We are late Santa’s. Every year, since we’ve started a cash-only life, we (and by we I mean me. The Husband is not the greatest elf in the world.) start Christmas shopping as soon as the second check of the month hits. Some years it’s been in the teens and others that day has been dangerously close to the 25th. It always works out though and everyone gets most of what they want Christmas Day.
I’ll admit, it’s hard to ignore the flash sales and low-low prices that hit just as the turkey cools. Nearly every year I have a moment of panic that I’ll be too late to buy something or worse, I may have to pay full price. And yet, every year I stay in budget. I manage to check off the lists and there might even be room for some extra small things at the end.
This year, what I’ll do differently is try not to freak out about it. You’d think, after five years of doing this that I would have a little faith in my ability to play Santa. Yet, I can still feel that familiar worm in my belly and tightness in my shoulders that comes when my role of mom is on the line and I’m certain I will mess something up.
This year the kids are all in on the expensive electronics. As for us, we want to give them a new computer since they are getting to an age where they need it for school and my ancient, cast-off, virus-riddled laptop isn’t going to cut if for much longer. The problem is no one asked for a new computer. They’ll be thrilled to get it, but they didn’t ask. So we have to try to balance out the “family gift” with what is on their Santa lists. Oh, and those lists include just about anything handheld that starts with a lowercase i and retails for at least four hundred bucks.
So, I’ll get creative. Luckily, my late shopping means I have time to hunt down bargains and discounts and possible late month flash sales. And in the meantime, we’ll focus on all the other parts of the season that tend to get ignored in the flurry of retail.
We’ll light our Advent candles and write our thankful notes to read on New Years Eve. We’ll decorate the house together and play holiday music in the car. There will, of course, be Hookey Cookie Day, which will be even sweeter this year with me working outside the house. We’ll do our best to focus on all that is good about this time of year, instead of all that we want to get at the end of it. We’ll celebrate the season instead of the pile of gifts.
Just maybe there is a silver lining for the girl in the store on the twenty-fourth!
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.