Friday, December 18, 2009

The giving's the thing

This is why I have tried to stay away from the whole shopping thing if at all possible:

One of my fondest memories is of the year that we made candles for the holidays to give as gifts.

It was after my Dad's first heart attack. Money was tight. The fact that money was tight registered with my sister and I on some level (I can remember consciously making decisions not to ask for too much during that time) but really, all we were thinking about that year was how much fun it was as a family to make those candles and how proud we were to present them to our friends and family. I can remember feeling a little sad that we weren't doing the same thing again the next year.

Looking back on my childhood, I remember the avarice I felt as winter approached, the thought I would put into each gift request from Santa. Looking back, all my presents from over the years are a blur. With few exceptions, I can't put gifts to dates. I can't recall what I got for christmas the year we made the candles (I know that I loved whatever it was I got but I couldn't tell you what it was). When I think of christmas now I think of those candles, that's what I want to give to the peanut each year time as a family and the practice of giving of ourselves instead of giving loads and loads of things.

Despite what I've mentioned here before about avoiding malls and giant box stores at this time of year, I've had to spend some time there. We are still abiding by our decision to buy vintage and handmade wherever possible but there are those things that are better and more affordable if purchased new and mass produced, socks and underwear for instance.

So the Peanut and I spent one good day traipsing through our local mall and just thinking about it has my tummy in knots and my blood pressure rising and my brain figuring out the best way to avoid this next year, because I never want to have to deal with the crazy frantic shopping people again.

The longer I spent there the more stress I started to feel, the more the idea that I hadn't gotten enough for the husband crept in and I started to notice that I was looking, to buy more more more and feeling guilty each time I stopped mid-purchase and thought about if it was worth it.

The gifts I've picked out for him are small, but they are things that he will find useful and hopefully fun. Unfortunately his stocking may look a little deflated this year and each time I think about that flat stocking I have to squash the urge to go out and spend spend spend some more.

This year I've really been thinking about what I want this season to mean to me and to the husband and Peanut. She's already on the I Want Train, any reference to anything toy related brings on a flurry of statements that go something like:

Can we think about (insert item here for example: that whole bookstore) for christmas eve? How about we think of (insert item here for example: that robot truck) for christmas eve? Do you think that I could think about (insert item here for example: that huge giant dinosaur) for christmas eve? Can I? Can I? Can I?

Teaching her that is going to be our next big challenge over the next year. Are you feeling the push to go overboard with the gifts too?


littledeadmommy said...

I've been tempted to go crazy with the gifts but we've been keeping it under control. I guess it's just that I appreciate everyone and everything people have done for me (especially with how things have been lately) that I just want to give as mch as I can.

Rue said...

It's very difficult not to go overboard. I have to keep a tight rein on myself too. It's SO hard with kids though - they are innundated with ideas for toys and things to want.

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