Decluttering Christmas

For the first time ever I’m doing away with the polite “oh, you don’t have to get us anything” because that doesn’t actually mean anything. We have a fairly definitive list of things we would like across varying budgets and we are letting people know. It’s mostly stuff that we need, things that will make our lives that much easier.

This year we have decided to take the “stuff” out of Christmas. I find myself getting stressed about Christmas earlier and earlier every year. Partly because of the shopping we feel pressured to engage in and partly because of the inevitable bombardment of…stuff.

We have enough stuff and I have enough stress so this year we just aren’t doing it. 

For the first time ever I’m doing away with the polite “oh, you don’t have to get us anything” because that doesn’t actually mean anything. We have a fairly definitive list of things we would like across varying budgets and we are letting people know. It’s mostly stuff that we need, things that will make our lives that much easier. Things like stock pots and storage boxes for us, swimming lessons and tickets for our 3 year old.

We have warned people that if they don’t tell us something they want they won’t get anything, because we are done buying gifts for the sake of gifting.

Gift wrap is out the window, if I don’t already have it I’m not buying it. I’ll wrap in fabric or use Christmas stamps on brown boxes to pretty them up.

Certain things we’ve had a lot of over the last few years, we’ve  gently asked not to have more because we are still enjoying the ones we have! This includes framed images and wall art – our house is cast concrete and it takes hours to drill into the walls to hang things. T-shirts are taking over, my husband gets 2 or 3 each year and they don’t wear out that quickly. Alcohol is a classic – we actually bought our own wedding bar, we still have the leftovers stashed away and at the last count, we had 7 bottles of Jack Daniels. We aren’t big drinkers at all so we imagine this will last us forever.

We also encourage second hand purchases – some of the best toys, clothes and gadgets we have came from charity shops (they just don’t make things like they used to!), give me 20 year old Brio trains and  Duplo any day!

Santa will make an appearance with a couple of hardy wooden toys and some clothes and then we will focus on spending the day in togetherness with good food and family. I am so excited.

Now, before anyone says I’m ungrateful or entitled, I hear ya. I’ve been tormenting myself over this since July because it isn’t the “done thing”. My friends and family understand my situation, I’m sure there will still be some little token gifts that I will love anyway, I’m just taking the stress and the guess work out of the festive season because I need to start enjoying Christmas again.

Are you bucking any trends this year?

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Ideas for your Paper Anniversary

Mine and Jamie’s first wedding anniversary has been and gone (I had planned on publishing this on the anniversary but I’ve become a bit unreliable with blog things lately as life is getting in the way!) and so I thought I would share the ideas I had before FINALLY deciding on my first anniversary gift to my darling husband.

I should say, I’m a bit cringy when it comes to these things. My Paper Anniversary means that the gift should be Paper too! But anyway… here are the gift ideas I came across on my search for the perfect present!

1. Tickets

More often than not after having kids, you don’t really get the time to have a good old night out with your significant other. So… the FIRST thing I considered was some kind of event ticket.

BUT I didn’t want to wait absolutely months for the event – Jamie is still not home yet from Afghanistan so we’ve missed our actual anniversary. With a bit more pre-planning I maybe could have found an event for when he came back, but there wasn’t really anything and the things I did find were still a little while away!

The gift(s) I did compile in the end incorporate theatre tickets, concert tickets, and other event tickets, so these have featured in our anniversary celebrations but not as a standalone gift!

2. Scrapbook

I wish I’d had more time to put something like this together, though in all honesty it would be more for me than Jamie! I’ve still yet to finish my bloody wedding scrapbook… that I started while I was planning the wedding!

If your other half would appreciate a scrapbook of memories from your first year, this is the perfect present to reminisce over your honeymoon and beyond.

3. Love letters

Again, I wish I’d had the time! I wanted to write 365 letters to Jamie for our next year together. However, being a military family this again presented issues as the whole one-a-day idea doesn’t work when he misses the first 9 or 10 days of our second year of marriage.

Plus, I’m good at being lovey dovey, but filling 365 letters or notes with lovey dovey stuff? Not sure even I could do that! 

4. Maps

I’ve seen these a lot on Pinterest! Maps pinpointing the place you met, the place you said ‘yes’, and the place you said ‘I do’. 

These are such a cute idea and I may well do this another time for us. You can frame the maps in a aperture photoframe and even decorate the frame yourself if you wanted to. It’s both a cute present and a lovely addition to your home decor!

5. Lyrics

I think Jamie would actually have really liked this one – using your first dance song as the inspiration, you can turn the lyrics into a piece of art for your loved one! Frame the lyrics on their own as a standalone piece, or write the lyrics onto a mount of your first dance photos… which brings me on to the next one!

6. Photos

Again the options are limitless for this – get your wedding photos printed and framed, or get a couples photoshoot of you holding a wedding photo.

Every year, book a photoshoot of you holding the picture from the year before! I would love to do this just to see how many photos of photos of ourselves we can get in the frame! It may take some convincing though to get Jamie to do a photoshoot… tactics, anyone?

7. A Diary Full of Dates

Last but not least, this is the present I’ve put together for my husband!

One event wasn’t enough, and I liked the idea of the love letters in having something to open/do every day. However every day wasn’t feasible, so my idea was to buy Jamie a 2019 diary. In the diary I have planned events for us at least once a month, and they completely range from romantic to trying to kill each other with paintballs.

Here are just a few of the events I’ve planned:

  • Weekend away in Belgium
  • Football match
  • Party Like Gatsby event in London
  • Theatre tickets
  • Cinema date
  • Dinner date
  • Paintballing
  • Day out at Hever Castle
I’ve even pencilled in my birthday, with a note that it’s his turn to plan a date for me!
For me, this was the perfect idea because I got to put a lot of effort into planning so many lovely things for us to do, and equally we will both reap the benefit of having regular date nights together having spent 7 months of our first year apart (not by choice!)
Have you got any other anniversary ideas for your Paper Anniversary? What’s worked well (or not so well) for you?

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ENDED: Perfect Puppets Giveaway – just in time for Christmas!

Here is your chance to win one of our favourite products from the fabulous Fiesta Crafts!
“Children who love story time will adore these hand and finger puppets which have been beautifully designed to spur on even the wildest of imaginations. Reflective of the key characters in two of our most treasured children’s stories, one large hand puppet plays a key character supported by a series of embroidered fabric finger puppets to make the retelling of these classic fun and fully interactive! Not only is it a great toy for individual play, it is also designed to encourage role playing with others – improving confidence and social / communication skills. The finger puppets can be stored in pockets on the hand puppet after play making it easy to keep the whole set together in one place.
Beautifully made and thoughtfully created, the hand puppet and finger puppet sets which will stimulate and entertain, encouraging children to retell classic stories in their own, unique way. Suitable from 3 years plus. RRP £25.”

 

Closes at Midnight on 30th November 2018