~A place to find my way in the world~
Well, I agree up to a point. Pretty much everyone in my family is frugal to a fault, so even though none of us are Christians, we often use Christmas as an excuse to gift that longed-for item to the person who has wanted it for a long time, but hasn't been able to justify the expense. This year I got CatMan an iPhone, which he has wanted for years, but has never purchased because as a partially retired work-from-home fellow, he knows he won't use it that much. But he wants to be able to use the GPS tracking feature to map his bike rides and I know he'll really enjoy being able to do that. I also got him some new bike clothes because I know he won't buy them for himself, and he really does need them.He bought me a new monitor for my computer, which I have to admit, I didn't think I needed, but I totally LOVE. It will make my graphic design and computer programming work much easier.I also believe in gifting experiences or fancy food - once again, things I know my family will enjoy but would be too cheap to buy for themselves. Tickets to the opera for my parents, fancy gift baskets full of nice cheeses etc, a hefty gift certificate to a golf store so my brother could get those golf clubs that he REALLY wanted but wouldn't buy for himself.I dunno... does that make me a horrible consumerist? Maybe most people aren't like us, and simply go buy whatever they want whenever they want it. But somehow, all of these gifts feel different to me than just walking into a store any buying something for somebody so that you can cross them off of your list.
My fiance and I were having this discussion this week. I don't exchange gifts with my family anymore (I requested years ago for my parents not to buy me anything, we make charitable donations in lieu of gifts now). I think we have finally convinced his mother to stop buying us gifts, telling her that my side of the family does not get us anything. He has a niece and nephew and has decided that once they turn 18 he will stop giving gifts. We are split pretty much down the middle with the frugal family (cheers to EcoCatLady above) & the spendthrifts. I have a co-worker who was raised in Sweden and she said that he has not enjoyed Christmas as much since moving to the states. Merry Christmas Cherie!
EcoCatLady - I believe your family is the exception to the shopping frenzy. Most people tend to feel obligated to buy something for family members and end up buying useless, unwanted items. I have a friend who is not a Christian who one year, when her teenage son said he didn't want anything, told him that wasn't an option. Then she spent the week before Christmas in a crazy frenzy trying to find things to buy him - even though he didn't want anything. One of my favorite Christmases was when my kids were small and money was tight. All I wanted was a new book that had come out. My husband bought it for me and I spent the rest of the holiday curled up with the book - bliss!
Shona - my husband's family had a tradition of exchanging names among the cousins so everyone only had to buy one gift. This was fine when they were in their teens but when they were adults the gifts started getting silly. When I married into the family my name was added to the pot and I had to buy things for people I really didn't know. We finally got out of that tradition - the year I bought someone socks (on a recommendation) was when I knew it had to stop.
I re-watched "What Would Jesus Buy" and it's a good little reminder.Actually, I am writing this to you now after Christmas and I will share that the couple we usually have Christmas lunch with keep bees and they gave us a jar of their honey. It was truly the best gift! AND it is soooooo good, I am now drizzling honey any anything & everything. This was such a very thoughtful and personal gift & to receive it from the bee farmer made it even more so. Happy New Year!
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