Monday, November 23, 2009

Playing Santa Claus

Bill watched Katie this afternoon while I finished up Christmas shopping for her presents. They seemed to have an awesome time together, and Katie still wanted to be his buddy even when I returned. I had so much fun picking out gifts for her!

These are leaner times for us, mainly because I am not working. Fortunately we seem to have everything that is important in abundance and want for nothing significant. I mean, it's not like I can go out and buy a Starbucks everyday, and I don't buy clothes as much as I used to. We economize more on our weekly groceries, and we don't treat ourselves to as many concerts, dinners out, or weekend getaways as we used to. There have definitely been things we have traded in order for me to stay at home; we work within a budget. But we are right where we want to be, and what we have given up we do not miss. We planned and knew that we could support the three of us...and should life give one to us in these coming months, we know we could support one more child. Yet we are realistic about what we can and cannot do and we do economize.

I knew years ago that if I stayed home and didn't work, we would be on a budget. So I saved up some gift cards---for years. I knew I might want to use them to ride out a holiday and help offset cost.

So, I am very pleased to report that today, I bought about $250 worth of Christmas presents for $24.95. I spent about $100 at another store for Katie's Christmas, so added together, I have only spent $125 or so on our daughter's Christmas. The Lego set I bought today was $58.00 alone. Yet we were able to afford a set of tinker toys, a purse, wallet, puzzles, books, a robot, magnadoodle, stocking stuffers, and several other things. I am pleased because not only did I find many of the presents she was hoping for the most, but also the relatively little cash output was the direct result of careful advance planning and years of thinking---so we're actually going to come out more ahead this Christmas than we normally do, I think. That's a big relief, and I loved the challenge.

Katie has been really, really wanting a Thomas the Train Wooden Railway set. It is a little expensive to start it (you need a couple rail sets and some trains), but I was able to get a free water tower since I went to Toys R Us during a promotional, and I also got her the mine set so the trains have a destination. I am so excited for her to open it. She talks about wanting a train set almost everyday.

She was also very explicit: no Barbies this year, and no other dolls. She was clear about that. I asked her a few times, and she definitely doesn't. We looked through a toy catalogue together. Instead, she said she wanted a robot. She also wants an easel (which she is getting from Amie) and art supplies. She seems to want lots of arty stuff and things to build with on her list. She did also want a purse (check) and lip gloss and chapstick (check, check). I did go past the Barbie aisle and did pine a little (I loved my Barbies and still do), but maybe some other year.

I am so excited for Santa to come this year!! I also have the official "gift closet" this year, just like my mom had. I haven't had to worry about hiding the gifts so well before, but Katie is so alert right now that I am trying to keep it all a big surprise. I have always wanted to be a mommy and to have fun Christmas shopping and writing letters to Santa...and it is all coming true just like I hoped...

I love my husband and our daughter so much... This is going to be a magical Christmas season for us! I have been busy prepping crafts this week (we're starting the weekend strong with making our paper chain, and we also have a Dear Santa letter planned, and we're going to make "reindeer food"...we also have our gingerbread house to do, plus several other crafts). Like I've said, I've always waited until December 1 or later to start my Christmas season, but this year, the day after Thanksgiving is fair game. We begin on Friday!