Thursday, November 08, 2007

No Presents for the Grown-Ups

In response to a friend's blog about her family declaring (this late in the game) a "no presents for the adults rule", I wrote the following. A side note; for many people the beginning of November may not seem like "late in the Gift Giving Game", but for a fellow quilter, and someone planning to be gone for three weeks in December, this truly comes late in the game for my friend. Not quite "fair" for a family who's exchanged presents forever and the crafter among them who started making her presents in January. Anyway, here are my off-the-cuff thoughts on Kid-Only gift giving.

One of the weirdest things about my in-laws is they're standing "No Presents - EVER" rule. Apparently, many years before I came on the scene, holidays had turned into a cash exchange scene. They would each give each other cards with money inside. They realized how ridiculous this was and made the "STOP" rule.
Then, kids started coming on the scene (right as I joined the clan) and suddenly they found themselves needing to buy wrapping paper again.

I am glad they got away from the mass marketing of it all, but I often wonder if they miss out on some of the pleasures associated with giving to others. The most I've seen them give eachother is a box of chocolate, but after a few years, even that has turned into a massive chocolate exchange.

Personally, I blow them off in a minor way... if I see something small that reminds me of one of them, I'll but it and stash it away, then give it to them. Usually it's under five dollars, but as they say "it's the thought that counts". I have yet to receive any presents from them, and I'm okay with that.

My family? They stopped giving me presents long ago. Never said they weren't going to do it, they just stopped. Again, I usually do something for them, probably because I like to shop and find "deals" all year long.

It's hard; because it's fun to open presents and it's great to be surprised with something you really like. I guess though, I find a lot of joy in watching others open things I've given them and I don't really "expect" to get stuff. I feel so blessed in my life (especially since Tom) and have everything I need and MOST of my WANTS too, so, to have people trying to spend money just to be able to "give" me something seems wasteful. I do love handmade / homemade things though! When I was a kid, we were never allowed to buy a present until after we'd made one for the person. My Mom taught us that gifts from the heart meant so much more. Now that I'm older I see that they certainly take more time and effort, and often they cost more than the same thing store bought, but they are personalized. I enjoy making things for other people and usually spend a lot of time thinking about that person while I'm working on the item.

So, after reading my comments, I guess that I understand and appreciate the lack of present buying for adults. Christmastime truly is a mass-commercial time. I also know that I really enjoy giving and receiving things, as long as it's done with love and not because I "have to" or "should". When you receive something from me, it's because I was thinking of you with love. You may get something on special occassions or you may get a package out of the blue, and I think those kind of surprises are great too!

Lay off the stress of the holidays and enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes, and feels of them!

Suzy :)

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