Coffee Talk 12.13.20

Well, here we are. Christmas is less than two weeks away, and 2020 is on its way out. I’m not one to wish away time, but this is one year I won’t mind seeing in the rear view window.

I am *almost* finished with my holiday shopping. The kids are all done, and I have one more extended family member to buy for, but I know what I’m getting. Then there are just a few random things to pick up for friends and work colleagues… They are the hardest. At least the kids tell me what they want.

Am I the only one who gets stressed out by gift giving?

I’m not one of those people who has a knack for creative and thoughtful gifts. I might pay attention and notice when someone mentions something that would make a good gift idea, but I never remember to actually go back and get it and put it away for the next gift giving occasion.

And with so many people in the position to buy whatever they really want for themselves, it gets harder and harder to buy things that really please them. So often, it just feels like more stuff,  but money and gift cards feel impersonal, and experiences aren’t always possible as gifts.

I realize the irony, as I put out gift guides for every person imaginable as part of my job, but when it comes down to actually shopping for the people I love and care for, I often feel stuck.

Anyway, I’m headed to the mall this afternoon to see if I get inspired for those last few people on my list. When you don’t really know what you want to buy, I think it’s easier to get inspired when shopping in person. Plus, I’m hoping the decorations and music and some in-person shopping will get me in the Christmas spirit.

Now that work is winding down for the year, I’m trying to take some time to enjoy the season. I’ve been listening to Christmas music when I run, and we often have it playing in the house when we’re making dinner, so that’s been nice.

It’s unseasonably warm here right now, but we’re expecting a major snow event on Wednesday, and I’m here for it. I enjoyed running in these mild temps today, but I’m more than ready for a good snowfall. I just hope it’s not enough to take down power lines and all that. That’s really not how I want to close out 2020!

There’s one more photo shoot I need to fit in this week, and I quickly scrambled when I saw the weather forecast. I had everything ordered for a Wednesday delivery and was planning to shoot on Thursday, but I’m going to try to get everything I need at the mall today so we can shoot on Tuesday.

After that, all my contracts for December will be fulfilled, and I feel like things are finally starting to wind down. This season is always such a frenzy, no matter how hard I try to manage it better each year. I wish I knew of a better way.

I could really use a full-time assistant for the months of October — December, but I don’t really need that level of help the rest of the year, so I never act on it.

So many bloggers doing what I do have full-time help, but I can’t quite see how that would fit into our home office situation, especially with Covid restrictions and my entire family schooling and working from home right now. It’s a zoo around here, as it is. I can’t imagine adding a full-time in-house employee to the mix, so I keep on keeping on.

Thank goodness for Amy, my virtual assistant! She’s been working with me for a few years and helps with all the graphic collages, the email newsletter, compiling gift guides, moderating the facebook group, and more.

Just so you know, I am always the one writing comment and answering emails, and also the choosing products I feature. No one ever pretends to be me in any of my communications and content creation. But Amy does help with some admin tasks, and she’s a big help.

Well, I need to wrap this up! I hope you’re getting your holiday shopping buttoned up, or whatever other Christmas preparations you’re making, and if you celebrate Hanukkah, I hope you’re having a good week!

Let’s all try to take some downtime over the next few weeks and really enjoy the season for what it’s really all about… really soak in the peace and joy of the season.

Put on some music, put a fire in the fireplace, watch your favorite Christmas movies or make your favorite holiday cookies… whatever it is that makes you happy. And try to shut out the rest of the world and all its demands and disappointments.

For those of us who are believers, our hope is not in the things of this world, and there is no better time than now to remind ourselves of that. Have a restful and blessed Sunday!