Preparing for Christmas used to be quite a bit stressful for me, mostly of my own doing. I was a perfectionist, love Christmas and love to have everything beautiful and magical for my family.
I prepared the month before by printing off all my checklists and creating a Christmas Binder stocked full of printable labels for my Christmas cards, organizing forms, lists, a schedule of what to do when, favorite Christmas recipes and a budget tracker.
Honestly, I still have that binder and it still has a few things in there but they’re mostly left over from years ago.
I love to decorate and absolutely love to bake. Every year I baked Christmas cookies with the kids and then I proceeded to bake Snowball cookies, Ginger cookies, and Biscotti. As my girls got older we added to our list of baked yummies.
There’s nothing like the smell of delicious cookies filling up the home.
We participated in the church programs whether it was a play or the choir. We visited neighbor’s, we took the kids to Christmas plays and Walk Through Bethlehem. I truly loved Christmas especially when my kids were younger.
When I got sick with Lyme disease 10 years ago I became so overwhelmed with basic things like keeping my house clean and grocery shopping that just the thought of preparing for Christmas made me cry. I couldn’t possibly fill out all those forms in the binder and baking multiple types of cookies was impossible.
My husband came to the rescue and helped me prioritize the things that were truly important for our family. That was hard for me because I didn’t want to let go of things we had always enjoyed but I hoped it would only be temporary.
One of the symptoms I had from Lyme was intense pain in my legs and feet along with sciatic nerve pain. Walking was incredibly painful for me. Because of this pain, Christmas shopping was very difficult.
Before getting Lyme I did all the Christmas shopping for the kids and family on my own. It wasn’t a big deal and I did quite well.
When I got sick with Lyme my husband realized that Christmas shopping wasn’t something I could do on my own and so he offered to take a day off work and help me shop. I completely jumped at the offer.
Shopping has always been stressful because I’m the kind of gal that goes to every single store just to save a buck. Have you seen that commercial about FOBO? I laughed out loud when I first saw that because that’s so me and now I have a name for my condition. FOBO – Fear Of a Better Offer! When my husband shops with me he likes to purchase what we find at the store we’re at instead of spending the entire day going to a bunch of different stores trying to get the best offer.
He made it so much easier for me and our first Christmas shopping trip became something I now look forward to each year. Since that first year of shopping together we’ve continued this tradition even though my health is much better.
Now each year my husband and I pick a day to go Christmas shopping, we set the budget, discuss our plan, I create the lists, check the store ads and look for coupons. We leave in the morning and begin our shopping spree. We work through our lists for awhile and then take a break for lunch and coffee at our favorite spot. In the afternoon we finish up, head home and sneak all the gifts into the house.
We turned Christmas shopping into a favorite date for both of us.
This has become one of my favorite Christmas traditions! What are your favorite traditions?