{my simple} Christmas in July…

he is even drinking my PERFECT glass of iced tea!!!!   :)

he is even drinking my PERFECT glass of iced tea!!!! 🙂

Yes.  Believe it.  It feels like Christmas in July as with my family tradition, we have officially begun the Christmas season.  We drew names on the Fourth of July.  Let the FUN begin.  Anyone that knows my family, would undertand this is a HUGE undertaking.    🙂

So…..I would challenge each and every one of you to start thinking (and planning) now.    Look at Christmas in a way you might have never done before.

We had to make a list of each of our OWN  family members and what they “want” for Christmas gifts.  We had about 5 minutes to complete this “list”.  As I can not recall mine word for word, I am going to try to recreate it for my blog readers.

Kelli:   I want something that will continue to make my life SIMPLE.  I do not wish for you to spend your money  on me, nor do I want you to beat the malls looking for that “perfect” gift that I might someday outgrow, loose taste in or really have no need for.  I would rather you do something special WITH me and give of your time to make MEMORIES with me and for me.  If you have a cherished item in your home,  near and dear to your heart, that you know I might like…..you may gift it to me.  I will hold it closer to my heart than any store purchased gift, as it was something YOU also loved.

Honestly this was my “list”  and I could have gone on and on to explain my self, but I had 5 minutes, and a piece of scratch paper.    This is not word for word, but you get my drift.  Do I “need” another picture frame??  not really.  Do I “need”  another sweatshirt??  not really (although this IS my weakness, after I always “alter them”)  LOL  !!!   but honestly, I would love a nice lunch date with a sister, or go to a movie with my neices, or have a homemade FAVORITE meal from a family member, or even have a sister come over and help me decorate, spend the afternoon with me and move my furniture around with me.   I may eventually get rid of a picture frame purchased for me, but guaranteed I will never forget quality time spent or memories made with a loved one.  Never.  Those gifts are nothing short of  PRICELESS.

So.  In return, I also chose a name of a family member.  One of the things SHE wants is “A night of free babysitting, so I can go out with my husband”.   This family member has 4 children.  When I showed my son, his first response, was can we PLEASE give this gift to her???  awwww…… I was very proud.   Asking myself and my son.  Does she need a bottle of perfume?? or a night out with her husband, to have UNinterrupted conversation and a nice meal that she did not HAVE to prepare or do the dishes afterward??  something as simple as that, is a rarity when you have 4 children under the age of 8.

I did make a suggestion to do NO gifts and instead have a jar or memories.  Each person has to choose one and we get to all laugh, cry, and simply reminisce on Christmas Day about each family memory, tradition, or that specific person .  Another family member suggested a 100% homemade Christmas.  No need to be “crafty” to do this.  You can use your special talents…..even if that means baking your favorite batch of cookies to wrap and give to someone.  Everyone has a talent is SOME way.

But both our idea were more or less vetoed.  {darn}.  So we will all try to meet in the middle somewhere.   I know what I am doing.  I know what direction I am taking it and I have  pretty good feeling I will get the same “gift” in return.  One solely from the HEART.  Maybe one that does not even require wrapping paper.  I certainly hope so.

I once read that to feel a stress-free Christmas, you need to PRETEND you are going on a cruise on December 1st and returning home on December 24th.   If you were to REALLY do that, you would HAVE to have everything done before you leave.  It is called “cruising through the holidays”.  I did it a few years ago, and it was wonderful.   I “cruised” right through December.   Instead of shopping / wrapping / stressing.   Guess what I did???  I baked, I cooked, I entertained, I RELAXED and I enjoyed the season 110%  !!!!!!!  I had everything else DONE already.

Think about it soon.  It is right around the corner.


