Saturday, November 5, 2011

Christmas Presents


I have to confess something.  I hate Christmas shopping.  Not so much the act of going to the stores with a Red Cup (from Starbucks, of course) in hand and Christmas music playing in the background because I love that.  I love bringing home bags of goodies and wrapping them up with big pretty bows and putting them under the tree.  But I really, really dread picking out the gifts.  I get so stressed out trying to find the perfect present for each person on my list and the next thing I know, it's December 20 and I have wasted my favorite season running around to a million stores looking for one specific thing that I've actually missed the whole season.  Too often I have run out of time trying to figure out what someone special on my list would love, and I'm forced to purchase some generic gift with zero meaning behind it simply because I must give them something.  I hate that.

There are 50 days until Christmas.  I have not purchased a single gift.  I have bought 500 ornaments, candles, napkin rings, countless Red Cups, and already found the Christmas radio station.  I want to spend the next 50 days baking, hanging Christmas lights outside, decorating the tree, and finally learning how to make divinity.  I want to go on holiday home tours and go to a holiday performance at the symphony.  I want to help out someone in need and hopefully brighten their holiday a little bit.  I want to watch the Michael Buble holiday special and light my first fire in my fireplace.  I want to drive around our favorite little towns in Georgia and pick out our ornaments for this year.  I want to go to Fantasy in Lights and ride the trolly with hot chocolate in one hand and Todd's hand in the other. 

I don't want to spend the next 50 days stressing out about how meaningless the gift was that I got my grandma or if I thought the gift I bought my sister was better than the one I bought my brother.  I don't want to worry about my parents spending money on me.  I don't want anything.  I just want to enjoy every minute of the next two months.

When I have a family of my own, I don't want Christmas to be a huge present blow out.  Not that I wasn't thankful that my parents always went completely overboard when I was a child...but there are very few presents I actually remember.  I remember the pajamas and matching robes my mom made for my sister and I and I remember getting my kitten, Olive.  But one of my most memorable Christmas' to date had nothing to do with the presents.  Christmas morning was brief.  We got through the presents quickly,  loaded up in the car and spent the next week at a cabin in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.  I can remember nearly every minute that we spent there.  I remember my chair falling backwards at Joey's Pancake House and me rolling across the dining room in front of a few hundred people (that might be because my sister retells the story every chance she gets).  I remember teaching my little brother how to ski and going to that amazing Christmas store where my mom found seaweed for her Christmas tree.

I just wish there wasn't so much pressure and emphasis on Christmas presents. 

But don't you think for a minute I won't be the first person in line for the after Christmas sales!

16 comments:

  1. Amen lady!

    I couldn't agree with you more. My hubby and I are always trying to get our Christmas shopping done as soon as possible because I just detest Christmas shopping but at the same time I hate that it becomes a thing that has to be crossed off a list.

    Christmas is so much more then presents and that is what I want to focus on.

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  2. I completely agree!!! I stress way too much about the presents and wish I could focus more on the real reason for Christmas, I've already gotten a couple of things and I'm going for simple this year instead of trying to outdo what I've gotten for people the previous year!

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  3. I have this discussion with my sisters EVERY Christmas. I agree with every single word of your post. That's one reason why I love Thanksgiving so much. NO GIFTS!

    I have even tried convincing my sisters to pool our money, forgo gifts and donate the $ to a shelter but they never agree. :(

    Oh well, here's to getting our shopping done early (hopefully!)

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  4. I hate the shopping aspect of Christmas too! I love the Christmas season and what it stands for. I hate the some of our family literally argues over gifts. It just isnt worth it to me; I would rather have a nice meal and make memories with my family.

    Your Christmas in Maggie Valley sounds amazing. Every summer growing up we went to either Cashiers or Maggie Valley. I love Joeys!

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  5. I totally agree. When I have kids I want to put a cap on presents (i.e. 5 or something) and focus on enjoying holiday food and drink and family time.

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  6. I totally agree! I am starting to get stressed, too. I love the idea of just being "in the moment" and not running around crazy. Thanks for this post!

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  7. I think my husband's family had to get used to me making gifts every year instead of buying them. For me the gifts I make mean so much more because I love making them. After everything that has happened over the past year with my niece we have agreed to cut back most of our gift giving. The majority of our gifts will likely be St. Jude's items or donations. Also, I'm making your sugared almonds for my SIL and monogrammed burlap pillows for my nieces.

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  8. I am so on your wavelength! Every year I get so stressed by trying to find the perfect perfect gift for every single person that I feel like I miss the season...the joy and love and comfort of the holidays. I am trying to be better this year too!

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  9. We're not big gift givers and I think it makes it more special to us. When I was little it kinda sucked seeing all the other kids get lots of stuff, but now that I'm older I realize that Christmas is about a lot more than just getting random stuff that you'll probably never use.

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  10. We actually discussed going light on Christmas presents for our girls this year and surprising them with a trip instead! Gifts will eventually be tossed aside, and forgotten. However, memories will last a lifetime! Excellent post!

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  11. I couldn't agree more! I absolutely love all of the fun and festive aspects of Christmas and the holiday season, but the pressure of gift giving stresses me out more than I'd care to admit. I always try to start early, but still end of scrambling a few days before Christmas.

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  12. LOVE that posting! Over the past few years.... My loved ones and I have agreed to NOT do Christmas or birthday gifts~but if in passing ~ you run across something that you know is perfect for someone else ~ you give it as a no occasion gift and it's such a sweet surprise, not because you have to and who doesn't like a true surprise and to be thought of for no reason! I think it's great that you are savoring the upcoming holidays and not feeding into the frenzy of it all~ENJOY.:)

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  13. My in-laws live in Waynesville and my kids learned to ski at Cataloochee! We'll be there for Thanksgiving and OF COURSE a trip to Joey's. Love that area soooo much!

    And I'm totally right there with you about the Christmas frenzy. We're very careful about teaching our kids the "reason for the season" with a big de-emphasis on the presents part.

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  14. I love collecting ornaments from the places we visit throughout the year. We don't have a cohesive look for our tree, but it's great to say, "Hey remember when we got this one at so-and-so...?" I haven't heard about a Michael Buble holiday special--do tell!

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  15. I also used to dread buying the presents. For the past few years I have bought things throughout the year and just put them away until Christmas. This has helped tremendously and saves me so much time when December hits because I already have so many gifts taken care of that I feel are perfect. I love the holiday season and this has allowed me to enjoy it fully without stressing about gifts.

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  16. I now buy my kids three gifts each (I read that somewhere once..."Jesus only got three gifts, so why should we get more?" and I ran with it) and I just sent out the last notice of "speak now or you get what you get" if there's something special they have their eye on. And I only shop online now. I get something disposable (food, etc.) for my parents who have everything they could ever want or need and this year I'm making chocolate ice cream sauce in little jars for neighbor/etc. gifts. DOTR's family does a "dirty Santa" exchange and my kids are old enough to take a $20 and buy their own contribution. It really does make it so much more enjoyable and it's doubtful I will go to the mall or stores again after this week. And I NEVER go after Thanksgiving...even try to stay away from the grocery store if I can by stocking up on everything but perishables bit by bit each time I'm there. We've done trips, etc. as gifts for the kids in the past, too. They get so much stuff all the time, they really don't need a pile of presents on Christmas and if you start out that way instead of all of the sudden saying "you won't be getting as much for Christmas this year", it's much easier.

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