Saturday, November 8, 2014

Gift Giving......I'm An Adult, And So Are You

Tis' the season for the crazy lines at Target, weird store hours and the headache that goes along with Christmas shopping. And I hate it. I really do.

Now let me clarify. I love Christmas! I love getting together with family, playing games, putting up decorations, watching corny Christmas movies and most of all, CHRISTMAS MUSIC! Notice I didn't mention anything about gifts. It is the gift portion of Christmas that makes me want to lose my marbles!

I recently talked to a friend that has over 20 people to buy gifts for. WHY!? She doesn't have 20 children. But like me she married into a family that LOVES Christmas and gift giving, but her approach to it is much different than mine. She actually buys all of these grown ass adults gifts. Fuck that.

It started for us when we were getting married. We told family not to buy us gifts. because we were saving money for the wedding and didn't want to spend anything we didn't have to. Then when we were remodeling our kitchen, again, no gifts. Finally. this last year, we told family they could get the kids presents but please don't buy us anything, because we weren't going to be giving gifts.

I'm pretty sure I've broken my father-in-law's Christmas joy with all of this, but I think it is absurd. As an adult, if we want something, we go and get it. We don't make Christmas lists. Half the time, whatever gift we receive we say thank you and if it doesn't get returned, it goes to the re-gift closet. Especially now that we are a one income household, we don't have all this extra money laying around to spend.

Giving gifts is just as difficult for me. Not because I don't like giving gifts, but I thoroughly dislike shopping for gifts. My parents are average age 60. They don't need anything. They have everything, if not too much. (I swear all old people are hoarders) Everyone else in my family, including in-laws, don't actually need anything, and I don't want to spend money just to say I got them something. If I give a gift, I want it to be something someone actually needs.

Just think about what the season is about. I'm not a deeply religious person, so I won't get into that. But the overall theme is family. Being with family and doing things with family. It's not about buying your extended family member a stupid ass t-shirt that costs $25 that they said they really liked, but you've never seen them wear.  It's probably in their re-gift closet.

Scrooge is not my middle name (I'm sure that's what you are thinking). We do buy our kids gifts, but we don't go crazy. We spend about $100 on each kid, which I think is plenty, if not too much. Our kids will give gifts to their grandparents, siblings and parents (I do enjoy the occasional self-bought present) but they will be homemade or reasonably priced. My kids will learn that Christmas time is about being with the people that matter most to us, and the gifts they give and receive are just extra perks, but not a requirement.

So, during this holiday season just consider forgoing the gift giving. Maybe spend the money you would normally do to adopt a family and buy gifts for them, donate to a charity, go on a mini vacation altogether, or prepare a nice meal and spend time playing games and actually having meaningful conversations that don't consist of, "Hey what did you get!?"

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