Time to start planning for Christmas

Photo by mysza

Last night, Tony and I went over our budget and plans for Christmas. The holiday stress has definitely begun.

Though we have a large extended family, we have to keep our gift list short this year because our travel expenses will be high. Not only are we paying for gas, we’ll have to stop overnight at a hotel on the way there.

I’m also going to have to take a couple days off unpaid because I haven’t accrued enough vacation time. I’ll have to factor that into our budget.

We considered using only the vacation time I have, but we don’t know when we’ll be able to make it back to Indiana to see our families again. Last year we stayed here. Since we’re splitting our time between two families, we really need a couple extra days to cover our driving and make sure we have plenty of time to spend with everyone.

My family doesn’t do a massive gift exchange. We’re all pretty much on the same page as far as gifts go, so this shouldn’t be a problem. Besides, I’m sure if my sisters had to choose between receiving a gift in the mail and having us there for Christmas, they’d choose the visit. Instead of shopping, I’ll bake some treats, wrap them up, and bring them along as gifts.

I have five nieces and nephews who are 5 years old and under. We’ve included a little money in our budget for them, so we’ll be shopping for some toys. We like to do it since we don’t have any kids of our own yet. A little holiday toy shopping is fun! Besides, the expense isn’t that great when they’re this young.

We pained over what to do about our parents. Finally, we came up with a fun idea. We’re going to build North Carolina-themed gift baskets filled with local treats. We haven’t decided exactly what’s going in them, but we’ll spend the next few weeks shopping and filling them up. We’ll put a lot of effort and thought into them, but not a lot of money. I think that’s a fair trade.

I’m relieved to have the ball rolling. I probably won’t start shopping until next month when I can build it into my budget, but coming up with a budget and gift ideas is half the battle.

4 thoughts on “Time to start planning for Christmas

  1. Kacie

    That’s great that you’re getting a head start on things! I think your gift ideas sound great. Thoughtful and useful.

    We’re not doing much in the way of Christmas gifts this year. Go figure.

    And, I’ve dealt with splitting my time between two cities over the holidays. It’s quite a whirlwind! I’m glad you’re taking a little extra time.

  2. tiffanie

    i’m doing the same thing…making homemade goodies and putting together gift baskets for most of our family. we’ll be buying for hubby’s younger brother (10) and sister (4) because they’re the only kids in either of our families. other than that…quality time with our families is what i’m looking forward to! we don’t see them very often.

  3. Stacey

    I really like your idea of themed gift baskets for where you’re living. I live in Colorado and my family is all back east, so Colorado-themed stuff would be neat for them (probably). ;) Anyways, what kind of things did you end up putting in your baskets? Just curious and starting to think about Christmas (…in September… I have a planning problem).

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