You might have picked up if you’re been following me for a while that I’m a bit of a planner and an organiser. If you’re new to the blog, then welcome to my crazy little family/lifestyle/parenting bubble – I hope you enjoy the entertainment and maybe learn a few fun things along the way.
So I’ve been thinking about how our plans for Christmas are going to all work themselves out for this year. Our families are quite spread out so it takes a bit of early planning to buy/wrap and post presents in advance to ensure that everyone has their parcels on time. Maybe once every 3-4 years we all make an effort to get together for a big Christmas Day (be it on the day or early/late by a few weeks depending on everyone else’s family plans) but this year it’s going to hopefully be small and quiet.
Each year I try and come up with a bit of a theme surrounding the presents for the adults and the kids. Usually for the Royals’ presents, it tends to be a little more last minute as it’s whatever they are into at the time. The kids are constantly learning and changing their mind as to what their favourite toy/tv series/movie/superhero are etc so as much as I wish I could buy everything during the year – I’d likely have to exchange it for different things, which is frankly just not worth the hassle.
Last year I had recently purchased a thermomix and thought it would be a great idea to make a whole bunch of home made/prepped items to gift for our family into a hamper. There was everything from spices and seasonings, vanilla chai mix, chutneys and jams, flavoured salts, body scrubs (gingerbread spiced of course), honey roast nuts, fudge, nougat, plus a few sneaky bottles of Nutella liqueur and lets not forget the amazing granola too!
Although it was a lot of fun putting everything together – I think I’m going to try a slightly more simple and less time consuming plan for this year. There are some things that it’s just not worth trying to recreate with your own time and energy – ie flavoured Tea! There are some fabulous brands out there that are so quick and easy to purchase and it might not be something that you’d regularly buy for yourself making it a lovely little treat!
Honestly it gets really hard as everyone gets older – unless your family have something they collect (eg Royal Doulton sets, china cats, purple glass pumpkins) or a passion or hobby about something specific eg knitting – it can be increasingly hard to know what to purchase the extended family. Particularly when they say they don’t want anything, but you know that they’ll spoil you and your kids in spades on Christmas Day.
There are all the commonly offered suggestions of personalised mugs, tea-towels, framed pictures, drawings from the kids, calendars, updated albums, a new bottle of perfume etc – but what do we really need?
In truth we probably need nothing – we might not even want for anything much either, so how do you cater for those kind of family?
Well this year I’m going for a slightly different approach – none of us want or even need more STUFF so the other half and I have decided to create consumable Christmas parcels instead.
Now these can be as simple or as outrageous as you want them to be – but the idea behind the items is the same. What would you love to have (ie use and consume) at home but can’t justify having or buying for yourself?
A nice bottle of hand cream/body lotion/eye cream from a good brand (not just the brand that was on special at the supermarket last week)
A good bottle of cognac/brandy/whisky/gin/wine/etc that they can drink and enjoy over the course of an evening or throughout the year and think of you
A decent sized box of quality tea – or a box of lots of samples, or coffee teabags for those non-tea lovers out there
A voucher for their local café/coffee shop or even just a card with $10 in it for their next coffee shop trip
Maybe a diary/bullet journal/homemade notepad/book with a pencil/sparkly Christmas pen
Some fruit leather be it homemade or some good quality stuff (try health food shops)
Liquorice if you’re into that thing or some other sweet treat that you know they would rarely buy for themselves but love regardless
A small bottle of some fancy vinaigrette/caramelised reduction of a balsamic or a flavoured oil along with some dukkah or similar (easy to make or buy)
A jar with all the dry ingredients to make a small cake/cookies/mug cake etc
Whip up a batch of relish/chutney/lemon curd/caramel sauce/peanut butter or even homemade vege stock packed full of goodness and love
The good biscuits from the shop – it might be the Arnotts family pack, or the melting moments, the Christmas shortbread or 5 packets of fruit mince pies, whatever tickles their fancy
If your family aren’t born here or have spent a significant amount of time abroad – maybe something that would remind them of their travels eg Speculaas Cookies from Holland or a few bottles of German wheat beer
Some items to pamper those tired bones – face masks/lip gloss/eye gel patches or even a few new colours to paint their toenails or just some strengthening/replenishing kits to get their hands and feet in great shape for summer
A really good shampoo/conditioner/treatment mask for their hair or a good beard/hair oil if there’s little up top to cover
Last but definitely not least – something that you (or the kids) have made! It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, a card/drawing/poem or a short story about an old memory with them that always makes you laugh or just one that you hold dear.
Never forget the power of a moment – to stop their thoughts even for a nano second and focus on whatever is going on at that minute…those moments are priceless. You can’t hold on to them, sometimes you won’t even see them, but they are there and they are the part about Christmas that I love so much. They are the gifts that keep giving long after the wrapping paper is all over the floor, the rush of the day is done, your belly’s are all hopefully full and you take a minute to remember just how good life is.
I’ll be posting a few more articles about Christmas in the coming weeks. I’ve got a few more ideas for a less materialistic silly season that doesn’t involve you being chained to the kitchen or 1000 rolls of wrapping paper every night…so I’m hoping you check back in for another update soon.
I hope you’re enjoying the lead up to the silly season, the Royals are already eagerly awaiting the return of our elf, so I might make share some plans for her adventures whilst she’s here soon too. Love HRM