Sending your gifts now is basically a present to your future self.
She went down in pop culture history as the winner of season 17 of The Bachelor, and in 2014 Catherine Giudici became Catherine Lowe when she married her Bachelor, Sean Lowe, in a televised special.
She may be known for living out her love story on reality TV, but these days Catherine Lowe is living a reality many more of us can relate to: She's a working mama of two just trying to get ready for Christmas without getting overwhelmed.
"Obviously things can be really hectic," Lowe—mama to 2-year-old Samuel and 6-month-old Isaiah—tells Motherly. "But it's also a really special season and it's Isaiah's first Christmas, and I want to make sure that we are present and not super stressed about things."
The Lowes had enough stress in recent weeks as baby Isaiah was hospitalized for bronchiolitis last month. Thankfully, Isaiah is now in good health and Lowe is really looking forward to her first Christmas as a mother of two.
She opened up to Motherly about how she's making sure this Christmas is low-stress, and we're thinking about taking some tips out of her holiday playbook.
1. Send gifts with intention (and as soon as possible) even if they're not "perfect"
It's no surprise that a woman who loves stationery enough to make it her business (this #momboss owns her own luxury greeting card company, LoweCo) is big into gift-giving by mail. She feels there is a level of intention involved in sending physical packages that just isn't there when you email someone.
"We're all so digitally connected now it doesn't take a lot to send off that Merry Christmas text but it takes some effort to send them that lovely present in the mail," she tells Motherly.
And while she loves curating gift boxes for her far flung family members, she's not stressing herself out over finding "the perfect" gift for everyone on her list. Lowe says even if you're just getting everyone candles and gift cards, taking the time to write something meaningful in the card is actually more important than devoting a ton of time to shopping.
"Making sure that the words you're writing matter and making sure it's on time is the best gift you could give," she explains.
Lowe has already been sending presents and thoughtful cards by FedEx this holiday season, as her extended family is spread out all over the world. Getting her packages shipped early is a gift for her family and for her future self, as she won't spend the coming weeks stressing over whether things will arrive before the 25th.
2. Don't feel like you have to do everything this Christmas
Getting her presents and cards mailed on time is a high priority item on Lowe's holiday to-do list, but she's keeping the rest of that list reasonable by recognizing that there are some traditions the Lowes will get to later, and that's okay.
The Elf on the Shelf is a great example of this. With a toddler and a baby and a business needing her attention, Lowe says "we're gonna hold off another year for that." She says at 2, her oldest, Samuel, could be ready for the elf, but putting it off for one more year is allowing her to have a less stressful season and enjoy some simpler traditions with him as he is discovering the magic of Santa for the first time.
"The Santa thing is starting and I love that and I just think it's such an exciting time," she explains. "I want to make cookies with Samuel, and then do the whole 'bite in the cookie that Santa took' thing. I think he would be super surprised and really excited to know that Santa was in his house."
Lowe is all about finding the fun and balance this Christmas so that the season is magical without being overwhelming. "We want to make sure that every day is exciting and we're doing something holiday-centric so that they get just as excited as we do," she tells Motherly.
3. Consider spacing out the toys over the year
When your kids are as cute as Lowe's and your family as spread out, the month of December can see a tidal wave of toys flooding into your home as family members send presents. The mountain of new toys can feel a bit overwhelming (as any mama who has cleaned a post-Christmas playroom can attest), so Lowe is thinking about starting a tradition her sister-in-law turned her onto.
She says that while having a lot of gifts for the little guys is "a great problem to have" not all the new toys have to be available to the kids at once. So she's keeping some for later. Then they can be "surprised throughout the year with things that were given to them during the holiday season."