I don't mind really. He was able to show up several times, and frankly I like seeing him in uniform. Merry Christmas to me ;)
The last few days could have been quite stressful, but I'm pretty sure this was the most relaxing Christmas I have ever had. By the time Christmas came, and dinner was prepared I seriously just sat back watching my kids play with their new toys.
Although I was annoyed the kids were in school until the 23rd, and most of the baking was done by me alone, I think having the kids in school this year allowed me so much more time to be prepared.
My Christmas list was finished in October, most of the presents found (via used sites) by November, and all of my shopping was complete by the first week of December...stockings and all.
It was great. That left me enough time for decorating, cookie baking, devotions and extra time to enjoy with the kids. We even fit in a dinner party and two date nights.
Here are a few things I did that work really really well:
1) I keep a Christmas/birthday list on my computer all year round. Anytime I go shopping or see a toy or have an idea for the kids I write it down. This saves my brain. This also allows me to know what kind of toys are out there.
2) By September/October I have a really good idea what the kids want/need. I start to search the net for the items and begin price comparing. I've also bought a few items throughout the year that I knew they would love.
3) I find what I can gently used, or homemade via etsy.com. I also price compare for weeks.
4) We save all year long for Christmas starting in January. This way it is not such a blow to our account.
5) I sell toys the kids have outgrown to help with the budget.
6) I don't go overboard. Each child gets 2 things just for themselves. The rest is for all the kids to play with together.
7) WE FOCUS ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT. We spend extra time together and I remember to enjoy the time we have together. This week is the best present. We are just going to hang out together in our pj's, play board games, build train tracks, and pray for more snow so we can test out our cross country skiis purchased on kijiji of course ;)
I hope you all had a merry Christmas. I certainly did.