Summertime Christmas just happened in our house. This happened partly because I was out of “stay in place” ideas and partly because nothing cheers me up like Christmas. And couldn’t we all use a little cheer right now? I’m telling you — A little Will Ferrell in Elf and twinkling lights on my tree and I am smiling again. Cause smiling is my favorite!
To be honest, the “fun” of quarantine has worn off. We’ve all retreated to our corners; TikTok (daughter), Fortnite (son), job searching (mom) and the office (dad). Game nights are so last week and the dog is tired of his twice a day walks. I saw that Hallmark was celebrating Christmas in July and I thought, that’s it! So here is my attempt at the most un-intense, make it fun, summertime Christmas celebration. We really did have fun doing something so out of the norm! Read to the end to see how you can get a jump start on the real Christmas too!
If you hear anything, hear this. Today is about the good feels of Christmas spirit.
KEEP IT SIMPLE!
Setting the mood
I decided I wouldn’t take down any decor from storage. This was supposed to feel fun for a day and not turn into an arduous project. I was at a garage sale and found a small tree with lights for $5 so I bought that for our tree You could find a tree or some inexpensive decor at a thrift store too). I thought I would just donate it when we were done, but it’s growing on me and I might just need to keep it (because I need artificial Christmas tree #7 in my home)! The kids decorated it with paper chains. You could do pipe cleaners and beads, pictures the kids draw, garland made of their small toys or foil balls. Possibilities are endless — just keep it simple! Lights around your Fiddle-leaf plant works too!
Our Christmas pillows and blankets were handy so I didn’t mind pulling those out for a day. I put a cinnamon spice blend in the oil diffuser and turned the air conditioner down to keep the house a little chilly. Relax, it’s only for a day!
Alexa played Christmas music for us all afternoon. It’s crazy how those songs have such a soothing and joy-filling effect on us.
Whether we admit it or not, one of the defining characteristics of Christmas is gift giving (and getting). But remember, this is supposed to be simple! My kids LOVE opening stockings so I had the kids make their own out of paper and yarn the week before. I went complete Kindergarten project on them. Over their whining I explained that we couldn’t use the regular stockings because we were not taking anything out of storage.
So for gifts, I bought them a few small things. They got some school supplies, some of their favorite snacks and a book. This can be accomplished with a trip to the dollar store and a quick order on Target or Amazon. Do not stress over this! I wrapped big boxes of some “special treat” snacks. It just helped add to the fun and silliness of the day.
We opened presents and stockings when the kids got up. I wish they were smaller (aka do what I say) because we would have gone full Christmas-craft mode. Instead we baked cookies and made Christmas tree rice krispy treats, per their request. Then we snuggled up and watched Arthur Christmas with hot cocoa and our cookies. When Dad got home from work we had “Christmas” dinner. A rotisserie chicken, veggies and stuffing. I kept it simple, but wanted to feel a little traditional.
We then sat down and painted a Christmas scene on canvas together. We did this a few times in the early quarantine days and really loved it — you can read about it! I know this is something we would not make time for mid-December. Then we watched another movie together, with more cookies and treats, all by the glow of our little tree.
For ideas that fit your family, check your Pinterest board for all the things you’ve pinned with good intentions to do at the holidays, but never have time to do!
Jump start on Christmas
This season has brought a unique opportunity for me to look ahead instead of racing to the next immediate task. If you find yourself in the same position, think about how you can get ahead to ease your usual Christmas crazies.
Cards: What is that thing that every year you’re gonna do better; and then you don’t? For me, it’s cards. I can never decide if I want to send them. They are an extra expense, I can never find a good picture to use and they take time! But then I start getting everyone else’s and peer pressure/FOMO wins. So what if you made your cards today? At the very least, go organize your addresses. Print the labels so they are ready. Scroll through your summer vacation (or stay-cation) photos and pick one out now that works!!
Gifts: Which ones do you leave until the last minute? Your aunt across the country? Your dad who has everything? Your kid’s teachers? What if you started browsing for those gifts today? There are some great deals right now thanks to COVID and stores needing to move inventory. So many small businesses are struggling that some early shopping could be just the boost they need! Make a list of who you need to buy gifts for and keep it handy so when you find great deals, you know what you need. Now is a great time to order personalized things so that you aren’t crunched on time. Don’t forget about stockings stuffers too!
Some ideas and discounts:
23andMe DNA test – 10% off using this link
Wine fridge– Do you know somebody who’s had an uptick in wine consumption? This fridge is an excellent value based on price and reviews! Use your redcard to save an extra 5%.
Elevated Faith– Code JLEsparza15 for 15% off
Bookends– A clever gift for the book lover in your life!
Which Way USA Subscription Box by Highlights– Awesome subscription box for the kid who has everything!
My College Crate Subscription box– this is an awesome idea if you’ve got a kid away at college!
StitchFix– A not-so-subtle way to update your husband’s wardrobe- gift cards available!
Puravida Jewelry– Code JENESPARZA20 for 20% off
Purge: If you are a regular reader you know I bring this up a lot. Clearly I don’t like clutter. But now might be a good time to clear out the clothes you don’t need, the kitchen tools you don’t use, etc. The kids have probably grown six inches so go through those pants and long sleeves and donate them (or sell!) before the season turns cold. Earlier this season I wrote a whole post on cleaning your closet, if you are so inclined. But really, pack up what you don’t need to make room for the incoming. And back to your Pinterest board, take some time cleaning that out too. Deleting pins that your tastes or children have outgrown will make room for the ones you will (might) actually use!
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