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I need help. I need help with simple holiday tasks, like sending cards and packages on time, and not letting the whole emotional content of THE HOLIDAYS overwhelm me.

Here's an example: my baby niece was born in October. We couldn't afford to visit in November as planned. (I'm feeling ashamed and anxious about money as a result. I mean, and also because we're broke.) I bought books for both nieces *weeks* ago but am only sending them today. I bought a baby gift after much agonizing about how I should get one from Etsy, I should make something, it should be special, I'm so broke... spiral, spiral, spiral. I found some Robeez on clearance (lovely, gender neutral, I know SIL will love them) and picked up a nice outfit to match and so finally I could get that all out the door today. It was only luck that I had a box and packing tape, though, which I had to buy to finally mail a box to a friend whose baby was born in August! (spiral, spiral....)

The key thing seems to be the actual boxing up. Once it's in a box I can get myself to the post office ok, I just can't seem to go from "have gift in bag from store" to "have gift in box, wrapped and ready to mail."

Every time I'm late with anything, ever, I get these huge feelings of anxiety and shame and with family it's especially bad since I am assigned the role of screw-up younger sibling and I hate it and being late seems to me to reinforce that. (I'm not a screw-up, mostly, I just play one at all the family gatherings.)

So, honestly, what can I do to help myself here? Where do you keep shipping boxes? Do you have a secret stash of tape and sharpies that you only use in the dark of night so the kids won't take them? How do you divide your feelings about the task from the task itself and finish the freaking job at hand??

Help me?
 

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I keep (good) boxes on hand. When we moved, we broke down all of our boxes and they're kept in the garage along with any other sturdy boxes we may get. We have packing tape (leftover from the move) so if we need a box, we just pop it back into place and tape it up. As for Sharpies, I have a ton. They're kept with my art supplies. If you can, keep it in the garage. Boxes, tape, heavy scissors and Sharpies. It's so much easier when it's all easy and accessible.

Good luck and you're doing great! No more spiralling (though your post did have me laughing).
 

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The main issue to me that stands out is decision-making. It sounds like you have a lot of ambivalence about the items that you are planning to send, and you are worried whether they are good enough since you don't have a lot of money to spend, etc, and this is a large factor in your mailing hesistation...

I try to store shipping stuff with gift wrap stuff. I don't keep a lot of boxes on hand typically, but I do a lot of shopping online so at this time of year I have a wide selection of shipping boxes to choose from.

FWIW, I shipped my holiday packages this morning. I wait to ship not only because I procrastinate, but because for some people like my grandmother, my package is the only one she is expecting and she opens everything right away.

For wedding and baby gifts, I think you have a year to send gifts anyway.
 

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Im no help either, Im just like this. I still have something I got for my brother when I moved out here, a year and a half ago. I keep saying Ill pack it up and ship it off but I never do. My BIL is in Iraq right now and I still haven't sent him a care package (or even a letter, I do occasionally e-mail though). Oh and the other day I found the professional family pictures we had done right after my DD's first birthday. She turns two next month and we have another baby now, OOPS.
To me though it just is such a hassle at times and, for my family at least, not appreciated at all. My Dad doesnt even call to tell me he got the package when I do send one so sometimes I feel like why bother.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Penelope View Post
I need help. I need help with simple holiday tasks, like sending cards and packages on time, and not letting the whole emotional content of THE HOLIDAYS overwhelm me.

Here's an example: my baby niece was born in October. We couldn't afford to visit in November as planned. (I'm feeling ashamed and anxious about money as a result. I mean, and also because we're broke.) I bought books for both nieces *weeks* ago but am only sending them today. I bought a baby gift after much agonizing about how I should get one from Etsy, I should make something, it should be special, I'm so broke... spiral, spiral, spiral. I found some Robeez on clearance (lovely, gender neutral, I know SIL will love them) and picked up a nice outfit to match and so finally I could get that all out the door today. It was only luck that I had a box and packing tape, though, which I had to buy to finally mail a box to a friend whose baby was born in August! (spiral, spiral....)

The key thing seems to be the actual boxing up. Once it's in a box I can get myself to the post office ok, I just can't seem to go from "have gift in bag from store" to "have gift in box, wrapped and ready to mail."

Every time I'm late with anything, ever, I get these huge feelings of anxiety and shame and with family it's especially bad since I am assigned the role of screw-up younger sibling and I hate it and being late seems to me to reinforce that. (I'm not a screw-up, mostly, I just play one at all the family gatherings.)

So, honestly, what can I do to help myself here? Where do you keep shipping boxes? Do you have a secret stash of tape and sharpies that you only use in the dark of night so the kids won't take them? How do you divide your feelings about the task from the task itself and finish the freaking job at hand??