27 Responses to “{my simple} Christmas in July…”

  1. bejes Says:

    Oh man, this has me so excited for Christmas already!!!!!!! I love searching for “that perfect gift”. Even if it means at a garage sale find that is repurposed or doing something special for someone. I love wrapping gifts, even at the mall for people I don’t know. I love putting up the tree, and other people’s trees. I love baking and cooking. Ok, who wants to have Christmas NOW!!!??? You know, I could have the month of December wide open, maybe I should hire myself out 🙂

    • LaVonne Says:

      Kel, I am not sure who you are fooling—-a movie with your nieces??? You HATE to go to the movie, I have suggested it many times. Can’t see you enjoying that, but I am pleased with this post! I can not get to this level of thinking that you have, but I am much closer than I ever was. At least I have graduated to Gift Certificates, and those are much disposable, as they are usually restaurants. Now who wouldn’t love a FREE meal from their favorite restaurant? Yea, I thought so 🙂

      • simplyaltered Says:

        I would go to a movie if it were part of a gift. Would I do it on any evening as my chosen entertainment?? no.

    • LaVonne Says:

      Jess—-I love to hear of your excitement for Christmas—-you remind me so much of me in my earlier years. But after many years of searching for the perfect gift, only to see them not nearly as happy as I was, I have mellowed out alot. When I was a little kid, my grandparents had a store, and I used to take things off the shelf and wrap them, ‘just because’!! I used to really love wrapping, but not so much anymore. Thanks for your fresh outlook on the holidays, I’ll try and re-capture mine!!

    • Richard Pyatt Says:

      Of course, one of funest ways to celebrate is to give a “Christmas Gift” in July. I was thinking of this when I put together a collection of traditional Christmas favorites such as Oh Christmas Tree, White Christmas, and Christmas Waltz for my CD, “A Christmas Gift.”.
      And I thought at the same time, it may be as unusual as Christmas in July to include a dramatic and emotional rendering of two traditional songs of the Jewish faith, Eli, Eli and Kol Nidre, as a highlight on the CD as they are seldom performed in a secular music environment
      Although the legendary Johnny Mathis , pictured with me on my CD,, A Christ mas Gift is one of a few who in his 1958 album for Columbia, “Good Night Dear Lord,” brought his mellow sounds to the great Yom Kippur show-stopper “Kol Nidre” and Yiddish theater hit “Eli Eli”.
      In this context, one of the delights included on the CD is composer Al Petrone’s A Christmas Gift recorded a few years ago by among others, Julius La Rosa . The melody and sentiment created by former backup singers for the great Karen Carpenter on the CD turns July into a cold and warm cozy winter haven.
      Now to get in the mood for the fun ways to celebrate Christmas in July , first, of course play my CD in the background and then Play Christmas prty games from A to Z.
      Then Make Christmas decorations from plants, leaves, flowers, and twigs.
      Make and decorate your favorite Christmas cookies.
      Trim a live or artificial tree. Use one that’s growing in your yard, or find a nice tree branch without leaves and decorate that with flowers, natural ornaments or ribbons. Hang shells, starfish and fishing lures for ornaments if you want a tropical Christmas theme.
      Make a garland from paper decorations and string it up along your porch.
      Decorate the house or garden with your favorite Christmas lights and decorations. Try some wacky party lights for a summertime twist – perhaps red and green chili pepper lights for your Christmas in July decorations.
      Hang stockings for Santa to fill on July 24, or to fill with party favors.
      Play Christmas music, or have a Christmas carol sing-along.
      Make a treat-filled holiday pinata for the kids – pull-string style.
      Hand out Christmas coloring books and small packets of crayons – or fill stockings with these.
      And of course you’re playing a Christmas Gift Music ( remember?) and forgetting about the troubles of the world..

  2. simplyaltered Says:

    AWESOME!!!! and interesting you make mention of that. I have a job I would very likely hire you for (Christmas related) but you would have to do it before you go across the world again. (??)

  3. jesse Says:

    christmas=mac!, cookies, food, food, gifts, mac, no school 🙂 and possibly mexico?

    • simplyaltered Says:

      ok. A Mac IS one “gift” worth getting!!! then you can be a “mac snob” like the rest of us!!! yeah!!!

  4. ambjour Says:

    christmas in july??? kel, kel, kel, re-send this to me in october! LOL i do love your gift giving ideas though! i love christmas these days b/c i LOVE watching the excited eyes of my children. that’s better to me than any gift!!

