave out last year? Certainly, not me, at least not with this mommy brain. Just fill in and save for the file for reference. Prefer to use your phone? There are tons of list apps that range from very simple to quite complex. Pick the one that works for you. I have shopped before with no plan in sight, roaming the stores for hours trying to figure out what to get so and so and that's not the way to do it.
Now that you have your list and know what remaining gifts you have to buy, make a shopping plan so that you can make the most of your shopping trip. If you can, shop before you go to work. Many stores open as early as 8am. See if you can go to work an hour late. Ask your partner to take over the kid duties that day. You want to shop alone, with a list, and a plan. If you can't shop alone and you have to take your child with you, depending on your child’s age, you’ll want to head out about an hour before nap time. Make sure they don’t fall asleep in the car. Once you get to the store or mall, make sure you feed them first before you start any shopping. Put them in the stroller and before you know it, they’ll be napping anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. You won’t get much accomplished if they’re cranky, hungry, or wide awake. Oh, and make sure you have plenty of water and snacks for both of you.
As a very busy Mompreneur I don’t have endless hours for Christmas shopping. I do a lot of my shopping online but I do like going to stores to get that holiday experience. You know there are gifts that you need to touch and hold and then there are those gifts that you can just order off a click. Be clear and know that most retailers and online stores offer free holiday shipping, like Mi Legasi ;) Take advantage. Don’t want the inconvenience of waiting for packages? Many retailers will ship to your local store for pickup. Just remember that the pickup lines tend to be long during the holidays with only 1 to 2 people working the counter, so avoid peak hours.
If you do shop online, I recommend signing up for ebates, they’ll provide you cash back for any online shopping. Simply install their app, activate it before you shop, and every 3 months, you’ll get a check in the mail! Last Christmas I got a check for $54. My husband insisted that I sign up and now I look forward to a check. The more you shop the more cash back you get, but even if you get a $7 check, it’s $7 that you didn’t have before. I also recommend retailmenot to get any coupons you may not be aware of. Just type in the store or product you are looking for and in seconds you’ll get a list of coupons to use. Finally, take advantage of any reward program. Many cards and shops offer double reward points or even discounted items like gift cards. Use them wisely but take advantage of any perks.
Many stores offer free boxes, gift bags, tissue paper, and even free gift wrapping, but you have to ask, sin pena (don't be shy). Don’t forget to ask about coupons either. Think about making your life easier and if that means one less gift to wrap, woo hoo. Ask your partner to help with the wrapping. Even if you’re a creative freak like me, who likes to coordinate the wrapping paper to the tree, you can still ask for help so you can have less to do.
Your family and friends will do the bulk load and Santa or the Reyes Magos (Three Kings) will do the rest. I like to give my daughter thoughtful gifts and though they aren’t the latest toy in an egg, they are from the heart, and something she’ll treasure beyond the next toy fad. I’ll do picture yearbooks that retell our family’s year or an iconic event, like our first Disney vacation. Shutterfly is my go to place for picture books. If albums aren’t your thing, you can gift your child an ornament that represents something special that happened during the year. Already bought the ornament? The best gift anyone can give a child, in my opinion, is education. This year, I am gifting my daughter a 529 college savings fund. With just $25 in autopay every month (depending on state or financial institution), you can open a college investment account for your child and anyone can contribute to your child's education. It may not be exciting now, but I promise you they'll be thanking you later when they're not stuck with thousands of dollars in student debt.
If you have the time, a great money saver is DIY gifts. You can personalize them any way you want and people will appreciate that you took the time to create something special and unique. Some diy ideas include, bath salts, baked goods, photo gifts, and artwork gifts. Pinterest has lots of ideas. For my daughter's first Christmas we gifted her artwork to our friends and family. They loved them and I can tell you that it pleases me to see them hanging on their walls.
Ok, so I'm not talking about your kids, or spouses, but your friends and extended family will understand, especially if you have young kids. You try your best to get it all done, but don't kill yourself if your primo (cousin) Juan doesn't get his gift by Navidad. Remember, technically you have until Los Reyes (Three Kings), I just bought you an extra 12 days! Yes, Santa, don't look so shocked.
Don't let La Navidad overwhelm you. It's a time to connect with your friends and family, create memories, and carry on your holiday traditions. Remember, material things come and go. What matters most is not the value of things but how you value what you have. Gifts given and received are simply extra blessings to those we already have. Feliz Navidad!
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