Mother Who Knows
Date: December 06, 2017 05:31PM
Surely, there must be something you DON'T dread, so you can focus on those good things, and eliminate the bad things.
You are on the right track, in identifying the specific problem of Christmas shopping. Yes, it's hard to think of gifts--especially if you aren't around the recipients very much. You don't know what things they already have, you don't really know their interests, their taste in clothes, their sizes, what kids their age want.
I used to give sports equipment. But these days, everything is too technical. My children always had jobs, and they would buy whatever they wanted, when the Christmas sales began. My son is 40, and I had to call him and tell him NOT to buy a certain item, that I'm giving him for Christmas. I spoiled the surprise.
I've given zoo passes, ski passes, individual ski tickets (not as expensive as passes, tickets to The Nutcracker, concert tickets, movie tickets that include popcorn and a drink. I like to give books. If they already have the book, they can easily trade it for another. Highlights and National Geographic are good family gifts. My children love to receive a Hickory Farms gift package. Harry and David is good. My mother used to say, for people who can afford to buy anything they want, to give them something they will use up. Food, soap and lotion, paper goods, books, etc.
I agree that gift cards are the best choice. My grandchildren love gift cards. So do teen-agers. You can get cute cards and little boxes and gift card holders. Amazon is good, because the kids can buy online, without having their parents driving them to a store. Other stores have a limited selection, right after the Christmas sales, and things can be picked-over. The kids like being able to choose for themselves.
Once you have purchased the gifts, you will feel much better about Christmas! Christmas brings some good movies to the theaters. If you like to eat out, the restaurants are decorated nicely, and there are pretty lights to see, when you drive. You should get some days off of work, which are days to cherish, and to spend doing what YOU WANT to do.
I got specific, about the things I didn't enjoy at Christmas. Christmas can be a romantic time, and a time for parties, and used to feel bad about being single. Most of the time, I'm happy being single. Specifically, what made me feel bad? The ward party was the worst! Couples and families sat together, and my kids refused to go, so I went alone, because I had to play the piano. The Mormon Christmas fireside and the Messiah performances were like date-nights. One time, I went alone to the fireside, and everyone was saving seats for it, and everywhere I sat down, someone said, "This seat is taken." I ended up just leaving.
The bottom line, is DON'T DO the things that make you dread Christmas. I stopped going to the Mormon firesides, the Ward party, the Primary party, the RS party, and whatever. I don't go places ALONE anymore. I dreaded some of the family Christmas parties, until I realized there were only two relatives that made my life Hell, and I simply cut off all contact with those two. Now, I can enjoy all the nice relatives, in peace. This season, I had a toothache, and a subsequent dental bill, which has cut into my spending money. I just told the family I was "shaving a little off of Christmas." Only one gift per person, instead of two or three. I wasn't going to help with Santa stuff, candy and sweets, little stocking stuffers, novelty gifts for the adults, decorations, and all those little things that add up when multiplied by 12, the number of children and grandchildren. I'm not bring a surprise "host-gifts" to every party. No one else brings them. I'm not mailing Christmas cards to people I haven't heard from for a few years. Entertaining is a huge expense! I'm giving only one dinner party for my family, a gingerbread house-making party for the grandchildren, and Christmas day buffet of eating all the goodies people bring us. No taking people out to dinner. No downtown lunches with friends. No new clothes for parties, etc. No beauty parlors, manicures, etc. By just cutting back in a reasonable way, I will save money. One thing I will not cut back on is the little gifts I exchange with various friends and neighbors.
Times change. The good news is that, these days, we can do whatever we want to do or have to do, and cut out all the stuff that isn't fun and isn't necessary.