'tis the season

It blows my mind that it is November already. Anyone else? It has been quite the eventful few weeks, since the last time I posted. Lots and lots of incredible things have happened to our little family that I absolutely cannot wait to share, but until I can do so I will catch you up on the things I can talk about.

Lets start with the fact that Christmas is NEXT month. I officially kicked off our season with the first Christmas gift purchase this week. My favorite part about the holidays is giving gifts to our loved ones, and hoping that they like what I picked out. Last year wasn't our greatest gift giving effort, you know with getting married three days later and all, so this year I am excited to give it my full attention. Being that most of the people that I am buying for read this blog, I won't be sharing all my ideas, but I can't wait to show you. Tackling the holidays for big families is super tough, and we aren't experts at it just yet but for you that are engaged or in serious relationships, I do have some advice for you- establish a game plan before the holidays get near. Once you have made a plan, stick to it. Also, it helps to let your family know the game plan way ahead of time so they can plan for you, or without you accordingly. Now for the Christmas budget, Sam and I have set an overall budget, and then an individual budget for each person and/or couple if they want a together gift. We try to make it even, but I am a competitive shopper and I like to find the lowest price on the items that I want for that person, which gives me a little wiggle room for each person. I also make a list for each and keep track of the exact amount spent for our overall budget. This helps me plan for Christmas each year. I like to try to start in November and be done by the first week or so of December so I beat the traffic. I am hoping it works out that way this year! Now Poor Sam didn't get so lucky when it comes to December. My birthday, Christmas and our anniversary is all in December so we have worked out a game plan as far as gifts go. He does my birthday, and we do each other Christmas gifts. But we set a limit. We have the same budget for each other. This can mean one big gift, or a few small ones. Our Christmas budget for each other is on the smaller side being we both have big families and we would rather save our money for them. We also are both very fortunate to be able to buy what we like/need during the year so we don't make our Christmas gifts that big of a deal. And for our anniversary we have decided to do a nice dinner and exchange cards. Mainly because earlier this year he redid my engagement ring as my anniversary gift, but we liked our arrangement so much that we are going to carry it over as long as possible. Each couple does it differently and what works for us might not work for everyone, but that's just a little inside our holiday game plan.

Lets move on, shall we? Since we are talking about Christmas I wanted to share with you some of our old and new traditions. Since we started dating we have always done each other a stocking along with our gifts, and I have to say I LOVE this tradition every year. Simple, fun, and cheap. Its always funny to see what Sam thinks I need in my stocking. The first year he gave me pencils and notepads along with some candy and other goodies. The more he gets to know me, the funnier they get. And for a new tradition we are starting- Christmas cards! I have been anxiously waiting to have my very own card with my little family on it and I am stoked that it is almost time for our first one! Wahoo! I hope that we can continue this every year and watch our family grow together.

And now a little flash back of our first few Christmas's:

Christmas Number 1- still a little unsure about this guy. hehe I kid!
Can't wait for four! What are some of your families holiday traditions and game plan?



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