Raising Davis: Keeping tabs on the holidays

Estimated Reading Time 2 Minutes
Christmas is huge in our family and that translates to a series of work-back schedules and to-do lists. I already have dusted off the Christmas binder for 2011. No kidding! 
There really is a big red binder. It has tabs and everything. The first tab is for Christmas lists – I am a big believer in getting people what they want as opposed to surprising them (you know what I mean, because we all have a closet full of those kind of gifts!). I also keep a list of the gifts I bought for everyone the previous year. This is mandatory because I have been known to buy the exact same gift for someone two years in a row. This binder rescues me from future embarrassment.
The second tab is for our Christmas card list, making note of changed addresses and adding new acquaintances. There is a budget tab. Paul and I will discuss what we can afford for Christmas and I will break it down per gift so I shop within my limits.
There is the “to do” tab. This is essential. It is a list that covers food and drinks needed for all of our holiday entertaining to remembering to mail the letter to Santa!
There is a tab for our Family Day. This is a day that we pick the week before Christmas. This day has become special because Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, in our family, are spent going to three different events at three different houses. By choosing our own Family Day earlier in the month, it gives us a day to slow down and really enjoy each other. Our kids each pick one thing they would like to do on this day. One will suggest baking cookies, another wants a snowball fight (that would be Davis) and the other may pick making a craft. We then work all of these activities into one day, which we have called our own Family Christmas day. I still have to find out what the three activities will be this year and then add the required stuff that we’ll need in the binder.
There is a charity tab. The kids are involved in sponsoring another family for Christmas, buying extra toys for families in need, giving up some of their own toys and donating to the food bank.
There is a “thank you for your help” tab that includes miscellaneous gifts for babysitters, neighbours, hairdresser, doctor and fellow workers.
Just writing about this, I’m almost overwhelmed! But I love it. I don’t want to miss a single part of the planning. I even schedule a day for the family to decorate
the house, set up the tree and wrap all the presents. And every year, we hang a new family ornament on the tree. This year, it has already been bought and it is noted in the binder! (If I didn’t have this reminder, I would buy two.)
Even with all that pre-planning, I still need to take a couple of days off in December to get it all done. I try to shop online and on my lunch hours to prevent having to go out in the evenings.
The big red binder represents a lot of work but it also reminds me how lucky I am to have so many family and friends and to be able to show them that I love them – and not buy them the same gift twice!

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