How do you Christmas shop?

This is our little Christmas last year. We really need a bigger tree, it reminds me of the one from Charley Brown. It is better than the one we had a few years ago. Wal-Mart had some really pretty trees for a good price, so we grabbed one the beginning of December. I was so sick and tired of vacuuming the needs and watering the thing that on December 17th I drug it complete with Christmas lights all the way down the driveway and threw it on the curb half decorated.

That little incident has now gone down in Ivanovsky lore as the day Mom flipped, became the grinch, and drug the decorated tree out to the trash screaming Ba-Humbaugh!

I replaced it with that little set of three trees you can get at Michael's or Hobby Lobby for like $40. I had them on the front porch and just put them in the living room, everyone hated me but I had enough of the mess. We now have a fake tree.

With no fireplace we leave the stockings on the living room couch. Other's with no mantle where do you leave your stockings?

I start Christmas shopping on December 26th. Thats when I get all my wrapping paper, ribbon and tape for the next year. If there are Children reading this STOP now.... O.K. now that they are gone! I buy matching paper for all the presents from us. Then I get really fancy bows and paper from Santa. I never use bows, so the kids are convinced these presents didn't come from me, they know I am too cheap :)

We do presents a little like we talk to the kids about what Christmas means. The biggest (and usually most expensive) present comes from Santa. Then the kids get three presents from Mom and Dad, like the three that Jesus got from the Wise Men. In my opinion they don't need more than this. They give each other presents and get presents from Grandparents. I try and keep it simple, they need to give as much as they get.

They also get good stuff in their stockings, but you can see these aren't that big, usually a movie and for the girls a little jewelry and fun little things. A friend gave me a book one year called "Unplugging the Christmas Machine" I really enjoyed it. If I can find a copy I will give one away here on a few weeks.

I keep looking for deals throughout the year. But I am really picky. It has to be a great item or I will wait. Kids are also very finicky, I have bought a Christmas present in August for a child only to give it to another kid when December finally came! I don't really have a budget for Christmas, I also don't kill myself trying to make sure I spend the same exact amount on each child. SOme years are better for some kids and it goes there way the next year. There is no reason to spend the same amount on my 2 year old as I would my 12 year old. The 2 year old needs about $30 of toys and a nice box! The 12 year old on the other hand is going to need to get a job to get all the nice things he is asking for!

What is your Christmas strategy? How do you shop? When do you start?



Lisa S. said...

I'm so glad to know I'm not the only crazy mother who would do something like drag a Christmas tree down to the curb for early pick up. I haven't done that particular thing but can rival that story in other ways...


I just started a gift box this summer. I'm sure lots of people already do this but it's new to me. I've been buying marked down stuff and then popping them in the box to sort out later. I have a general idea of what gift goes to whom but I am flexible. I'm pretty well set up for Christmas and have been spending about $40 a month so far. I'm waiting for Shutterfly to put their calendars on sale and then I'll be more or less done. This is waaaay better than stressing out like crazy from October through December like I normally do!

Pam (meanestmother) said...

We hang our stockings on the rail of our stairs. They are hung in age order with the youngest closest to the top of the stairs to make it easier for them to get to. After they all have their stockings the tradition is to get their picture taken on the stairs in the pajamas with their stockings. All the kids still living at home are "required" to oblige this tradition, like it or not. This enables our children to all enjoy the same memory despite the wide age difference.

Becky said...

I love your "I just lost my mind" story!!!

I'm about 95% done with Christmas shopping! And I have 2 kids, 1 niece, 4 nephews, 1 12 year old brother, and 2 boys that I babysit to buy for! I hit the Target Christmas in July sale-Hard! I've also been buying things here and there on sale or with a coupon. For the adults in my family we are filling baskets with household things that I get for free or cheap, and then I will be making them something special also. I already have over $200 worth of things in each basket! The only thing left to buy is an outfit or 2 for my 1 year old, and some little things for our 3 infant nephews! Woo-hoo!!

Hattie said...

I've hung the stockings before on the wall using command hooks. They look nice and no holes!

With 4 boys I've been trying to find toys and things on clearance or w/ all these new toy coupons! I have a feeling this is going to be a small Christmas!

Catherine Anne said...

As the years go past Im thinking about making more for others and shopping less. Its just stuff and stuff does not show the birh of Christ. Maybe Im getting a little out there. Im sure we will shop for our family just not as much as we have. I want to spend time with the kids, baking, building and sewing for our gifts. One thing we do is santa always has left 3 main gifts as the wise men brought three gifts to christ! Love your christmas pics! Such a cozy time of year!

Shelle said...

We don't do Christmas or birthdays, dh doesn't allow it. We do have birthday cakes...and the kids get money for Christmas from their grandparents...that seems to keep them happy.

Mach Momma said...

Being a mom for 25 years now. I have went through it all it seems.
I have found that if I buy things throughout the year, I over spend because I forget what I have or I tell myself I got such a great deal on this or that-so I can spend more. I do buy gift wrap etc after Christmas.
This is what I have found works for my fam (especially me,the impulse shopper) I start shopping mid Sept and am finished by Nov 30. I do not allow myself to go to any store after Dec 1. I tell my husband he has to grocery shopping for that month. He usually does not do such tasks, but he knows he has to pay for it one way or another.
It is quite nice and really brings in a peaceful feeling to our entire home to focus on the reason for the season.

My mom started donating money to "The Smile Train" for her grandchildren over 10. At first, my teenage boys were a little confused, but being raised in a charitable home, they did not question. Can I tell you the response my boys gave when they received the thank you card? It was amazing, better than anything money can buy, to know that they helped those children.
This year we are going to buy a goat for someone in a village.
One year we hand made every gift and that was amazingly COOL. We did start in the spring that year.
Although we are very blessed monetarily, the greatest joy is giving and helping others.

Breathes_girl said...

My kids hate me for the fake tree, lol. Too bad, we live in an apartment so it's a fire hazard AND I had enough of watering and vaccuuming up after it when I was a kid!

I started shopping a couple of months ago, mostly stocking stuffers, music and books. My budget is tight so if I do it in small bits here and there it doesn't seem like I spend as much.

I never have tried to spend the same amount on them.

If I don't get a list they get what I think they need. If I get a list they actually get a couple of things they wanted.

My parents have always tried to spend the same amount on all three (my two and my nephew) going so far as to give them the difference in cash! That drives me batty!

mom4inspiration said...

I love the significance of the three gifts like those from the wisemen. We are doing that this year!