Life Updates & Holiday Shopping

 Hi friends. I hope you had an amazing weekend. It was super chilly and windy this weekend in Southern California, so we were super lazy and cozy (which really is different than our normal to be honest.) We had such a busy week with so much good news and excitement for our family, and I have been excited to share. First off, we found out last Monday morning that we are having another little girl! 

I am over the moon excited that Ella will have a little sister and I am already thinking names. Mia is at the top of my list, but we'll see if we change our minds as things get closer. Most importantly, our results on any genetic problems came back negative, so we are thrilled about that.

We were already on a high from that amazing news, and then we found out Tuesday that our offer was accepted on a house. It's in an amazing neighborhood with top notch schools for our girls, something that was really important to our family. It's a 3 bed 2 bath 1800 square foot home and is just perfect for our growing family. I can't wait till we close and can get inside and make it our own, as we have a few small renovations we want to make, but nothing major. My DREAM would be to spend Christmas in our first home, so fingers crossed everything works out. 

And now onto today's link up... Not Just a Mom- how I do holiday shopping.

If you haven't seen our posts before, they are lots of fun. 

January was our first link up, and we shared some introductions.
February we focused in on date nights.
March was all about self-care.
April was a time for cleaning routines, perfect for Spring.
May we shared our fitness routines. Side note, I don't have one so it's not worth reading about.
In June we shared fun facts about us.
July was all about how we do girl time (much needed, right?)
August was about back to school routines, which I skipped because my little one isn't in school yet.
September was all skincare & make up.
October we touched on getting crafty.

And today is all about how we do our holiday shopping! 

The first thing I do when I prepare for holiday shopping is making a list of everyone I want to shop for and what my budget is for their gift. I use this little notepad I got in the Target dollar bins, and I love that it helps keep me organized. I don't shop for that many people- usually just immediate family. I do try to leave money in my budget for holiday party gifts as well. Although this year, I don't think I will have to worry about that.

I try to start shopping early! I feel like when you wait closer to the holidays, you don't always get the best deals. I also try to shop local as much as I possibly can... but this can be tougher to do and stay on budget! I also try to think quality > quantity when buying gifts.

Michael and I keep it simple for each other and usually just exchange stockings. I LOVE getting a stocking and I almost never need a 'gift.' If I can think of something larger that I need or want, I tell him (vise versa.) But a stocking is a must... it's my favorite part of Christmas. It's nice not having to buy a lot for each other, it definitely makes shopping easier.

For my family in Maine, I have to be wise when buying gifts. I prefer to purchase the gifts in person, wrap them and then mail them. However, if the gift is larger in size, it can be cheaper to ship it directly. I haven't decided who is going to get a mailed gift or a gift delivered from the store. More often than not, I just ask my parents and siblings if they need something specific. I would rather get them a gift they need and like rather than getting them something I like for them, but they aren't really into. They all love gift cards to their favorite restaurants too, which makes my life easy! 

The most important thing to remember when shopping for the holidays is that Christmas is about so much more than gifts. It's about family, joy, togetherness, kindness, and spreading cheer. It's my favorite day of the year for so many reasons, gifts being nowhere near the top of the list. I can't wait for Christmas fun and I hope we're able to make this year special despite the ongoing pandemic.

Thanks for checking out our post today! We should be back on Friday with a recap of our week. 

-Ashley & Ella

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