Saturday, November 19, 2005


One of my friends just sent me an email, saying she had this "great" idea that we could all exchange gift cards this Christmas. Afterall, she said, we're always postponing getting together because we're so stressed out, and this would be "easier". Okay, this disturbs me on several levels. First of all, I'm not stressed out. Sure, I have more time on my hands since I don't have kids, but I also make a lot less money than my friends do, and that presents (no pun intended) its own issues. What do I do? I keep and eye out for ideas and gifts all year long. I slowly set things aside, so that by the time December comes around, I have a cache of goodies. Works for me. Also keeps me out of those long lines and God awful malls. The other thing that disturbs me about these "ideas" is that they become these set in stone rules that just suck the joy out of everything. Hello, this is supposed to be FUN. This is supposed be a lovely reason to get together. I don't give a shit if you buy me an expensive piece of jewelry or bake me cupcakes--what I care about is whether or not you put some heart into it. Did you even THINK about what might be important to me? What I'm all about? What might matter? THAT is what I want to see. I work retail, and I see all these people at the last minute scrambling all over these crappy pre-packaged gift baskets and the this good? What do you think? I think you could instead put a package together of items that you picked out especially for that person. If you sew, maybe create something that might be meaningful. What does the person like to do? What are their passions? What's their favorite color? For God's sake, put some effort into this. Make it mean something. Stressed out? Well, maybe you need to cut something out that is just too much. Maybe you need to learn to say no on occasion. Are you listening? It gets frustrating for me. For example, one of my brothers decided that Christmas was overwhelming, and therefore made a rule to make the gifts "children only"--only give the kids gifts from now on. How convenient that he has kids and I don't. Now his kids have kids. What, does the magic disappear once we hit 18? What is there to look forward in that? No thank you. I want to continue to find the magic in twinkly lights and warm intentions. This same brother also, when his kids were small, gave everyone gifts in his kids' names. Meaning the card said it was from the child, but it was from him and his wife. I absolutely loathe this concept. Those kids therefore never learned how to give. I urge parents to instead ask kids to draw a picture, or make a card, or give a photo of themselves, a macroni mosaic, ANYTHING as long it is from THEMSELVES and not a parent. And by the way, thank you cards never went out of style either.


Anonymous Jan said...

Oh, how I agree with you on this subject of gift-giving. No one puts any thought into it anymore. Just grab something at the last minute, slap a bow on it, and "here you go"....I prefer handmade any day.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Kelvin said...

Twice in one day - we have to stop meeting like this (hehe) You have hit the nail on the head, not once but several times. Firstly its not the cost of the gift that counts, its the thought behind it. Keeping an "eye" out for gifts throughtout the year also makes sense. I can't see how people can enjoy shopping for gifts, when they leave it to the last minute - thats insane !!! As for kids - we used to get pocket money so we could choose our own gifts to give. It was a joy to receive but even a greater joy to give !!! Teach kids to make "fudge" or other sweets & make things with their own hands to give. Give from the heart !!! As for you Barb, I'll send you a plane ticket so as long as you don't mind sitting outside on the wing !!! (hehe) God Bless !!!

7:23 PM  
Blogger tweety said...

Thank you, Barb. I understand what you mean. A few years ago, my sister-in-law told me "let's not give gifts anymore". I was so hurt by that. I look forward to exchanging gifts ... and now it's pointless. I can't explain it, I guess it was too expensive for her and my brother, but we never wanted anything expensive, just a little something, even homemade, and now it's nothing. I will never forget that conversation, I was in Penney's on my cell, and I just ran to my car and cried. Oh well, enough of that. My daughter and I like to go to the mall on Christmas Eve, if we have time, to see all the people shopping at the last minute -- it's pretty pathetic.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Suse said...

I find it really sad when people can't take the time to make a little card, or bake some Christmas treats. It doesn't have to be expensive, just, as you say, from the heart.

1:32 AM  
Anonymous Sandra said...

I agree with you too, Barb. People should try and keep the magic in Christmas! It sounds like your friend came up with the giftcard idea because it would be easier and less stressful for her, but you can always say, "no thanks, that doesn't work for me- besides, I already have most of my Christmas shopping done"! I think it is much nicer to think of people throughout the year and pick up gifts for later (ie Christmas in this case), than to rush into a shop 2 days before Christmas and just grab something. It really is all about "it's the thought that counts". I wish I could send you a plane ticket too, but I'm so broke you'd have to hide in the landing gear to get here :o( I know that Santa won't forget you though!

2:36 AM  
Blogger Claudia said...

It's the thought that counts. Isn't it much nicer to be surprised by people with a small item that you may have talked about months ago and they haven't forgotten about, than being asked, "What do you want for your birthday (resp. Christmas)?"
Unfortunately, my parents as well as my husband have a rather, hm, aloof relation to celebrations with the family, so I know that too: adults not giving presents to each other (at least our parents and us). It's a pity. Something is lost. As if the affection for the other has grown cold.
But, oh, I forgot: we still bake Christmas cookies for the whole family and send them in a nicely decorated parcel, so maybe not everythings's lost ;-)

3:35 AM  
Blogger kay susan said...

Oh Barb! I agree with you, I don't want expensive gifts either, just a chance to get together. Christmas present giving has degenerated, in so many instances; into greed, commercialism and overindulgence.

Before I moved, a group of friends and I used to have a christmas get-together. We met on a City & Guilds Embroidery course and our family and financial circumstances were all very different. We solved the present problem by setting a low price limit and each buying and wrapping one present. Then we took it in turns to pick one out. Some would be bought items, some would be made, some would be packs of threads and materials. It was inexpensive and fun.

3:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another thing in this vein.... A group that I now only occasionally visit used to have a holiday "white elephant" gift exchange. (Everyone was supposed to bring something "fun" toes socks, funky pot holder, etc. kind of stuff) and then we would get numbers.... number 1 would choose a gift bag and open it, then Number 2 could "steal" you gift or choose another bag. Back when the gifts were fun, the game was also fun becasue you had to think "Do I want what I already know she has or take my chances with a new bag?" The best year was when someone wrapped a can of beans...
However, recently someone has decided to go to Costco and get a "nice" gift basket..... A pair of toe socks can not compete against a tea lovers basket.... And so the fun has been sucked out of yet one more tradition....
Amy - who also misses the TY notes

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1 more thing... Yesterday morning I made the cookie recipe that is onthe back of the Mint Hershey's kisses bag - EASY & GOOD!
I give cookies all the time not just for holidays. Otherwise they would live on my hips! Well they do anyway, I can't do one.... (My co-workers and grandparents are lucky that they got any of the new ones - they were super sinful warm....)

8:46 AM  
Blogger my house is cuter than yours said...


9:10 AM  
Blogger Barb said...

Yay! First time I've ever gotton two digits on one post!!! Thanks you guys. You keep me grounded, as I've already told some of you in private emails. I so appreciate each comment.

9:36 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home