Okay, Christmas went from manageable to totally out of control in one day. Eloise was quite a trooper and accompanied me on a shopping excursion this morning. We got almost every last thing we needed to buy, so that was good. Tonight I finished up some last minute photo gifts I had spent literally hours working on so that those could be shipped in time for the holidays, as well. I get this bright idea in my head that it is a great, relatively inexpensive thing to create photo gifts (calendars and photo books, to be exact), but I'm not too bright like that. Besides the time involved, it ends up being a pretty pricey endeavor. We've already spent a good chunk of money sending things from Shutterfly.com (yeah, you're welcome, Shutterfly!). I started realizing that after we're done shipping all of the gifts this year, well, let's just say groceries might be slim for the month of January. It's truly, truly mind-boggling how much everything ends up costing. Luckily, due to my faulty budgeting, Matt got a paycheck this month that wasn't allocated to anything specifically in our budget. Pretty much every penny of it is going to Christmas, I swear.
Okay, I feel like a Scrooge. Every year I have these grand illusions that Christmas won't break the bank and I won't feel guilty about what we "owe" people and I'll get Iris to hand make cool things to send to everyone and have them all done before Thanksgiving and get them out in the mail flawlessly (and inexpensively!). Hmmm, no. Not so much. I don't want to be a Scrooge. I want to enjoy buying and giving gifts, and I do, in theory, but when I think about the craziness of it all, it gets to me. I spent a huge amount of time dealing with our Christmas cards. First there was the taking of the pictures, then there was the time spent on Shutterfly putting them in to a cute card. Then the time spent on Costco's website creating a new card because they were half the price of Shutterfly. Then the trip way across town to pick up said cards. Then there was the time spent making a new card on the computer (if you're keeping track, that's THREE times I made the damn card!) and the trip back again because the first set of cards weren't edited correctly and Iris had one red eye in the photo. Then there was the time spent driving to the post office and purchasing special holiday stamps. Of course, there was the time spent gathering addresses, addressing and stamping envelopes and finally stuffing them so they can be off in the mail tomorrow. Phew! A huge amount of time (and money, I might add) just for the cards. Now I understand why my sister swears to me every year they aren't doing Christmas cards.
Next year is my year. I will have a better plan, I swear. I will dub it the year of the frugal and we won't do this again. The only thing done right this year is that I really did start buying some things in July and finished the girl's shopping by October. Everything else is being done last-minute, but the girls were taken care of!
I am sure come Christmas morning it will all be worth it. I do love this time of year. It makes me really sad to not be with my extended family, but maybe by next year we'll be relocated and will have a big family with lots of kids to celebrate with.