Spare me!

The pic has nothing to do with this post, exactly. Just my brother Kevin and I the other day after a pomertini or two. (Pomertinis are healthy and full of antioxidants, you know, or at least that’s what my SIL said when she kept pouring them!)

Anyway, maybe it was the vodka, but at some point on Thanksgiving we got to talking and laughing about Christmas and gift-giving. Kevin has a way of making everything funny, yet the gist of what he said was pretty depressing. Each of us, in my family anyway, spend an awful lot of time stressing about Christmas and wasting money to buy each other stuff we don’t need. We all make enough money. If we need something (or heaven forbid want something) we buy it for ourselves. Simple as that.

We wised up somewhat with gifts for my dad before he passed away. For a few years we rented a big stretch limo to take the bunch of us into NYC for dinner and a visit with the Rockettes, each of whom my dad was (not so) secretly in love with. Those gifts weren’t about money, but instead time. Time spent with his kids and grandkids doing something that made him happy. Much more meaningful than a silly tie or gadget for his computer.

We often talk about doing something similar for ourselves. Just planning a day to do something fun together, rather than buying gifts, but we always cave in and end up at the mall in a frantic dash with the rest of humanity. Hard to resist, I guess.

So… I’m hoping to be spared the craziness this season. I just need to come up with some ideas for things we might like to do together. And I need lists for the kids… cause they shouldn’t be spared and no Christmas is complete without at least one awful afternoon in a toy store.

13 thoughts on “Spare me!”

  1. My side of the family is planning an afternoon in Toronto to see a performance of White Christmas. The theater is a little pricey but fun, and you don’t have to find a place to store it.

  2. If only everyone would start thinking the way you are! Around here (Boston area) stores were opening at 4:00 AM on Black Friday and drivers were waiting in FOUR HOUR traffic jams to travel a few miles to the mall. For what? To save a few buck on junk from China?

    For the last few Thanksgivings and Christmas’s my mother was alive, my sisters and my family went to a cozy family resort in Connecticut. I remember those times better than any gift I ever received.

  3. Love the photo Laura. Green is your color! :c) I know what you mean in terms of the shopping craziness. We try to at least put a limit on it and only purchase one or two gifts for one another. The kids are at the age where they just want $$ to bunch together and get the big ticket things they want, so that’s easy. I hope you all can come up with a fun plan to spend time together. That is the best gift of all no doubt.

  4. More people should take that approach to the holidays. Some of the stores here opened on Friday at 4 in the morning! That’s just scary. Hope you find some interesting ideas that will make meaningful gifts.

  5. Oh Laura, I smiled with such assent on this post. We’ve had the same conversation for years and like you – cave. I did give my mom an early Christmas present: a bird feeder – with baffle – right outside her window. One can never have too many bird feeders, right? :0)

  6. Sounds like a good plan Laura. Time is really the most valuable thing anyway and finding a way for all of you to spend time together is priceless (and probably difficult too)!

  7. Many years ago, all of our brothers and sisters decided to stop stressing over buying each of us the “perfect” gift and instead, we drew names of the adults and still showered the children. That worked out so much better! Now, we only focus on the children. I like the toy stores. I only have one 7 year old boy to buy for now and look forward to wrapping his gift and shipping it.

    Your idea is perfect. Coming up with the ideal activity and getting everyone together for it is quite a challenge, but will be well worth it!

    You are photogenic, Laura!

  8. Great pic, Laura–you look relaxed!

    I think it’s fitting that they call it “BLACK Friday”–it’s just a ridiculous display of American consumerism gone haywire. My family draws names as well, and giftcards are a big favorite. That way, everyone just gets what he/she needs.

  9. Does your family like to bake? I’d have fun with everyone in and around the warm kitchen, making dough, eating it, shaping it, rolling and cutting it out, smelling the cookies as they bake, bickering over who gets to do quality control, sipping hot cider or gluhwein (German mulled wine) and gabbing/teasing each other endlessly.

    BTW, lovely photo (c:

  10. Mojoman: It was the same thing here – stores opening at 4 in the morning. Ridiculous.

    Jayne: I’d be perfectly happy buying gifts if I knew it was something anybody wanted. Always a shot in the dark, you know, seems wasteful.

  11. LauraO: Thanks… so far I’m clueless.

    Cathy: I think bird feeders make great gifts – especially for someone who might not otherwise take the time outside to appreciate the birds!

    I feel totally comfortable telling people not to give me anything, but cave in when it comes time to show up empty-handed myself on Christmas morn.

    Rabbit’s Guy: Boomer post today – at your request.

    RuthieJ: Finding time and agreeing on something – tough!

    Mary: I don’t know. My SIL’s family does that… I want to be able to give my brother’s something nice. Seems like more fun to plan a day working in each other’s garden or something.

    Delia: One too many martinis!

    I’ve been doing gift cards too, but feel lazy!

    Amy: That made me laugh out loud – and brought back some memories of cookie adventures with my brother Brian. Oh the messes we’ve made!

    We all really love to garden and so far I’m working on something with that. There’s a local food pantry that has a community garden sort of thing – I don’t know – trying to figure something out.

    I love spending time with my brothers and come home sore from laughing so much. That laughter is a gift on its own.

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