Less than 7 weeks until Christmas…

Ah, the stores are all decked out already.

I dropped into Winners on the weekend, and they had all their sparkly dresses and blouses with pouffy sleeves on the front racks.  The glitz is out. The shops are putting up their trees with fancy baubles. Geesh, I think it’s time to start to stress out a bit.

I’ve officially started my Christmas shopping. One major gift purchased.  Thankfully, I got it on a killer sale.

My youngest and I went to the mall on the weekend for a few things, and we picked up a little 4.5′ artificial tree at Zellers – $19.95. For years I’ve wanted a table-top tree. Something that’s small, but decorated to the max, and doesn’t require a lot of effort. This year, in the middle of our little urban oasis, complete with two curious kittens, the kids have finally agreed to let me have my way!  Hooray!  So, I’ve already saved $40 on a tree, since the real one I usually get is about $60 at the nursery here.

The youngest said “I want a big Christmas this year!”  The eldest said “I’m really excited about Christmas this year!” Wow, that tells me I can’t pull out my bah-humbug personality. Sounds like the girls not only want to stay home (hooray – insert huge sigh of relief here), but they’re excited about embracing the holiday spirit.  When I asked the youngest what she meant by “big”, she said “lots of decorations, lots of baking, lots of spending time together.”  What a relief. She didn’t say she wanted an abundance of presents. What she really wants is cash for the trip to France and Italy she’s saving for next summer.

I’m pretty lucky in the gift-giving department, I don’t have as many to buy for as I used to.  There’s the two girls – they’re my primary expenditure.  I don’t exchange gifts with my parents, but I do make them a loaves of my famous fruitcake. I have seven neices and nephews, which I usually buy for.  I’m totally stumped for them this year.  They really have so much already. I can’t spend $20-$25 each on them this year, otherwise my $400 Christmas budget will be almost blown. I’m thinking of buyng them a voucher to go see a movie in their home-town. Perhaps add a little gift certificate for the concession stand?  What do you think about that? Who doesn’t like to go to the movies?

I usually give my neighbours either a bottle of wine or some baking, or both. Perhaps we’ll keep it to baking this year. We contribute one gift at work, and do a fun gift exchange. So, really – it’s just the girls and my nephews/neices. Pretty straight forward.

Now that we have this little Charlie Brown tree, the youngest wants to put it up and decorate now. It’s a bit too early for me. Perhaps in a couple of weeks we’ll do that. Besides, I’m worried that the kittens will be in to everything. Why prolong the agony?

Christmas is often stressful for me. Do you find it stressful too? It’s not just the gift thing, it’s also the negotiating holiday time with friends and family, navigating parties and trying not to gain 10 pounds, trying to put yourself in a certain festive mood when you may not be. Then there’s the cooking and the cleaning, and the washing of dishes. Yep, it’s a bit stressful. I’m going to try and embrace a “big” Christmas, as defined by my youngest. Invest my energies in baking, decorating and spending time together.

Heaven knows I have enough decorations to decorate two homes. I have lots of cookie and treat recipes to make and share. I can make time to spend it with family.

Perhaps this will be the first Christmas in my memory when I don’t ache when the visa bill comes in January? Let’s hope so.

What’s your strategy over the next seven weeks?  Any tips you can share?


10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by joanne on November 8, 2010 at 9:50 am

    If you are a CAA member they have Cineplex Entertainment tickets that are a great price.
    You could buy the admit one (since the Night ticket is much more) and then add a 5.00 or 10.00 concession supplement to the admission ticket.


    I’ve bought them for us just going out since it is such a great deal especially when you add up the concession cost along with general admission.



    • Great idea Joanne, although I’m not a CAA member (no car, no need!). You did remind me, however, that I do have a membership to perkopolis.com, which does provide me with a bit of a discount on some things. I ordered up some children’s movie passes already. That helped jog my memory – thanks!


