Perhaps the way we do Christmas might now be a lot different had I known how our family would grow. When there were only two children, each child would receive a gift from the parents and another gift from the sibling.
Two gifts per child.
That was okay.
Then the third child was born and each child would receive a gift from the parents and a gift from each sibling.
Three gifts per child.
Then the fourth child was born and each child would receive a gift from the parents and a gift from each sibling.
Four gifts per child.
Four children equals 16 gifts for the children alone.
Fast forward over the years and when you have 13 children you are looking at a gift from each of the 12 siblings as well as a gift from the parents. That totals 169 gifts to buy, wrap and give.
Just for our children.
Wrapping takes forever and keeping track is, quite frankly, an Olympic event.
Now, before you all faint at the assumed expense, let me jump in to say that they aren’t all expensive gifts at all. Some of them, such as colouring books and pencils cost mere pennies but are well appreciated. What child doesn’t love colouring, after all? Christmas for the whole family, including the food, normally costs in the region of £2000 in total which isn’t bad for 16 of us, I don’t think.
Whilst the expense of Christmas is well under control, the actual logistics is another matter completely. I do ask that Christmas wish lists are handed in by the end of October and whilst it gives me some ideas, I have to take into account that each list will undergo more edits than an unpolished best seller written on the back of a matchbox. Things have also taken a more complicated turn now that the older three are responsible for their own Christmas shopping. My role of paying and providing gifts for their siblings has pleasingly become redundant, and I have now been promoted to the post of ‘Christmas Gift Facilitator’. My duties include collating all Christmas lists, dealing with the enquiries of who is requesting what, updating lists as siblings each buy and report on their Christmas shopping progress and reallocating the wish lists accordingly. It is a precision task undertaken aided by my beloved spreadsheets and notes written on my mobile phone. And sometimes it still results in too many gifts for one child or another or duplicates because there is only so much my brain can deal with.
As our family is only going to grow as the children get older, I need to find ways to hone my organisational skills. And here is how:
Use online wish lists
As devoted as I am to my Excel spreadsheets, I feel that we must now move further into the digital age by setting up an online Christmas wish list. Everyone in the family can add their requests onto the gift list under their name and we can then set up all the siblings to have access each other’s lists. As each person purchases one of the gifts on someone else’s list, it will be shown as claimed, so avoiding the risk of duplicates being bought. An online Christmas wish list creator like giftYou also allows you to enter your interests, your clothes size and your favourite stores so that people can choose the perfect gift for you that you might not have thought of yourself. No longer will I need to act as a central co-ordinator and be responsible for too many gifts or doubling up due to forgetting to update my records and consequently giving out the wrong information – hoorah!
Check gifts as soon as they are delivered
Buying gifts online is undoubtedly a godsend for someone that dislikes crowds at the best of times, saving the hassle of traipsing around packed stores trying to find the ideal gifts as you become more and more agitated. Ordering well in advance gives you the opportunity to check deliveries as they arrive, giving you time to return and replace anything that might be broken, incorrectly sent or faulty.
I am quite bad when it comes to keeping receipts neatly stored which is quite a pain on the odd occasion something needs to be returned or exchanged for whatever reason. Next year, I will do better…
I have learnt not to allow the gifts to pile up resulting in my locking myself for two or three days right before the big day in an effort to get them all wrapped in time. As a result, the first few presents would be neatly and lovingly wrapped. The final gifts would be haphazardly covered and taped. Wrapping them as you buy and check not only means you won’t be drowned under a festive pile-up but you won’t have it hanging about on your to-do list until the last minute.
Keep a note of last posting dates
If you have gifts that need posting, do make a note of the last posting dates, especially if you need to post cards and parcels overseas. You can find the latest information on them here but do keep aware of any action or weather conditions which may affect deliveries.