Help me?

Ease up on yourself!!!!!!! Are you that hard on people who send you cards and gifts???????? If they arrive after Christmas, do you judge them so harshly???

I hear you that you want to get over this hurdle, but, reality check, it's OKAY if you send gifts late or not at all. It really is. Call them and tell them you love them.

Okay, now a practical tip - only buy things that don't require an extra box to send. I take a brown paper shopping bag, cut it open, turn it inside out (if there is print on the outside of the bag) and wrap with that packing tape and sharpie that I have stashed next to my address book (off limits for the kids). You can wrap soft items this way (that won't get damaged by the post office) like the Robeeze or books. Don't buy gifts that can't be wrapped in a brown paper bag and you will never need a box for gifts again!

 

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I recently read a book that addessed this type of situation. It's called the "Feeling Good Handbook" by David Burns. They have a specific chapter about procrastination, why we do it, and how to change it. It is a really good book about how the way we feel effects our behavior. I think it might help you figure out why these situations are tough for you & how to change your thinking patterns so that you can accomplish what you want, while feeling better about yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by mamasee View Post
Ease up on yourself!!!!!!! Are you that hard on people who send you cards and gifts???????? If they arrive after Christmas, do you judge them so harshly???

I hear you that you want to get over this hurdle, but, reality check, it's OKAY if you send gifts late or not at all. It really is. Call them and tell them you love them.


Thank you. No, of course I'm not as harsh with other people as I am with myself! I have *reasonable* standards for other people.


:

These are all great tips. I do have a storage spot in the basement where I could gather mama-specific packing and wrapping items. I just never think to do that, and then I can't find the tape, and pretty soon I'm all tangled up in my anxiety. I have plenty of tissue and wrapping paper, and I usually make gift tags, so it sounds like I need to designate a spot to put potential shipping boxes for reuse.
 

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We do errands 2 days a week, so I work out which day would get things there in time, and be sure to have the package contents ready to go by then. I save boxes from things I get in the mail but if I have nothing the right size I'll just buy a box at the post office and package it up there while DH watches the child.

I've been depressed off an on that we have no money to give decent gifts to people, but I made some food gifts and felt ornaments for everybody and sent those, so at least they have something from us.

I guess I just decide I'm going to turn out on top of things in time and I do, no matter how the end product turns out. It's hectic getting there.
 

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Depending on your budget, I've found the one-rate usps boxes a godsend for shipping things. Put in gift, pad with leftover plastic bags and then do the postage kiosk at 11pm. It's not the cheapest if you are shipping light/small items, but you can really shove the box full if you need to.

BTW, they work great for care packages for military overseas.
 

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Yes, I *do* have a secret stash of sharpies and tape! My dds go through tape like it's air.

Here's what *I* do, anal creature that I am. I keep extra shirt & bathrobe boxes, as well as gift bags that are re-usable, in one large bin (I save a few every xmas, based on the sizes I am low on). I have 3 of those "wrapping paper centers" -- one with holiday paper, one with adult papers (wedding & birthday), and one with kid papers (baby showers, infant gifts, and birthday). Scotch tape, packing tape, scissors, ribbons, bows, white tissue paper, wide-tip sharpies, fine-point sharpies, and gift tags for all occasions are all kept in ziplock baggies in one big bin. (I buy huge spools of ribbons from places like the Party Store in basic colors, so I always have a color that will work.) I have one cardboard box holding a variety of other, broken-down cardboard boxes. Everything is stored in the same corner of the basement. Gift-wrapping gets done in the evenings, while I'm watching tv. My husband takes the packages to the post office on his way to work the next morning; we put the package to be mailed on the front seat of his car.

For holiday gifts and cards, I have a Holidays folder on my computer with several files that I edit them from year-to-year, as needed. One for card address labels, one for return address labels, and a third for address and return address labels done up in a large font size (actually printed on regular paper and packing-taped to the boxes), for the gifts that get mailed every year. (I keep copies of my holiday recipes, our holiday budget and lists of gift ideas, gifts purchased, etc. in here, too!)

It did take us a few years to come up with this system, btw, and there are still times when I feel oddly compelled to attempt the post office run on my own. Inevitably, dh ends up confiscating the package from me and going on his own. Other errands, I can always get to. The post office is next to impossible.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by bender View Post

BTW, they work great for care packages for military overseas.
Just so everyone knows, theres a reduce rate box you can get for shipping to FPO/APO addresses. If anyone is interested I can pull up the link off of USPS page. My MIL just bought a ton to send stuff to us and my BIL (hes in Iraq right now)
 
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