Cri$tma$ In$anity

This started out as a comment on Brad’s post about mortgaging your home to pay for Christmas. Now, I’m not judging anyone else’s holiday traditions, because there is a part of me that would love to get extravagant gifts for Christmas, but that’s just not how it works in my world.
I probably spend $300-$350 on Christmas every year. And that’s buying gifts for like, 15 people. My family exchanges small gifts- a dvd, a book, some jewelry. One year I got a Bissel spot cleaner from my parents, because my mom knew I could use one, and I use it all the time (my cat pukes a lot). A few years back, possibly the same year I got the Bissel, I think my mom’s gift cost me about $15 and a couple of sewing hours. She loved it, and gets way more use out of it than the expensive collector doll I bought her 10 years ago that has never come out of its box.
In my world, Christmas is about family and friends, about celebrating the season and being with the ones you love. It’s not about gimme gimme gimme. My dad HATES the commercialization of Christmas. He looks like Santa, but he’s the original Scrooge. There are no “Christmas Lists”. The rule in my house was “If you ask for it, you’re not getting it” (though my mom does break that every year and asks for ideas). There’s also “gift cards are not a present”, which makes giving my dad a gift all the harder, but a gift should have a sentiment behind it, and it shouldn’t be “I had to get you something so I got you this gift card because it was less effort.”
Maybe it’s just that we stick to the “don’t spend what you don’t have” rule really well, I don’t know. But I do know that no amount of money you spend can make up for time you don’t spend with your family. If you buy your mom a present that cost a lot, I guarantee it doesn’t mean you love your mom more than I love mine. I know our culture has seemingly adopted the philosophy that Money = Love, but I don’t agree. My mom is getting a $35 pair of earrings, and I know she’s going to love them (her friend designs jewelry and told me my mom had her eye in them). Last year my friend Dee got socks, because she *likes* socks.
I’d much rather get a gift that was picked out with me and my tastes in mind than a gift that cost a lot, and that translates into the gifts I give. Shopping for the holidays and giving gifts should be fun. If it’s overwhelming and stressful and costs way more than you can afford, maybe you’re doing it wrong.

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