Let's Get This Started

Ok, maybe Impish has your attention, and maybe you are seriously considering inviting her to your house this Christmastime… Now what?!  Whether you are a super crafty Pinterest-surfing momma, or you struggle to create time for yourself, let alone an elaborate Christmas gift-giving tradition, I PROMISE, Impish and her antics are for you.  So, let’s get started!  In her first book, we meet Impish, Santa’s gift-wrapping elf who struggles to see joy in the drab repetitiveness of her job.  To lighten the mood, she implements her first theme: matching a Christmas ornament in a child’s stocking to the gift-wrapping paper she uses for that child’s gifts.  What does this mean for Santa’s helper?

  1.  Hit Walmart, Target, or for Prime-a-holics, scour Amazon and find gift wrap that your little (OR BIG) kiddo will love.  There are no rules.  Find it, love it, buy it, HIDE IT!  *YOU MUST FIND A DIFFERENT PRINT FOR EACH RECIPIENT.*
  2.  This step is purely extra credit bonus point material.  Keep your eyes out for other gift wrapping, gift bags, ribbons, bows, etc. that are similar or related to your original gift-wrapping picks.  For example, if you originally chose a girl’s Cinderella gift wrap, you may find other Disney princess gift wrap, bows printed with tiaras, or glass slippers printed on a gift bag. Maybe you add sparkling tissue paper or small wands as present-topper tie-0ns. This is a no-pressure step.  Once you have decided upon a wrapping paper, I promise your eyes will be automatically drawn to all sorts of related accessories as you pass through dollar stores, craft shops, or even online surfing.  The beauty is, this is all metaphorical icing.  If you lack the creativity, time, or desire, SKIP IT!
  3. Next, peruse the aisles of your go-to shopping destination and find a Christmas ornament that is directly related to your gift-wrapping paper.  In the aforementioned example, a Cinderella ornament, a glass slipper ornament, a Disney castle.  If you struggle, shop online.  If you continue to struggle, get creative. One year Santa had to use a small stuffed animal instead of a Christmas ornament when none could be found to match.  A snow globe, a pair of socks, a character toothbrush… have fun with it; all that matters is that it is a match to the paper.
  4. WRAP and STOCKING STUFF!  Remember, Impish leaves no names, no tags, no labels… just presents wrapped under the tree. She doesn’t even leave instructions.  She simply watches as children and families work together to creatively problem-solve the mystery that is unfolding in front of them.  She has expertly left the matching Christmas ornaments hanging prominently from stockings.  Will someone soon see the connection? She can leave her first book, Impish the Christmas Elf!  Read it and enjoy it together!
  5. WAIT, WHAT IF… I have a big kid? I have a boy who doesn’t do frilly princess stuff? I don’t have the extra cash for this stuff?… BREATHE.  My babes are ages 20 – 2.  I have two BIG BOYS and six girls. We have tomboys, divas, and princesses. And, with eight kiddos, you can guess there’s always a budget.  I assure you Impish is for every age.  What does your little guy like?  Always start with the wrapping paper.  Sift through the boxes of wrap at the store and find his favorite cartoon character, a hobby, an inside joke. Something will speak to you.  And, big boys… look for gift wrap in unsuspecting places.  I have found some amazing stuff at Dick’s Sporting Goods: camouflage for my Air Force Cadet, sports-themed paper, buffalo checked plaids… fun stuff.  And, if you can’t find an ornament at Hobby Lobby to fit your theme, it is possible it doesn’t exist!  If you have chosen a pattern such as polk-a-dots, get a circular emoji ornament.  Camo? Pick any armed services symbol, a fighter jet (in the case of our USAFA guy), or even an American flag. And, here are some budget-conscious tricks:  Start early.  Stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels have amazing coupons and frequent 40% (and higher) discounts.  Use them.  Next, skip the shipping charges if you can.  Use Prime or shop locally, places you already go. Don’t forget discount dollar stores.  They are a wealth of inexpensive holiday treasures.  Oriental Trading Company has great stuff too.  It is inexpensive, but be sure to use a free-shipping promo code.  Better yet, find a couple other parents who can split the order with you. Most Oriental Trading Company ornaments come in sets that can be split amongst a number of families.  And, it’s late this year, but my number one trick?… SHOP DECEMBER 26th!  Yep, hit the stores the days immediately following Christmas to get those 50%, 75%, and even 90% deep discounts on all your next-year’s needs!  Stash it away to rediscover next year!
  6. Just ENJOY!  It is amazing the same gifts under the tree will receive twice the attention, twice the appreciation when Impish has displayed her handiwork.  SOAK it all up, and embrace the tradition.  Some of our funniest memories are those in which a family member incorrectly guesses a particular clue and a boy accidentally opens one of his sister’s gifts: a pair of pink undies.  It can happen.  I encourage you to take your time and open just one gift at a time.  At our house, the youngest goes first.  We all watch and give attention to that recipient for his or her special turn while we anxiously await ours.  The magic can last all morning!
  7. SHARE YOUR MAGIC WITH ME!  I cannot wait to see what Impish has done for you!