Monday, November 28, 2011

Manda Monday--Countdown to Christmas

Christmas is right around the corner. I started preparing over a week ago with shopping and decorating so I have good head start on this busy season.

Before Thanksgiving, we managed to get five Christmas trees up, and four of them are decorated.  The Christmas Village has yet to make an appearance, despite Little Guy asking me to put it up at least four times a day.  I hope to get that done, along with decorating the big tree and setting up the remaining trees, this week.  And if the weather is dry and not bone-chillingly cold, the outside lights might get put up as well.

For the record, we are the proud owners of eight Christmas trees of various sizes. My goal has always been to have a personalized or themed tree in each major room of my house.  But not in the bathrooms, because that would just be excessive.

When the decorating is done, I'll turn my attention to shopping and baking.  Little Guy is not much into shopping, but he is just as excited as I am to start baking. Already we've gone through six cookbooks to mark the recipes we want to try.  While he declares every recipe as one we have to make, I'm going to try to limit our efforts to just 10-12 varieties of cookies.  I don't want to go overboard--my Christmas is all about moderation.

In all seriousness, I do like to give baked goods as gifts.  Our neighbors and coworkers will get cookies this year...all 93 of them! I'll be making three batches of each of those 10-12 cookie varieties.  The amount of butter I go through at this time of year is criminal.  

Shopping will certainly take some time.  All told, we buy gifts for at least 38 people, not including the TMI household.  Fortunately, gifts for Little Miss, Little Guy and Big Guy are almost entirely done, and that is a big load off my shoulders.   

When it comes to shopping, organization is key.  I already have my gift ideas and budget on an Excel spreadsheet, and I'll take that with me to the stores. I find that this one piece of paper saves me a ton of time and money. Time, because I go into a store with a good idea of what to look for, and money, because I have a set budget and seeing it in print helps me stick to it.  If you have problems shopping for gifts, I strongly recommend that you make a list and budget, and then stick to it.  Hey, it works for Santa!

In addition to the decorating, baking and shopping, I'd like to get the kids out to see fun Christmas light displays, a trip or two to see Santa and some other fun holiday activities in the lovely city of Aurora.

This is going to be a busy, and fun, season! 

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