My son asked for cash - he had a fairly large expense and wanted help with it so that was easy, but for everyone else I waited until I had my budget in one lump sum. Last Saturday I intentionally slept in-well, woke up at the normal time then went back for a nap by 7:30-but I got some extra rest. Then I woke up, downed more coffee and left the house by myself before 10am with the intention of not going home until I was done. To complicate matters- (if you remember) I resolved not to shop at Target, Walmart, Best Buy, ToysRUs- any of the retailers who opened for Black Friday either on Thanksgiving night or before 6am on Friday. That made it a little more challenging but I was committed. Well, by 4pm, all I had left was to stop at the dollar store to pick up holiday "tupperware" type containers for a portion of my craft project that needs to be separate. I made that last stop and when it was done it was as if a weight had lifted. I was tired, my muscles and joints were rebelling but I was satisfied with the work I had done. I took my time, I stopped for coffee on my way out and then for a protein smoothie half way through and really paced myself so I could get through it all in one fell swoop.
Another difference this year is wrapping. Gift bags have been my strategy in all of the years I have had RA and can be such a boon for us. The other thing I have done is to order online and have it shipped directly but my sister-in-law protested to wrapping all the gifts as they came in. So I decided that I would wrap- rather than using gift bags at least for the things I had to ship. I bought some cute paper for the kids and elegant paper for the grown ups and set to wrapping on Sunday morning. One thing I picked up was a little "cutter" for the wrapping paper. I cannot cut a straight line with scissors-and I am the first to admit it- and with my lack of hand control it ends up choppy anyway. Plus- you KNOW it hurts to use scissors after a while. Of course, after using this nifty little tool I realized that a coupon cutter would be just as effective. I put my television on and started clearing out the DVR and got into a groove. I would wrap a couple of things, stop for a break to rest my wrists and hands and then go back to it. Just before 3pm I had everything that needed to be shipped wrapped up and in paper grocery bags so I hopped in my car, went to work, boxed them all up and prepped them for shipping on Monday morning. I managed to get back just in time to watch the Patriot's game (yay football!). While I was putting together dinner I evaluated my hands and feet. I had been standing the whole time to wrap because I learned from my Rottie (who would instantly lay on the wrapping paper as soon as I opened it to cut) years ago that sitting on the floor wouldn't work with two curious dogs. I also knew that sitting on the floor would cause me to lean over more which would stress my already painful back so I was using my dining room table. Once dinner was going (home made beef/veggie/noodle soup) I decided to leave the gift bags upstairs in storage and keep on wrapping.
Well, I didn't finish until Monday night but when I was done I felt like the chick in this year's Target "Done" commercial. I danced around my table doing the "Done, Done---Done-Done-DONE" dance. :-D. All I have left to do now is to pack my clothes tonight, pack for the puppies tomorrow night and then load two boxes full of gifts (and 5 copper pipes- a part of my craft gift- thanks to @Riotkat for the idea) and all of our bags into the truck on Friday afternoon and head to my folks for the holiday weekend. I love this. I don't feel at all rushed, I managed to actually wrap all but the gifts for 2 "people" (one was a full gift bag for the pups- who just won't care and the other was my best friend for whom I used decorated gift boxes). I even wrapped Mom's gift for Dad (can't tell you what it is in case Dad reads this but I am pretty excited!) even though, ironically enough, I talked to Dad on one of my breaks and he said "you are worn out from work- don't wrap anything- just throw it in grocery bags, none of us will mind!" I even took my hubby's gifts to work and did a stealth job on his since he always figures out what I got him. It makes me so crazy that I was this|close to covering the whole wrapped gift in shipping tape so he couldn't peek.
The nice thing is that feeling this well prepared is that I can focus more on all of the work things I need to get done before we close on Friday for the long weekend. I am also not second guessing myself- which I do when I buy all year long-wondering if I forgot someone on my list, if I bought enough, if I am taking the easy way out by using gift bags- all of those things that stress me out about the holiday season. That is the key word right there- STRESS- and for the first time in a long time I just don't feel it in terms of the holiday.
I hope you all have a wonderful Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Yule or whatever holiday that you choose to celebrate this season. Next up- deciding what I want to do with my new year! See you next week!