Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Times are changing...

Now that Tgiving is over it's time to turn our eyes towards Christmas. What do we see? Or, HOW do we see it is more the question. As my kids get older the sparkle kinda fades. They are excited for Cmas, but not like when they were much younger. The suspense and magic of Cmas is gone. No more giggles of santa and reindeer... no more mall santa visits and wide eyes at Cmas lights. The anticipation of Cmas was so intense when they were younger. Now it seems to be rush, rush and what on earth to buy them? How can I show them the Cmas spirit? How can I set the example?

Each year I say I'm going to cut back. Each year I do. This year seems especially easy. I want to ENJOY the Holidays. I want to have good memories..start my own traditions... have good times.. and not be rushed. Some things cannot be helped, but the majority can! But how?

Since I have been married to Richard, we spend every Cmas Eve at his Grandparent's making homemade eggnog with rest of the family. Let's see.. there are... 35+ people... who gather and do this every year. Some cannot make it, sometimes people bring friends, sometimes old friends stop by. It's something my kids look forward to every year. They love it! Then Cmas day we return at 3 to do the name drawing and gift swap. This is 5 additional gifts added to my list. It's not the money, it's the stress! The family is so large I don't know everyone. Nor do I know their likes and dislikes. Who wants a gift that was bought in haste? Do you find yourself grabbing any ole thing you can to say the gift is purchased? I also find it harder and harder every year to get the gifts purchased and wrapped. Then, on the receiving end, I have to find place in my home for the gifts I receive. I am trying not to have clutter and STUFF. Stuff is.. well.. just stuff. It adds stress to my life. I'm grateful they bought me something.. but really.. we are all adults and can really go out and buy whatever it is we need and want. Right?

After talking with a few family members over Tgiving and discovering we were all pretty much feeling this way.. the decision was made that the KIDS would draw names between them. Once you graduate high school you are no longer a kid. The adults will make a donation to the "kitty" and then it will be decided thru a drawing where the money will be donated. There are many kids who will not have a Cmas simply because their parents cannot afford one. Why not help a child have a Cmas? Or help the many organizations in our own town help others? Helping each other... sharing.. giving... from the heart.. isn't that how it should be? Then the kids can swap gifts and teh adults can relax and visit and ENJOY the day. It was to the point where I was not looking forward to going to Cmas at the grand-inlaws.. too stressful.

I am so happy the family has decided to do this. Each family will also be able to collect money all year at home and next year for Tgiving we will bring the "kitty" to the grandparents' house. That way it can be donated a bit earlier. I have been hinting at this for a few yrs now. It finally sunk in. Yeah!

I haven't decided if I'll give each kid a jar for their own collecting. I can either give them a quarter for the jar when I see them doing something nice... or they can fill it with money they find while we are out and about. The one who collects the most in their jar may get a prize? We shall see.

I also tried getting the office staff to adopt a name off the tree in the lobby.. they looked at me like I had a third eye! Guess they REALLY want a gift... *sigh*. Oh well.

I told my sister NOT to buy anything... I'd rather her spend her $ on her family and ENJOY the holiday... We can celebrate bdays instead.. that way it's spread throughout the year and it don't hit all at once.

What are you doing different this year?


Jennifer said...

Ok, I had planned to post somethign simular to this on my blog but you beat me to it. I hope if I still do you won't think I'm copying you.

We finally convinced my husband's mother to let us adults (6 of us)draw names and we set a limit of $30-$50 on a gift for the name we drew. Well My husband got his father's name and I got his mother's name, so we may actually spend a little more on them just because they help us out so much throughout the year. So that's a few less gifts I have to worry about buying.

I'm going to post more of our cutting back today or tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great plan - I look forward to being able to just do gifts for the children but as our daughter is the only child (only grandchild on both sides) I don't think it's going to be happening for a while in our families.

Melanie said...

You have some great ideas! We are different than most families I guess because we don't have any family to buy for. The only adults I buy for or Clint and my Dad. I do try to send a gift basket to our girls' godparents, but we don't really exchange gifts. I buy for 5 other kids besides my two and that's it.