Thursday, November 14, 2019

Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming!

I know I don't have to tell you that Christmas is coming, but we are not going to be unprepared this year.

NOPE.

Matt and I have working on our finances and budgets and god, it's so bad you guys, so we decided we are going to do an all cash Christmas. Which means no super lofty gifts this year (but I still put them on my list because SANTA might see it) and we have to be incredibly organized. Last year I wrote an article on Duluth Moms Blog about how I organize my gift giving, so if you need to get your ducks in a row (or even in the same yard) give that a read. In the meantime, I've been asked about posts I normally do at the end of the year and I'm working on them and getting everything put together and it's a lot of work. So keep your eye for these soon:

November 18: Sara's Christmas Wish List
November 25: Sara's Favorite Things
December 30: Sara's Books of 2019

With the Christmas spirit all up in our house, we've been getting everything out now. Normally we've firmly been a day-after-Thanksgiving family even though I don't even like Thanksgiving, but this year Jackson wore us down. He told us that when you "have so much Christmas cheer in your body you need extra days to get it out". Of course, this is the kid who would be thrilled to keep a tree up all year.
It was only fitting I took him to a pallet painting place in town to make some ornaments on a make and take day. That actually ended up being fun and I never got pictures of mine (which are different than his) but he's really happy how his turned out. 
If you're a long time reader you know our family has a tradition of everyone picking an ornament out for the year and at the end of Christmas it goes into THEIR box so someday when they move out, I'll hand them their box and they'll have a little piece of home and nostalgia with them. Anything homemade stays here with me, obviously. We also pick up ornaments wherever we go during the year and this year was Missouri, so behold: 1. an outhouse from Silver Dollar City 2. a giraffe from the St. Louis Zoo 3. a weird snowflake with a picture Jackson did at school 4. your typical tourist ornament from The Gateway Arch 5. a slice of a geode from Talking Rocks Cavern 6. a "Ho fucking Ho" ornament I bought last year and forgot to put on the tree. I am notorious for this. 
Over last weekend we decorated the tree and the kids were super excited about it. You can't tell by Lucy's face of course. 
I ended up decorating the top 2/3 of the tree when everyone was napping, and all of the ornaments that belong to the kids are on the bottom third because they all suck at ornament placing. 
The only shot I got of all four of them doing it. (Olivia is crouched down next to Jackson) It didn't last a long time, but they did a good job. 
We even tried to get a decent family picture with a selfie stick. We did not succeed. This was only the picture that didn't have Twinky's butt almost on the camera. I wish I was kidding. 
Oh! So let's talk about the ornaments each kid picked out! Lucy picked a cupcake because she wanted to eat it. Olivia got this really pretty glass hot air balloon with Santa in the basket. Penelope had a hard time deciding between Wonder Woman, a unicorn, and Elsa. I'll be honest- I'm really surprised she went with Elsa. Jackson ended up with a really furry llama. Fitting.

I really hate shopping with all four kids and Matt- it literally brings out the worst in me but sometimes you have to because I honestly have no idea what to get Penelope and Lucy for Christmas. Olivia and Jackson are super easy because they give me a two page list complete with links and pictures to make sure I get it right. Penelope and Lucy will circle every single thing in a catalog so that's not helpful. I actually have to take them to a store. Ugh. 
Popular picks they really loved? Barbie Babysitter Crib Set, Rainbocorns (I don't know what this is but there is like an animal with a sequin belly and "surprises" in it. So, your guess is as good as mine.), Unicorn Crush (which is like... slime you mix the glitter into?), and a Cash Register that makes actual sounds. 
Barbie Mermaid Playset thing, Barbie Chelsea Camper, a weird unicorn head, and this purple unicorn that is now gone from Target and $50+ on Amazon so they are not getting that for sure.

*** (Grandparents and beyond: don't buy any of this stuff without checking with me because it's on my shopping list for this weekend! Assuming I can find deals on anything.) ***

It's safe to say anything unicorn is all the rage this year. Lucy likes babies and Play-Doh (I already got her Baby Shark Play-Doh and some Popcorn Party thing), but she loves pretend things basically. Penelope- unicorns all day. She also loves Barbie things. She mostly just likes to dress them and immediately undress them, repeat. Do you remember in the 80's you could buy a bag of Barbie clothes and shoes? I used to get one every year for Christmas and it was always the best because it's not like I got new dolls and then their outfits, that was the only way I'd get cool shoes and stuff. They don't have this anymore. You can buy one, maybe two outfits at a time and it's SO expensive. Robbery, I tell you. Robbery.

Olivia and Jackson asked for small, weird things (stickers, Pop-Tarts, wall clock, desk chair, Funko Pops, etc) and then the big things (a Wii, a new phone, Timberland boots, Apple Watch, etc). I think we'll be able to get some of the things on their list that will be budget realistic but still a nice little Christmas. The best part of MY Christmas is watching THEM open things from me. I really love it and all of my best memories of their Christmases have been them opening something they didn't think they'd get. Granted, I don't actually remember most Christmases but for sure the one I remember is Olivia around 18 months old? We got her an Elmo chair and that was the most expensive thing we bought that year.

(I had to REALLY look for these! This would have been 2006, so she was 15 months old or so? And holy hell- Lucy looks so much like her!!)
That was our little tree in our old house, before the addition was put on. That was all of the presents for our family and extended family, and of course, the Elmo chair. 
That was Matt coming down the stairs with her because I wanted to see her face when she saw the chair, she wanted it immediately. 
She loved it and also used it for years. I think we had it until Jackson was two or so. Man. It's so weird to look at this picture and think that little girl is 14 now. Wow.

I have to stop otherwise I get upset because I can't remember.

But it's that kind of thing that I do remember. Their faces and the joy radiating off of them. So every year I try to do everything I can to get them something I know they really, really want. Hopefully our cash only Christmas can allow for that this year. I'll be watching those sales like a hawk, that's for sure!

What's YOUR favorite Christmas memory? 

2 comments:

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Aw, I love Jackson's reasoning for putting up the tree early. And baby Olivia is too adorable! I think a cash only Christmas is a good idea when you're worried about money, etc. Let me know if you need help looking for anything/sales/discounts - all that jazz basically!

-Lauren
www.shootingstarsmag.net

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

I am so excited about Christmas as it is my favourite time of year I often feel unready for the day