Blah Humbug

16 Dec

I love Christmas.  I really, really do.  But so far this year I’m just not feelin’ it.  I spent all of yesterday running Christmas related errands, some of which were completely unsuccessful, which was incredibly frustrating and borderline depressing, and holy frick it’s like only nine more days until Christmas!

My sister (not Mad) is also feeling a little blah this Christmas.  I mentioned to her how I was still trying to figure out what to give a few people and she asked couldn’t we all just agree to not give each other anything because by the time you exchange money and gifts and gift cards it’s all pretty much a wash anyway and so what’s the point?  I actually really enjoy the gift-giving part.  A lot more than the gift-receiving part even.  I don’t give gifts out of obligation or so that I’ll be sure to get one in return.  What can I say, I’m a giver.  And a lover.  I give to show the people I love that I’m thinking of them and that they’re important to me.  I don’t expect my friends and loved ones to show their deep and abiding affection for me in the same way—I know they love me, what’s not to love?  And I don’t even think that they expect it of me.  I just like to do it.

I think the blah this year might be coming from not really knowing what I want to give.  Aside from my kids, I’m not superly-overly-excited about some of the gifts I’ve picked out for people this year.  It’s not for lack of caring or trying.  I care!  I tried!  I just didn’t have any good ideas this year.  No inspirations.  In years past, I’ve made several gifts, but I’m not feeling very homey/crafty this year.  A lot of people are getting gift cards.  I know that seems like kind of a cop out gift, and it is sort of, I guess.  It’s certainly not very exciting.  And not being excited about the gifts I give kind of takes some of the fun and magic out of Christmas.  I hope those who are on the receiving end of my impersonal gift cards know that when I say, “Here’s $25 for Jamba Juice.” what I really mean is “I love you.”

So what about you?  What gets you into the Christmas spirit?  Where do you stand on gift cards?  Impersonal and lame?  Or woo-hoo, I get to pick out my own crap!  What have been some of your favorite gifts?

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9 Responses to “Blah Humbug”

  1. cheryl December 16, 2008 at 11:43 am #

    Personally, I like gifts that have some kind of thought. And if that means I got a gift card to a place I adore, then I know thought went into it, capische? So, no, I don’t think gift cards are bad. As an adult (and more specifically as a mother!), I like anything that can be equated with money. 😉

    I’m actually pretty into the Christmas Spirit this year, but I think it’s because financially, we’re drowning. That means, no money to spend! Which means, no letters to stamp! No neighbor gifts to buy! No extravagent gift-buying for the kids! I’m telling you, I think I’m onto something. Because the few stuff I HAVE to get has been fun instead of stressful. I mean, there’s still SOME stress, but it’s not pull-out-my-hair-sob-in-the-corner kind (well, that’s just normal day-to-day, but has little to do with Christmas). So, this may become a new tradition in our family: Have no money.
    I’m lovin’ it!

  2. madhousewife December 16, 2008 at 2:58 pm #

    “I love you this many dollars’ worth.”

    Actually, I hope you know I love you many more dollars’ worth than I’ve ever spent on you.

    I like gift cards. They are better than just money, because just-money will go into my checking account and pay just-electricity and just-groceries, etc. I like permission to buy my own frivolous crap.

    I like wrapping presents (having already shopped for and bought them) and decorating the tree and listening to Christmas music and eating Christmas food. And watching Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol ROCKS.

  3. Julie December 16, 2008 at 3:33 pm #

    Ditto to C & Mad.

  4. foofer December 16, 2008 at 6:38 pm #

    I think gift cards are great. As long as they’re not for someplace you wouldn’t be caught dead at. I do remember one year we got a gift card to a department store I never shopped at, and there was abso-stinkin-lutely nothing there I wanted. I think I spent it all on the kid.

    I like giving presents, too — when I know just what to give/make someone. My daughter is an absolute joy to shop for. Usually. I’m sure she won’t always be this easy, but she’ll never be as difficult as my husband. At least I can be certain that this year’s present won’t wind up on some shelf collecting dust — even if he doesn’t like it.

  5. Alison Wonderland December 16, 2008 at 9:35 pm #

    I’m pro gift card especially as an adult. It’s exactly like Mad said, money will just buy gas or something and I’m too picky to love what someone else has chosen ( I want to love it, I just don’t). That being said, I do sometimes think they’re a cop out.
    But you can make it into a realer gift. You know, gift cert to the movies and someplace for dinner, that’s a date right there.

    I’m not necessarily super excited about Christmas but I’m not super stressed either. The two cancel out and I’m good.

  6. Susan M December 17, 2008 at 11:09 am #

    Just wait till your kids are teenagers. Either they want extremely expensive gifts (my boys) or they say they want nothing at all (my girl). ARGH

  7. amanda d December 17, 2008 at 2:08 pm #

    I’ll admit that Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday. Seriously, for me, 4th of July, Labor day and Thanksgiving all come before Christmas. Yes, Labor day. I’m a wacko, I know. Anyhoo – I am excited about the gift I am giving my husband this year. He is super hard to shop for and he has no idea what is in the red and gold box under the tree. I really think he’ll be excited. I hope so.

    As far as gift certificates go, I have mixed feelings. We are giving a couple this year, but I am trying to pair it with something, but this has more to do with not coming across as being cheap rather than impersonal. It’s hard for me to give my sister a $15 gift card, but paired with a shirt I found on clearance for $3, I feel better.

  8. bythelbs December 17, 2008 at 2:45 pm #

    cheryl—Equated with money? Hmmm… JK! I’m with you–it shouldn’t be about the money anyway. I’ve been more excited about handmade gifts I’ve given in the past with very minimal cost than I am the more “expensive” gift cards I’m giving this year. It’s not the monetary value that makes a gift exciting to give. Oh well. Maybe next year.

    mad—I always spend exactly how much you’re worth to me. Rest assured that is totally and completely not true. It is nice to have money that must be spent on something frivolous rather than bills. And I like wrapping presents, too, unless it’s 2 am Christmas morning (which is typical for me!)

    Julie—You’re a woman of few words lately. But I’ll take it!

    foofer—It’s hard to find something exciting to give Chuck. Anything he really wants he just buys himself or wants to pick out himself. He usually ends up getting little odds and ends from me. I think the kids will be harder to shop for the older they get.

    Alison—Whenever I give a gift card I include a little note about why I chose it or a suggestion on how it can be used so it looks like I put some thought in it. I mean, so people will know the thought I really put in it.

    Susan—My sister has had the same problem with her teenagers this year. One of her girls said all she wanted was clothes but she wanted to pick them out herself. They went shopping a couple of weeks ago, so there won’t be any surprises under the tree for her. Her other two kids, on the other hand, will have surprises under the tree. Hopefully my niece won’t be sad Christmas morning!

    amanda—I know exactly what you mean. That’s the thing about gift cards–people automatically know how much you spent. And not that that’s a big deal or anything, but sometimes it’s nice when it’s not just out there like that. And I love clearance racks! Finding a $3 shirt is one of the best things ever!

  9. Julie December 17, 2008 at 3:56 pm #

    I know. I’ll get my groove back sometime.

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