      • Posted by joanne on November 8, 2010 at 5:41 pm

        You can have the membership without a car (I pay for my sister’s membership since she does not own a car but borrows mine) and the CAA membership applies to YOU not the car which means that if you are with someone you can use the membership. Also, there are tons of other benefits (aka discounts) available as a member.
        Just an FYI – but glad I could jog your memory.


  2. I made my new wreaths for the front door on the weekend and we put them up. We live amongst a very large Hindu and Sikh population and they celebrated Diwali this past weekend, so there are lights everywhere and our Christmas wreaths don’t look too silly being up already. Otherwise we won’t decorate until the last weekend of November. We purchased our tree this weekend, and I am itching to put it up, but can’t bring myself to so early.

    I do find Christmas stressful…buying gifts for our brood of 7 kids (we’re almost done, one way we combat the stress is to start buying early), baking and getting ready for Christmas Day. Instead of a Christmas dinner on the day of, I host a family brunch. I find that I can prepare things in advance much easier (muffins and pastries) and it allows me to stress much less.

    One thing I do stress over is teacher gifts…I rarely know what to get them and don’t want to get them the usual “world’s greatest teacher” mugs. We usually do some baking and throw in a $5 gift card for Timmie’s for each teacher/teaching assistant. It’s worked in the past, so I think we’ll just continue the tradition.

    The next 7 weeks will consist of decorating, finishing our shopping, and baking, baking, and more baking!

    (BTW, I took my blog off ‘private’…I was tired of being so darn secretive, especially since I have nothing to hide, lol)


    • Sounds like fun! I’ve never been big on the teacher’s gifts, only if they’ve been extra special. There’s been the odd time that I’ve gifted a teacher. Now my kids are old enough they can create their own gifts/cards for a teacher. Phew, another chapter closed!

      Too bad we can’t organize a virtual cookie exchange!


  3. Virtual cookie exchange lol! We could always share our favourite recipe! My daughter (she’s 20) has also expressed great interest this year in our “at home” Christmas. We usually travel to Bracebridge where my two older sisters live but not this year – so we will have 2 weeks to bake, go outdoor skating, visit, and all that fun old-fashioned stuff. I’m very glad we’re not travelling this year as that adds so much more stress to an already stressful time. I’ve simplified my gift-giving SO MUCH! Last year I told my brothers and sisters NOT to buy me anything and instead of buying for them I was making a donation to charity – several of them joined me. So I am doing that again this year and I will only purchase gifts for my daughter and Michael, that’s it! (Maybe a wee one or two for myself:)! I do a stocking for my daughter and we have our upcoming trip to TO in a few weeks . Now that I write that all out I’m starting to get excited myself! But NO decorating til December-that’s my rule.


    • Ooo, a recipe exchange. Love that idea!
      Like you, I have a pretty simple gift giving list too. The young ones get me a bit stressed because I don’t see them very often, and I’m never sure what they’re into these days. Hope you have a blast here in TO, need any suggestions or is your dance card full?


      • Thanks but I think we’ll have more than enough to do – it’s a Mirvish deal so we’re going to see Rock of Ages, going to the ROM, out to dinner, shopping at the Eaton’s Centre (window shopping for moi) & that will likely be all we have time for – can’t wait!
        Looking through my cookie recipes:)

  4. I just saw this recently – don’t know if it’s that good of a deal or not:

    I usually have given the nieces and nephews movie tickets that I bought with my credit card reward points. So of course I think that’s a great idea… 🙂

    And I also put up a mini-tree ever since we’ve had the dog, who is fascinated with ball like ornaments. I picked up a little 3′ fiber optic table-top tree a couple of years ago on sale at Canadian Tire for $10 after Christmas. I’m quite sad about not putting up my regular (white frosted) fake tree since I have a bunch of animal print ornaments (also on sale after one Christmas) that are just the coolest things. I decorated it with black fur boas too as garland!


    • Thanks Jacq. I actually ended up purchasing movie tickets for Empire Theatres yesterday. Great minds think alike, so they say!
      I ended up paying about $11 per gift for the neices and nephews. I can live with that.

      Love the idea of the feather boa garland! Very girlie!


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