I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas lately. “But Jana, it’s only September!” Yes, but it’s never too early to get excited about twinkle lights and pine and presents!
More accurately, it’s never too early to budget for the magical gift-giving around twinkle lights and pine and presents. Most of the reason I’ve been thinking about Christmas is for purely practical reasons. We are on a pretty strict budget and I want to space out present-buying over the next couple months so December isn’t a face punch to our bank account. I’ve already bought about 5 gifts and once I figure out necessary expenses for September I’ll get another couple. I may be done by October!
The necessity for budgeting isn’t entirely grudge work, thank goodness, because I actually find the planning to be incredibly satisfying and enjoyable. I love thinking about people, thinking about what they love, and making a little plan for what to send them. Then of course, I love the actually giving of the gifts. It is definitely one of my expressive love languages. Good gift giving is a way to say “I see you, I care about what you love, and I chose this specifically with you in mind to make your life a little brighter.”
Another reason I need to start planning early is that I love planning homemade gifts every year. I’m not crafty, so this always takes the form of edible gifts. I love planning new homemade goodies to tuck into gift boxes, little things that help highlight the indulgences, rest, flavors, and full sense-uousness of the season. I’m a big ol’ epicurean sense-ual hedonist and believe all senses deserve to be treated to the joys of the season. Especially Christmas. There is ample deliciousness for all senses (the music! the lights! the food! the blankets! the scents!).
Every year I plan a new food or consumable item for friends and family. One year I sent toffee. One year I sent homemade vanilla extract. I’ve sent mulling spice kits for wine or apple cider, flavored popcorn kits, whiskey praline pecans, and biscotti, and every year packets of hot chocolate with candy canes stirrers find their way into a few boxes. This year I have a couple homemade edible gifts planned, and I’m ridiculously excited. Of course, I never give food gifts that aren’t something I would eat or drink with enthusiasm, so this effort requires that I try out any recipes a couple times prior to December… you know, for quality control. Ahem.
I have other thoughts about gift-giving, but my lifting session is coming to a close. Also, I should probably not overwhelm you with Christmas in September. So let this be a paean to the joy of planning, generosity, food, and love.