I know, I know, it’s still October. But this year–let’s get a jump on Christmas. If you are like me you’ve already been thinking about the holidays. Sometime around mid-summer, a lot of people begin to think about the months at the end of the year. My family starts budgeting in the summer for Christmas and our Christmas travel. People throughout the world plan November and December travel mid-summer.
Custom made gift orders–well, there is a lot of things that need the full two months time before they’re ready. Those that make custom orders have lines of customers too. My husband and I buy a lot of things from small businesses and food artisans. We buy homemade jellies, knits, blankets, wool socks, some years handmade mittens, and furniture. The wait time on all of that kind of stuff is eight weeks. We booked a winter stay in a busy hotel back in July. Due to time constraints, I’m an accountant and this is the beginning of our busiest season, our Christmas gifts for friends and family have already been purchased. I wholeheartedly think one of the reasons people don’t want to talk about Christmas until the last minute is because of the enormous stress they feel about all it encompasses. And, I get that, I truly do. So let’s take a sneak peek at what’s out there for Christmas 2018–essentially get our toes wet and see if we can’t make Christmas of 2018 more joyful and less hectic.
First up this year my husband and I are going to do a Christmas hamper. Essentially it’s one big stocking for each in a big basket and it’s pretty popular/traditional in the UK. I love the idea and this way we can buy last minute cute gifts and treats for one another to open on Christmas Eve.
You can get extremely creative with your Christmas hamper or stockings this year by custom creating them–you can create hampers/stockings with keto items (cookbooks, drinks, protein snacks), baby themed, newlywed themed, animal stockings (toys, biscuits, chews), media themed (kindle, DVDs, earbuds), candy/chocolate themed and so much more. A special consideration, that we keep in mind to help us focus on what to put in our Christmas hamper, is what are we doing Christmas Eve? Most years after church we are coming home and eating a traditional meal of ribs, scalloped potatoes, and corn and then getting into pj’s and watching an old Christmas classic. So we buy soft flannel pj’s, popcorn, chocolate, a Christmas themed movie (if we see a new one in the store), and a new book to read throughout the holiday season.
Small Business Saturday is Saturday, November 24, 2018
Christmas Eve is on a Monday this year and Christmas is on a Tuesday.
Writing this post I am reminded that not everyone celebrates Christmas, and of course, Christmas celebrations are different throughout the world. I grew up in a small town, attending a Lutheran church, and celebrating Christmas as a Christian. Gifts were secondary to the church functions at this time and family gatherings. As an adult, I have celebrated Christmas in much the same way.
I’m reminded also that not only do a lot of people take offense at shopping and planning early but they also take offense at any decorations for Christmas until AFTER Black Friday takes place. Even then I know a few people who don’t participate in Christmas very well or at all–mainly co-workers. I respect their choices. I respect when someone puts their tree up before Thanksgiving because many times I have heard and seen of people celebrating early due to some very heartwarming, personal reasons such as– a family member is passing away and this is their last Christmas, family members home from their tour of duty or on leave prior to Christmas, scheduled surgery during Christmas so Christmas held early, and family members all in one place + so many more very personal, individual choices associated with decorating and celebrating. I respect their choices. I also try and remind people close to me that not everyone in the universe celebrates Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving originated as a harvest festival–to give many thanks for what we have. But it is better known in America as First Thanksgiving celebrated by the pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620.
I was born and raised in Canada until I was eight and our Thanksgiving was in October and considered a harvest festival to give thanks. Once we moved to the Midwest we began celebrating like everyone else in November. My husband grew up in The Netherlands and though some in his home country do celebrate Thanksgiving his family did not. When they moved to the Midwest they did not begin celebrating Thanksgiving in November like everyone else. In our household, I make a turkey every year and we eat early and then proceed to volunteer the rest of our day serving meals in a local shelter. Once home we put our Christmas tree up because I’m an accountant that is very busy this time of year, and we devote a lot of free time to volunteering during the months of November and December. As people who lead busy lives and have lots of stresses we, all of us, shouldn’t have to explain to people, some who are strangers to us, why we plan or shop early, or decorate and celebrate early.
I seriously think that is part of the reason people get stressed. And money, people get stressed about money, and family get-togethers, and their own expectations and thus dealing ultimately with some disappointment. A little bit at a time, focusing on the spirit of and allowing yourself some grace and this Christmas season can be your best season yet! Until next time–
“Be positive. Be true. Be kind.”