Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I used to be big into scrap booking and paper crafts. Before I was an old married woman I made my own Christmas cards every year and many of my friends received hand crafted birthday cards. I admit it - I love paper and glue.

I stopped making Christmas cards my first Christmas as a newlywed. Three months into our marriage we were suddenly faced with a miscarriage and my husband's job loss, so hauling out the paper and glue didn't even hit my radar screen. The following years found us deep into job stress, juggling two families for holidays, moving into a new home, and eventually, Santa shopping for our first baby. I never got back to making holiday cards.

Eventually I gave up traditional scrap booking as well. Lugging my huge scrap booking suitcase on wheels out to the kitchen table while fending off the advances of the toddler just wasn't worth it. I moved to digital scrap booking and have never looked back. Occasionally I'll set up shop to make a gift tag for a birthday present or a thank you card for a thoughtful friend, but for the most part I only drag out the supplies once a year. And that time has finally arrived!

I found our first holiday season as parents very hectic. More presents to buy, more events to attend. We had to find time to squeeze in a visit to Santa and to attend our town's annual holiday parade. We wanted to take our new little man to see the lights at the zoo, and to the Families With Children From China Christmas party. We cried through his day care class singing "Jingle Bells" up on the church stage at the day care center's Christmas play. There were pictures of our new family to add to the Christmas cards and snowmen to make in the front yard. There was so much to do, and I didn't want to miss a moment of it. I had waited a very long time to share the magic of Christmas with my child and nothing was going to stop me from doing it all. Add in work holiday parties and get togethers with friends and I was one frazzled mommy before the season was finished.

The next year I started the season with a plan. And a planner. I sent my husband and son away for a few hours one Saturday morning and created a Holiday Planner. A simple wire bound journal, some holiday themed scrapbook paper, a few Christmas embellishments and some ribbon and I had a nifty little planner to see me through the holiday season. With tabs for "to do", "cards", "gift lists", "menus", "coupons", and "calendar" I have everything I need at my fingertips. Once a year my need to plan and organize meets my need to glue paper together. And it is awesome.

my big four and a half year old helped with the embellishments

gift pages to record gift ideas and pricing. I also use the gift pages to plan for and record donations, such as to the food pantry. I want my kids to share in the donation process so I have to plan for it!

the coupon tab has an envelope tied in to hold the coupons

So a few of my friends take some time out of their busy holiday schedules to get in some good natured mocking. Like maybe I have too much time on my hands. Working as a stay at home mom to two kids under five while job hunting and planning for the holidays keeps me plenty busy, thank you very much. But this once a year tradition, this creation of glue and paper and glittery additions makes me so happy. I am organized and we stay on budget. We don't miss toy sales. We make it to every holiday event  and our cards are mailed out, with cute photo of the kids, on time. Oh, and my little holiday planner makes me happy. Sitting down at the kitchen table with my holiday planner and a cup of coffee in my favorite holiday mug is a simple pleasure that I can enjoy no matter what else is going on in my life.

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