Family Update, and Managing the Holidays

Our Family Christmas Card Photo

So since I wrote my last post about the sweet potato ravioli, we had a major snowstorm in October which wreaked havoc on the trees and knocked power out for days. My brother’s family (with their baby twins & adorable dog) moved in with us for a few days because we at least had a gas fireplace (for heat) and a gas stovetop to cook with. And since the power was out for days, we had no refrigeration and I wound up having to toss the rest of the sweet potato ravioli (sob).

So it’s been quite a time.

But now we’re back to normal, thank heavens, and I can’t believe it’s going to be Thanksgiving next week! This year, bucking all tradition, we’re celebrating the Chinese side of our family heritage, and going out to eat at the same Chinese restaurant where we celebrated our wedding banquet. The food will be amazing, if not quite traditional. It’s good when you have parents that are pretty much up for anything! 🙂

We’re also planning for Christmas. Now in our house, the kids are allowed to ask Santa for one large gift that costs around $100. Nothing bigger than that, and only one thing. We do give them smaller gifts as well, but they’re only allowed to ask for one thing. I make my kids write their letter to Santa in early November. Once I tell them it’s sent, they’re committed. Then they can enjoy the rest of the holiday season dreaming about their big gift, instead of constantly trying to make up their minds.

I also have this “thing” where I like to be done with my Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving. I HATE the crowds in the mall, and so do all my shopping online, with regular speed shipping, and then I can enjoy making memories with my kids during the holidays instead of battling for parking spaces. So pretty much everything has been ordered and is either here, or on its way. And that makes life a LOT easier.

I am doing the “Small Business Saturday” thing sponsored by American Express (although I’m not doing it the Saturday after Thanksgiving.) I am trying to purchase just about all of our gifts from small, local businesses and direct sellers, instead of big box stores. It’s a way that I can help jump start the economy. It all starts with small business.

So that’s pretty much our holiday season in a nutshell. How do you keep the stress of the holidays to a minimum? Would love to read your tips in the comments below!