    • simplyaltered Says:

      you have SURELY heard of the saying “Christmas in July???” it is not something I made up , I think the phrase comes from being July is the 1/2 way point in the year. 🙂

  5. BLT Says:

    Possessions are a burden…..
    Intangibles give us the greatest pleasure and last a lifetime…
    No dusting or maintenance required.

  6. Clara Dvorak Says:

    KKelly, I like the idea of making a memory with the person you chose or doing something for them. Since I have kids who live out of state and if they drew one of our names it would be nice if they would make a book of pictures of where they live and maybe what the city they live in is like. I kknow that most of my children probably won’t get out to Virginia to see Amanda but it would be nice to see the city that she lives in. Just one idea.
    Amanda could even go to the beach and pick up rocks for the kids even though we would only be doing this with the adults. I better stop and write Amanda because right now my mind is starting to run with ideas.

    • simplyaltered Says:

      That is perfect Clara!!! what fun for the kids to get a little piece of Aunt Amandas life far far away!!!!

  7. Tippy Says:

    Soooo, you have my name for Christmas, eh? I’ll start planning our night now! 🙂

    I also make sure to have all gifts bought, wrapped, etc before Thanksgiving. Then we just enjoy all the free entertainment during the month of December. ABC Family has a Christmas movie on every night, we love to bake, & one night we tuck the kids in bed only to wake them an hour later with hot chocolate & to go look at Christmas lights. That is their all time favorite & they make sure to remind us of it every year.
    And notice that these items are FREE!

    • simplyaltered Says:

      yeah, pretty much I had to give the secret away. NOW…..am I really up to babysitting 4 kids??? hmmmmmm……if not , maybe I can just scrapbook for you again, in my OWN home in silence. 🙂
      I love the tradition of waking the kids up for Christmas lights!!! even better that it is not a Santa related wake them up surprise!!!

  8. Mary Hartley Says:

    We made Christmas easy several years ago. We stopped doing all the gifts nobody wants and started just “being together”. Good memories.
    We buy some for the grandkids, but everyone else….no. We live in an age where everyone goes out and buys anything they want, so we do memories and a super meal.

    • simplyaltered Says:

      I love to hear that!! when I was growing up, Christmas was a fairly big deal, and back then, it was the ONLY time of the year we got surprises. Now, yes, if there is something you NEED, you usually get it. I so enjoy saving others the frustration of shopping for me, I know I am hard to BUY for as I really do not need or want too many things in life. I much more appreciate freeing up their time for better things!!! just leave me with heartwarming memories. 🙂

  9. kim aka machita Says:

    ikelli, i think you and i are from the same family!!!!!!!! talk about a stressful name drawing last week!!!!!!!!!!!! i had already bought Christmas gifts for ALL of my sisters only to find out last week that we arent buying for sisters this year! havent we bought for sisters the last 51 years that I KNOW OF? oh well “lets try something different this year”. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now my husbands family is a WHOLE different story. we have never ever ever bought for his siblings or their kids or their kids kids and we all get along GREAT. nobody is “keeping track”. the last 2 years we have taken his children to a motel or to cabin and we absolutly just love being together, eating,playing cards, just hangin out!!!!

    • simplyaltered Says:

      that is what you get for planning a little too far ahead. Bummer for you.
      I hear the cabin you went to last year was REALLY awesome. How did you come across that idea???

  10. Old Plow Woman Says:

    I love the simply idea of spending time together. A few years ago me & my husband decided for a year instead of buying gifts we would buy experiences, we went to TX wild hog hunting for him we stayed in a really nice hotel for me. We have been to Kansas City, Oklahoma city one time – lots of great fun. I must admit since I have started blogging with you my life has changed in leaps and bounds I think about spending time being at home. I have finished my first quilt, I quit my second job, and am planning on sewing some place mats and matching napkins for all of my grown nieces for the holiday. Not to mention I love being at home on Monday nights just watching tv with my little hubin. Thanks so much for all you do on your site.

