So the planning is in full swing, as I pull up my Exel document that I use to track Christmas spending. Over the next few weeks, we will sift through the more expensive activities on our list and put those on the calendar. The smaller activities like hot chocolate and churros while we walk down Candy Cane Lane, the cookies, the Gingerbread houses those come out of regular weekly expenses. The hardest part is the gifts.
My husband’s favorite Christmas movie is Santa Clause is Coming to Town, we watch it every week in December along with all the other classics, and because of that movie, the kids know Santa puts your gifts in the stockings, friends, and family set the presents under the tree. So the stockings are the easy part. They are filled with our favorite toys.
If you are the parent of a child over the age of 3, Imaginext is the jam! They have a line of DC Super Heroes, Power Rangers, Dinos, Pirates, Explorers, Sponge Bob, and Scooby-Doo. I mean come on, that’s all our favorites, right? We have a massive castle, a massive pirate ship, buckets of figures, and plenty of vehicles, but we can never get enough because the kids take these figures everywhere. These are the best stocking stuffers, we love them.
We try to do more gifts that are experiences rather than toys. So for us, that means things like memberships to the zoo, the natural history museum, or aquarium. Here some of the other non-toy gifts we have gotten and love.
You can never have enough books! Little Fun Club has the most fantastic selection of books. We have fallen in love with so many of the stories they have sent us. You can choose to purchase the monthly subscription or buy one of the adventure boxes. You won’t regret either one I promise!
Letting our 5-year-old touch raw chicken, and the mess that ensues as he breads it, makes my blood pressure rise, but that’s just me. It is worth the spike in my blood pressure to cook with them. When they engage in preparing their food, they are more willing to try new foods. The recipes and activities included in the monthly boxes were tasty and fun. The boys loved earning a new patch every month by cooking and trying the new meals they helped make. It also makes me feel good, my boys won’t be totally helpless when they eventually leave the house, they will know there way around the kitchen and I hope they will opt for real meals as opposed to Top Ramen and Hot Dogs.
I prefer to give gifts that are sentimental or practical that is my preference so my gifts tend to be tear jerkers or boring. Michael balances me out with all the fun and imaginative gifts. We have a couple toys under the tree, along with arts and crafts supplies, and my boring practical gifts. Here is a list of the possible gift under the tree gift options we have this year:
Our boys are close in age and have the same interests so their gifts are for both of them. They know that it may have one person’s name on it but they are expected to share. It is helpful in keeping down costs but time-consuming in managing disagreements. Through this whole process of Christmas shopping, I have so many other concerns on my mind. It is July and we have met our $8,000 out of pocket maximum because of all my medications, infusions, and appointments. We have to not only think about budgeting for Christmas we have to re-evaluate our budget for next year when the deductible resets, I use to take this for granted when I was healthy and only went to the doctors for my annual exams. There is no aspect of our lives that is not affected by my diseases, there is always something we have to adjust or consider because of it. I know many people are in that position, we all face challenges whether they are financial, health, or something else.
P.S. This is not a paid ad for any of the products or companies listed above, it is just my personal opinion of the products we have used.