Monday, November 12, 2007

The Madness is Underway.

I bought my first Christmas gift this weekend. I ran across a book on a subject in which my brother-in-law has a strong interest. It’s a very nice, very thick, sleek paged hardback book – and I got it on sale for what I’d estimate to be a fourth of its retail price.

I’m quite pleased with my find.

Truth be told, I’m beginning to really detest the holiday season in these later years. Not Christmas itself – I love Christmas. But the whole big production it’s become. I used to enjoy gift shopping, I really did. But it's just too much of a hassle now. Ya know? It's is an absolute crapshoot – everyone has everything, and getting suggestions (other than HDTV’s and things like that) is like getting blood from a turnip. I rarely see my nieces and nephews and really don’t know what they already have, so toy shopping is a grope in the dark. Then there’s always the gnawing feeling that we haven’t gotten enough. Then there's the increasingly impossible task of finding something for everyone else that reflects a remote air of thoughtfulness on your part (I've never cared for taking the route of generic gifts - I always try to find something special. A huge contributor to my stress level, but it's all part of my OCD. I can't help it.)

My family discontinued gift exchanging amongst adults many years ago. We still buy for the youngsters, but not having to deal with everyone else made the holidays much more enjoyable. We could let go of the stress of trying to find so many gifts and simply enjoy the season as meant to be. Gathering together, seeing the children’s joy with their gifts, enjoying a meal and sharing the special warmth and love of family is where the true magic of Christmas lies. Hub and I have tried to suggest this system to his family, but it’s never been accepted. So each year, we are still struggling to find gifts for those that have no suggestions for us and already have everything they want and need.

All I can say is, “UGH!”.

I know I sound totally selfish, not to mention very un-American, and believe me I know what a huge impact non-gifting would have on our economy. I don’t want stores to finish in the red, and I don’t want people to lose their jobs. But just think about how much nicer the holiday season would be, if we got back to focusing on what it’s all about and didn’t place such a huge emphasis on what to buy. We could return to teaching our children ~ BY EXAMPLE ~ the true meanings of Christmas. Love. Family. And the birth of a Savior. Not materialism, greed, and keeping up with Johnny and Jenny’s parents.

Incrediboy is coming to an age where he’s putting the whole “gimme” aspect of Christmas together. Every toy commercial prompts “I want that”. Now comes the skillful challenge for us as parents to balance Christmas of the heart and Christmas of the wallet. Having Incrediboy has also set us back a few steps in the sense that I do buy some little things for my Hub and myself after all, because it’s nice to have all of us open a stocking on Christmas morning. Not happy about re-adding us to the shopping list, but it’s all about creating memories for the boy.

So, for now, at this time each year, I join in the race. Struggling blindly to find something for everyone in the midst of a cluster of horrible, creeping traffic and grumpy, rude fellow shoppers (the REAL reason I hate Christmas shopping). Likewise, I don’t know what to tell people to get me, and I feel bad about that. Thus, if you haven't caught on - this whole aspect of the holidays is not only unenjoyable for me, but downright stressful.

Have you ever seen “Best Friends”, where Goldie Hawn took about 5 Valiums before going shopping with her mother- and sister-n-law, and ended up passing out in her chicken salad?

I’m in touch with how she got to that point. Just sayin’.

One gift down, a squillion to go. Happy Holidays.


Anonymous said...

I am SO with you ... on all of it.

I think we need to begin a new wave of tradition ... we need to write letters of blessing to give as a gift rather than purchase a gift. Handwriting a letter of blessing on nice paper, I think, is an incredible gift!


Anonymous said...

Preach it sister! I don't have near the stress you do in gift giving. The traffic and shoppers bad attitudes though are a bit tiresome.

~take care

Martie said...

Every year, more and more emphasis is placed on decorating and purchasing the perfect gifts in order to have 'the perfect Christmas'. When the 'perfect Christmas' is totally unattainable by decorating and purchasing of gifts!

YES, the true meaning of Christmas needs to be put back into practice.....then and only then, might we find "true peace on earth, goodwill toward man.".....and in my opinion.........the 'Perfect Christmas!'

Hugs, my dear friend!

chesneygirl said...

DITTO! ALL of it.

And I'll say it with you... "UGH!"

You're up one gift on me.... I haven't bought a one yet.

I know I commented that I LOVE to shop on one of your posts a few weeks back but I forgot about Xmas shopping. I think that is the ONLY shopping I don't look forward to.

Cheryl said...

I read the BEST post about this the other day--about how the holidays are meant to be fleeting--that's part of what makes them special, and how all this advance commercialization just spoils it all. Now, of course, I can't find it. But you get the point.

Real World Martha said...

I am trying to, every year, make a decision to make it simple. This year we are going to take the buullet and do an e-newsletter with pics to save on paperwaste and money. My decorations aer becoming more simple and gift giving homemade when possible. I hae some ideas I have put on my blog regarding Christmas. Hope you'll drop by.
Debbie aka The Real World Martha