    • simplyaltered Says:

      I love that….traveling and doing fun things INSTEAD of gift giving!!!
      I am SO flattered that I and my blog have made a difference for you!!! you have truely made all my effforts worth it ten fold with that compliment!!! So happy you were able to quit your second job. It can be done, you just have to make the necessary adjustments, which you probably needed to do anyway?? life will be much richer without all the other non-essential habits we might have!!!

  11. Lana Says:

    Kelli…I totally get it! All of it….I am all for not getting gifts and doing nice things for people or having the same done for me….like you said though…not everyone is on this bandwagon…and why not??? After literally spending two weeks straight trying to get prepared for my garage sale, I sometimes wonder if not wanting something that ends up in the garage sale later…or thinking that you got less than someone else, or you already have that..how could they…does this want…come from age…or just an understanding of where someone is…finally in their own life and they wish they could get everyone to just catch up? This is where I am. In all honestly after planning my garage sale on my birthday…I was so overwhelmed by the fact that all my friends and relatives..long lost employees even showed up to share cake and bring me a card and buy stuff all at the same time! Everyone being there to say hi and to visit…was the perfect gift….I am very lucky…anyone close to me knows…I want nothing…and if you must……..then give money to my Weim Rescue…lil’ pcs of a persons personality is so easy…as is giving someone something used that is dear to your heart…or theirs!
    The greatest gift sometimes is understanding and knowing…you don’t have to buy people you care about a single thing. Christmas…like every single day we are on this Earth…are our MEMORIES…yea granted if someone pays off my car or something I would be ellated…but the things we do for people, the time we spend with them…the memories we create with them are the gifts we leave behind when we are gone…not a DVD player, or sweater…probably! When we were little…we never had someone draw our names, we never went christmas shopping…mom didn’t have a dime…but we had fun. Us kids would make stuff for each other..no matter what we always had some silly tree..and that is possibly the reason today mom thinks she ….must buy things…THINGS…it satisfies her need…so I just drop it…and more than likely it goes to the garage sale.
    If everyone could just think on the same wave length…what a friendlier…less selfish place the world would be…and well lets not even talk about kids who get everything… Constantly one upping till they go broke, and end up with kids that don’t appreciate a thing…nor ever end up deep in the heart of Texas volunteering like your daughter or building schools in El Salvador like my son…Maybe someday we will convert more than we have so far…it’s easier to to do nice things all year long. Maybe it is easier for me…since our family rarely speaks during the holidays…;) something always seems to happen right before anyone has to buy anything…but with your large family the favors…the helping out, the bartering and fun ideas would be an endless list, to make Christmas in July….just early enough to get everyones creative juices flowing by the time the actual holiday even gets here!

    • simplyaltered Says:

      I am SO much in aggreance with this comment Lana, it nearly leaves me speechless!!! “some” might enjoy all the shopping and getting sucked into consumerism, but how many of these people like to rush and worry a week before the holidays, that not EVERYTHING on their list is done??? or they need to find just ONE MORE gift??? I am NOT one of them!!!!! I simply refuse to buy into all of that!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so glad you do too. Give memories. One size fits all. 🙂

  12. Kattee' Says:

    Well, I LOVE LOVE everything about Christmas!! It breaks my heart to hear someone bah humbug this holiday because of the special meaning of Christmas! Besides being with my family, my favorite part of Christmas is church, especially the Christmas Eve candlelight light service at CRC and it is a special gift to me to see family members (& my friends) there to join me! Please come – it will be a blessing to you too!

    • simplyaltered Says:

      no no no , don’t assume this means I am bah humbug. I am not. I could not agree with you more about seeing the REAL reason of Christmas, and it is certainly not in the gifts!!!! THAT is my only point here. To gt away from the “commercialism and consumerism” is exactly what I am after. Nothing more.
      I will be there on December 24 as it is the day I return from my “Christmas Cruise” 🙂

  13. The Perfect Gifts Are Personalized Gifts | Christian Jewelry Says:

    […] {my simple} Christmas in July… « Simply Altered […]

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