Monday, October 15, 2007

The most wonderful time of the year!

Besides my birthday, the most wonderful time of the year is the holiday season. I just love everything about it. I'm not sure when the season *officially* begins, but I say Halloween is Day One. I love Halloween, I adore Thanksgiving and Christmas is just the ultimate fun. And then you round everything out with a toast to the New Year. It's always a CRAZY time of year with all the parties going on... plus getting together with different groups of friends to exchange gifts... our December calendar is always booked solid. It is definitely the craziest month on our calendar every year - but I love it!

I find the hustle and bustle so super fun. I love holiday commercials on TV. I love Christmas movies. We probably watch Elf and Christmas Vacation at least 15 times each during the season. And beginning the day after Thanksgiving, my radio is tuned solely to stations playing Christmas music 24/7. In fact, one of the local stations here that was one of the biggest players of Christmas music during the holiday season was abruptly transformed into a COUNTRY station (like we need another one of those) in the MIDDLE of the holiday season. I was beyond pissed. I got online to the station's website trying to figure out what the hell happened... I had the hub calling the station complaining. It actually made the paper - because of how many people were perturbed (so I wasn't the only fool). I don't like it when people fubar my holiday spirit! Anyway... I love holiday foods. I love winter - though we never see much of one. I love hot apple cider. And most of all, I LOVE giving gifts. I can honestly say that buying gifts, wrapping gifts, and seeing my friends and family's faces when opening gifts is all so much more fun for me than any gift I'll receive.

But as fun as it all is, my stress levels can elevate with all the craziness going on. There's always something else thrown in there that complicates the calendar moreso. Our little godson has a December birthday, so that makes yet another party and I usually volunteer myself to help plan it. I definitely do this to myself, you see. And then THIS year one of my girlfriends is having a wedding smack-dab in the middle of December. Which is great - I love Christmas/winter weddings and I am so not complaining, but yes it just adds more and more to the December calendar (especially when you throw in the bridesmaids luncheon, the rehearsal dinner, etc, etc). Also, getting Christmas cards out has become a real chore in itself. Since starting my paper business, paper stuff for me ends up getting done last and sometimes half-assed. I had this cuter-than-cute card designed last year for us to send but I just ran out of time and had to toss the festive envelope lining. It was still cute, but it would've been CUUUUUTE. And of course, after Thanksgiving we've got to get our ridiculous amount of Christmas decorations up. I honestly don't know when the heck I'm going to do it this year... my bestest is coming in town the weekend after Thanksgiving, so I can't do it then. I think I might actually have us do it all the weekend before Thanksgiving. I hate to overshadow Thanksgiving Day... but there's just no other way! Plus we're doing two Christmas trees this year so it's going to be crazy. (The to-do list is my head is just growing like mad as I type this.) And finally, there's that whole Christmas shopping thing! Which brings me to the entire reason for this post...

Today I started my 2007 Christmas gift log - a fabulous color-coded, exquisitely detailed, formula-filled Excel spreadsheet that surely kicks every other Christmas list's ass! My goal every year is to have everything bought and wrapped by December (so that I can really enjoy December). That like never happens, but it's a fun thought. And it's this time of year that I am most thankful for online shopping. I do about 95% of my Christmas shopping online. I know I said I love the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, but I do NOT like trying to find gifts amongst the millions of other shoppers during December. I can't stand fighting crowds in stores. I'm so not that patient. Now, I do like to go watch the other crazy people while sipping on a Starbucks. That's fun. But for my own sanity, I have to have my gift log. All of my "giftees" have their own column and down the left I have the gifts listed. I have a budget for each person and it calculates how much I've spent on each person, how much I have spent overall, how much I have left to spend, etc. And I also decide on my gifts well before purchasing them. So while my gift log lists stuff that's been purchased, it's also filled with gift ideas... it makes for one beautiful grid. (I know - this is my nerdy accountant side coming out for sure!) It's kind of like a good budget or something... even if you're totally broke, you at least feel like you have some sort of control over your brokeness.

Work has calmed down substantially and I'm totally loving the breather... and taking advantage of it by online window shopping. Hahaha - window.... omg hahahha! I need to write that one down. Just hopping around on my favorite sites and seeing what all looks good... I've already planned out half my gifts! So now the trick is to just stagger the purchasing some so the wallet doesn't take too big of a hit at any one time. It's less painful that way. And obviously we'll have to figure out how to mesh this with our cash envelope system... perhaps another spreadsheet is required.

OK so I just wanted to share a few of my fun finds that are now "ideas" on my gift log...

Cutie jute bag from Ballard Designs. $25.50, including the monogram!

Monogrammed Dop Kit from Idaclaire. $18, including the monogram! I find men SO hard to shop for. Several on my list will be getting one of these!

Just found this site today and I'm sooooo excited about it - a great site for custom stamps! They have a TON of different return address styles, so several people on my list will be getting these. Prices vary depending on what type of stamp you order (wood-mounted, self-inking, etc), but they are very reasonable. How cute are these?

Let the holiday fun begin!


Meg said...

Whew! You have me all excited for winter now!

suburban prep said...

I have always loved the Holiday season as well. I used to work in the retail arena (behind the scenes at a catalog) and even then with it being so extremely busy I still loved the season.
So enjoy.

Sew Biz said...

Love the items on your list!! You are way too organzied with your spreadsheet (ha ha). You've inspired me to start making my list!!

Belle said...

Cute gift ideas! I'm starting my shopping now too.

Britt said...

YEs - I cannot wait for Christmas: movies, decorations, trees, cards, presents, hot chocolate - the Cozy!
Love it and the jute bags - great gift idea!