The Christmas Spirit | Giftie Etcetera: The Christmas Spirit

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Christmas Spirit

John Henry (our resident Elf on the Shelf) cannot enter the house until we have the proper Christmas spirit. (I  accidentally typed House Elf three times. Clearly, I want a House Elf for Christmas.)

Christmas Spirit means a tree, stockings hung, nativity out, and everyone trying their best to be nice to each other. John Henry supplies all the naughty that we need, after all.

(I understand a lot of people disapprove of having an elf. Even more people disagree with a naughty elf. But anyone who knows us knows that we can't resist the naughty. If you want to punish us, feel free to send coal made out of chocolate. We will be appropriately shameful as we eat it. If it happens to be in the shape of a Hershey's kiss, we'll survive that, too. :))

Our Christmas spirit includes a little, crooked Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. Whatever. We have spirit, y'all!

While unloading our Christmas decorations, I was reminded of a few things that I do each year to help stay organized for Christmas.

1. Don't hide anything Santa-related with your Christmas ornaments. 

Instead of in the attic with the decorations, our Elf on a Shelf and special wrapping paper hide in our closet, preferably under an old, scratchy blanket. Bonus points if you hide the Elf in a feminine hygiene box. (Also a great place to hide hubby's gift. He will never find it. ;) ) (Also an excellent hiding place? Wherever you keep the cleaning supplies. Nobody ever looks in the broom closet.)

Tip: Santa gifts come in paper with Santa's face on it so that Santa can use leftover wrapping paper and doesn't waste paper from year to year.

Now, Planner People, write the location of all of this stuff on the Locations page in the Notes/Files part of your planner.

2. Keep your original packaging together even when you unpack the ornaments.

I sit on the floor, unwrapping ornaments, putting the packaging back together, and handing out ornaments.

The kids and dad hang the ornaments.

I put the packaging back in the Christmas storage boxes.

3. Give your kids a new ornament every year. We label the boxes with the year and the child's name.

When they move out, give them all 18 ornaments to decorate their own first tree. It also helps them remember that they liked Elmo at age two and Darth Vader at age seven.

4. Use a cookie jar to keep gift wrap supplies (except paper and boxes) out all season while still looking neat and festive. I keep scissors, green and red sharpies, tape, and labels. The rest of the year, these supplies get stored with the ornaments (except scissors and tape, which go back in my junk drawer).

That way, I can wrap whenever I bring in a gift.

TIP: Don't use bows until you are leaving the house, except on the top presents. Labels will work just fine. Just keep some bows in the cookie jar. Otherwise, bows will get squished.

5. Have two of each stocking.

Weird, right? Not really. (Not any weirder than grown adults who enjoy a naughty elf more than the children do, anyway.) Santa stuffs our stockings throughout the season - the extras, not the ones on the mantle. Christmas Eve night, the magic happens when the full stocking is placed on the pile of toys and the empty one is hidden (with the aforementioned feminine hygiene box). As a bonus, Santa realistically knows if the stocking is stuffed.

6. Use a Santa sack for each child. In addition to giving Santa a realistic idea of how many toys have been made by the elves, garbage bags hold unwrapped or, even better, wrapped gifts very well. If a little isn't nestled, all snug in his bed, and creeps out at midnight, these suckers can just be dumped while Santa disappears quickly up the chimney!

7. Have a large gift wrapped for each child on tree day and put it under the tree to set the background.

(In our tree pic, those big gifts are hula hoops that I got for 5 cents each on clearance at Target after Easter. I've been hinting that they are wagon wheels. My littles are not amused.)

Planner Peeps, remember to check the gift off as wrapped and under tree in your planner.

8. Write down your traditions in your planner. The kids will remember from year to year! This way, so will you.

9. Put up the tree early. Seriously, it's going to be on your mind, on your task list, a burden, until it's done. Just do it!

10. Don't book every weekend between now and Christmas. It's tempting. There are parties. But you cannot sustain that much activity, work with Santa to get things done for the kids, and be sane.

Be sane this holiday year!



Morag said...

What a great idea to give the kids an ornament every year and then for them to get them when they are 18.

yezenia said...

#5 freaking BRILLIANT!!!

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