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Christmas in July -- Plan your gift giving!

Sanity Saver:  Christmas in July
by Family Tree Gal, Carolyn Murphy

28 July 2010

Providing Happy Traditions Strengthens Family Trees

I’m excited to tell you about one of my favorite things to do in July.  I call it “Christmas in July”.  I have been surprised to see there are lots of other people who have a “Christmas in July” also.

It’s meaning, to me, is that I simply get out my Christmas master planning paper, upon which I plan and list what I will give to each family member, friend, neighbor, teachers or anyone else to whom I give a gift at Christmas.  Each person has a space under their name in which I can write, specifically, the gift I will get for them.  I plan for everyone, yet I do allow space for some last-minute decisions where children are concerned.  (Sometimes they are influenced by commercials right before Christmas, so I plan for everything except that.)  Often I choose a theme, such as giving all adults a family tree chart, to simplify the brain work for me.  I plan in July, so that I will not be so pressured, rushed and hurried when the holidays begin.  (I consider that to be the month of October, beginning with Halloween.)

Once my list is assembled, I study the sales and begin making purchases. I have a couple permanent hiding places for gifts in our home.  Plastic tubs and a large cardboard box in a closet (sometimes I use a black trash bag) are selected to house the gifts that I purchase in advance for Christmas.  I make a point not to use credit cards for buying gifts.  Beginning with a plan in July allows me to spread out purchases for our budget’s sake, if I need to.

I wrap and tag each gift as it is purchased (while listening to Christmas music, of course).  No bows are attached until gifts are placed under the tree or are ready to be given.   On the tag, I write letters (beginning with A) for each individual.  (For example, one child will have four gifts, therefore, letters A through D are used, one letter on each tag.  My husband may have three gifts, so the letters A through C are used on his tags.) 

This is what follows next.  1) Each time I wrap a present, I write the letter (from the tag which is placed on the gift) on my Christmas master planning sheet next to the name of the gift.  Remember, this is under the name of the person who will receive the gift.  2) I place a check mark beside the gift item when it is purchased and wrapped.  3)  I place the package(s) in the Christmas hiding place and breathe a sigh of relief that I am one step closer to having fun at holiday time.  Making preparations in this manner is the way I remember what is in the packages without reopening them, and I don’t have to rethink my plans a thousand times—I just look at my Master Planning paper.

Even if the hiding place is discovered, the packages are already wrapped.  If people sneak a peak, they simply lose their own surprise.  I did that once as a child, then never again.  I hated already knowing what I was getting.  I spoiled my own fun, and I wasn’t willing to do it again.

ADDITIONAL TIP:  One thing I do that you may or may not want to do is that I use code when writing the gift name, so people will not know what they are getting if they discover my list.  You can write the words backwards, if desired.  I write the words backwards two letters at a time (example:  the gift of a “journal” would look like this in my code: l n a u r j o  It’s written backwards, two letters at a time  j o then u r then n a and the l comes last)  It’s not foolproof, but I also keep my list in a folder or 3-ring binder which is out of the sight of my family anyway.    

I love “Christmas in July”.  I’ve spent one too many holiday seasons feeling that I was missing lots of the fun, joy and peace because I had too much on my mind with planning, purchasing, wrapping, etc., etc., etc. I have a fairly large family and spinal issues that make shopping, standing and wrapping very difficult.  This plan makes it easier for me in every way.   I hope it benefits you, as well.

Please remember to scout around the navigation bar at www.familytreequest.com for family-strengthening, out-of-the-ordinary gift ideas.  Let’s take every opportunity to strengthen lives in THIS generation and provide fun traditions and safe and secure homes--physically and emotionally.

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Feel Free to link to this article. For comments or questions, contact Family Tree Gal, Carolyn at admin@familytreequest.com

Family Tree Gal, Carolyn Murphy, owner of www.familytreequest.com, is committed to igniting a sense of extraordinary family purpose in individuals. She helps others discover their "roots" as well as strengthen the "branches" of their own family tree. She is especially encouraging to those who have had extreme stress, sorrow or dysfunction in their family line.  Visit some of her other sites:  Family Tree Gal Blog, Family Tree Quest Blog JOURNALriffic Blog, Twitter, Facebook.

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