Friday, August 9, 2013

I Can't Believe I'm Thinking About Christmas Already...But I Am

The other day the first calendar of the season arrived at my house, and I know that the Christmas catalogs will soon be filling up my mailbox. There won't be as many as there have been in the past. The internet has taken care of that, but still, they'll come.

Don't get me wrong. I love catalogs (at least I love thumbing through them) and I love Christmas with the music and the gatherings and the whole spirit of things, but...I'm ready to be less of a gift recipient these days. I like simplicity. I don't have a lot of space, I don't actually need anything, and I don't buy a lot of things beyond books. So, I was talking to a relative and reminding them that a couple of years ago, my niece and I wanted to have everyone in the family contribute to charity in lieu of giving each other gifts. Somehow we never got that going. I realized that I couldn't orchestrate everyone else's ideals or interfere with their ideas of what constituted the perfect Christmas. But I finally realized that I could control my own Christmas. Sort of.

So I mentioned to the relative that, although it was a bit awkward requesting that people not buy gifts for me at Christmas but instead donate to a charity and simply give me a card or a note, that was what I wanted to do this year. I really like the idea of a gift that will help make the world a better place, and I wouldn't be interfering with anyone else's Christmas since I would continue to give more conventional gifts to everyone else. She suggested that, for those people who want to give something more direct, I ask people to give me e-books instead, since they take up no space.

So, yes, I'm thinking Christmas. I know it's early, but I also know that some of my family members start early. I hope that no one thinks I'm stepping over a line by suggesting such a change.

So how about you? Have you ever tried an unconventional type of gift exchange? How did that work out?


Mary Preston said...

I love Christmas. I love everything about Christmas. This month it's my daughter's birthday, but after that I will most definitely start to get ready for Christmas. We tend to have a $ limit on gifts. It's fun because everyone gets most inventive.

Myrna Mackenzie said...

Mary, that's a good idea. We used to do something like that, and I loved it. And I do really enjoy Christmas. There's a feeling at that time of year like no other.

Laney4 said...

Right now, we basically buy for my DH, me, our two kids, our DD's BF, and my MIL. My MIL has Alzheimer's but still lives in her own apartment in a nursing home; her other five "kids" buy her clothes, but we usually buy her coolers, beer, and chocolate, as she loves an occasional drink (and it doesn't mess up her medications), plus they're "disposable" (and she doesn't need more clothes getting dusty in her closet). When all four parents were alive, we used to go in together with siblings to buy them things like microwaves, TVs, and VCRs - things they wouldn't have bought for themselves because they were big-ticket items - and restaurant gift certificates otherwise.
For over 25 years now, my husband's side of the family has held a "Christmas" party in mid November; when the kids were in school, Santa (a friend or the "son" from whose house the event was held) would bring them a gift (given to him out in the garage by Dad while the kiddies went in the front of the house with Mom), with a $10 limit on each of your own children's gifts. We continued this until the youngest grandkids grew up, but now continue as just a "get together". There's no Santa and no gifts, but it's still held mid November with a Christmas tree and decorations if in a house big enough for over 30 of us, or held in a restaurant otherwise (as we take turns hosting). It's too cold to hold the event outside and we've considered holding it as a barbecue in the summertime instead, but the one sister is on their boat every single weekend from April through late October; instead, my own family hosts a party every July, and if any family membeers want to attend, they can.
Wowsers. Thanks for the blog. I've just realized it is OUR turn to host this year. YIKES!

Myrna Mackenzie said...

Elaine, it sounds as if you have a good handle on how to have a good Christmas. (And it looks as if you'll be very busy soon)! Have fun!