I usually pride myself on being a fairly organized person. I usually have all my Christmas shopping done by early to mid December, wrapped and under the tree. This year, however, I will be the first to admit I have let Christmas get away from me! Yes, please point at me in shame, I deserve it! I do have a good enough reason though. Usually teachers finish work the week before Christmas and that “buys” me some time to buy and wrap my gifts for family and friends.This year, we are finishing work on Friday, December 23rd so there is no down time for planning. Additionally, I was busy running our school production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” which consumed most evenings and weekends from late November to mid December. So here I am, December 21 and no gift wrap in sight! So, to help me help you, I’m sharing five ways to beat the holiday chaos that is sure to ensue this late in the shopping game!
1. Christmas Cards
Writing holiday cards is something I look forward to each year. I like to make them personal and let the people closest to me know how important they are in my life. To save time this year, I constructed basic time-saving messages to hand write in each card. See some ideas below:
Merry Christmas! Wishing you and your family a cozy, happy, peaceful holiday season.
Christmas Greetings! You’re someone who helps me remember the reason for the season, and I’m so grateful for you.
Have a magical holiday season! Sending you and your family blessings, love, and peace at Christmastime.
Merry Christmas with all the trimmings! I pray that this season you are able to decorate your Christmas with joy!
2. Buying Presents
I haven’t even had a chance to get to the mall yet this season, if you can believe that! Instead, I’ve done most of my shopping online, it’s quick, easy, and painless. I’ve even put in some orders with local vendors to ensure my gifts are made with care. I used Infinittay to knit together warm hats for my family members. The company was founded by a girl named Taylor who hand makes her merchandise with such tenderness and care. Not only are knit goods practical for this time of year, Taylor does such a beautiful job at creating them, and she is very time efficient as well.
Here’s the link to her Facebook page: Ifinittay
3. Wrapping Gifts
Usually one of my favourite parts of the Christmas season is neatly and sweetly wrapping gifts for my friends and family. This year, there has been no time for that. I opted to buy generic wrap this year instead of my usual brown wrap with decked out with bows and sparkles. There just isn’t the time to put in the extra care, but you can still get some cute paper online that adds something special to each gift. I ordered this wrapping paper off Martha and Hespie’s Etsy store.
Follow the link to get your own: Etsy Store
4. Christmas Baking
I like to make a batch of cookies and cakes to take around to my friends during the holiday season. This year, I’ve run out of time before I could even think about what I want to bake! I’ll share one of my favourite quick and easy recipes with you for Christmas baking: sugar cookies!
Cookie Ingredients (makes 2 dozen cookies):
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
2 3/4 cups flour
1. Cream butter and sugar together
2. Add egg and vanilla
3. Mix all dry ingredients and add slowly to butter mixture until incorporated
4. Roll out on lightly floured board to desired thickness
5. Use your favourite Christmas cookie cutters and place on baking pan
6. Bake for 7-10 minutes at 400 degrees (They’re ready when they are lightly browned on edges)
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tsp milk
2 tsp corn syrup
1/4 tsp almond extract
any colour food colouring
1. In a small bowl, combine sugar and milk until smooth
2. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy
*If icing appears too thick, add more corn syrup
3. Divide into separate bowls, add desired food colouring to intensity
4. Apply on cooled cookies with brush
What’s fun is that you can individually bag these cookies and tie with a ribbon to create gifts for friends and family!
5. The Gift of Time
Spending time with family is one of the most invaluable gifts we can give this season. The gift is simple and doesn’t cost a thing. Being present is present enough. My advice to all of you is that you take the time to invest yourself in the lives of your loved ones during this holiday season. The holidays are a great time to get reacquainted with those who matter most to you. Snuggle up to your honey, hold your babies close, and share stories with your mom and dad. Be fully present: listen deeply, ask questions that allow others to speak their truths, and be open to conversation. Christmas has this magical tendency to make us feel close to each other, take advantage of that this holiday season. It only comes around once a year.
I wish all of you a splendidly Merry Christmas and happy holiday season, God bless you all.