Monday, November 7, 2011

Calling Off Christmas

Speaking of Christmas, (we were, weren't we?) Andy and I have made an unofficial decision to call Christmas off this year.

No, we haven't been isolated from community and popular culture for so long that we've become curmudgeons who will in no way acknowledge the holiday season. I fully plan to deck the halls, bake the cookies, play the carols, get together with friends and family, etc. etc. when the holiday season truly is upon us.

(I've been spending an extended weekend in town, splitting my time between Andy's mom's place and my parents' while Andy deer hunts and after all this time in the land of fast internet and cable t.v., I feel a need to inform the world's ad agencies that Christmas is not just around the corner. Let's hold our horses, shall we?)

Despite my firm belief that Christmas is not imminent just yet, the holiday season and all its fuss and spending has been on my mind lately.

For one thing, I've been assigned the annual holiday gift guide for the publication I'm a contributing writer for. I spent some time with Mom in the shops downtown yesterday, trying to figure some new exciting spin to put on the same ol' items from the same ol' stores for this year's guide.For another thing, it's apparent that between tires, teeth and nonexistent internet (aka, technician visit!), discretionary spending funds are going to be pretty much nonexistent this December.

There's also the little fact that we don't really need anything. Sure, there are plenty of pretty, nonessential items I'd love to have, but when I look at my life objectively, it's clear we want for nothing. Our freezer and pantry are brimming with delicious, homegrown/homemade food; the closets are stuffed with clothes and footwear; we have two cars; plenty of firewood to keep us warm through the winter; we cover our monthly expenses; and there's enough money to cover the aforementioned expenses without too much strain or stress. So why make things stressful by feeling we have to go all out with presents this year? 

Yes, I am the person who retailers hate and who is in no way stimulating our floundering economy.

Not that I won't be purchasing Christmas presents this year. But I'm approaching the gift giving this year as a way to share a small token of love and appreciation with the people I love rather than go through the sometimes stressful, sometimes frustrating process of trying to figure out larger (and more expensive) items for everyone on my list this year.  Maybe we'll just do stocking stuffers for everyone this year. Maybe small themed baskets. I haven't decided yet, but I'm hoping for a simple, but sincere Christmas this year.

It seems like this year "presents" giving us a wonderful opportunity to focus on all we already have. Why let Christmas crowd out the autumn holiday we should really be stretching out over the entire year: Thanksgiving.

Have you ever called off Christmas? Will your Christmas spending this year stay the same as prior years or do you plan to cut or expand your budget?

14 comments:

  1. I totally agree. My DH and I usually only buy one small thing for each other and stay within reason when buying for our boys. I couldn't believe it when I was at Target the other day (before Halloween) and saw Christmas decorations! Crazy.

    Excellent point...Thanksgiving should be year round!

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  2. Amen! I have never called it off or never bought gifts but, we will be cutting back this year and focusing on the REAL reason for the season. Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday and it gets overlooked more and more every year...

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  3. why don't we give "Thanksgiving" gifts and just be together singing, and reading God's word about His wonderful gift on Christmas? That's the real time to celebrate "Thanksgiving"...at Christmas! Then if we all want to express our thankfulness...give a gift to the church or some special ministry. That's what the Lord wants us to do...share the gospel!

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  4. My husband and I made a conscious decision to not do Christmas in the commercial sense the first year we were married. We've kept it up! (15 years now) We usually do give a little something to the kid's/grandkids but we don't buy anything for each other, we keep all the decorating to a simple theme that reflects the Nativity and celebrating the Birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ. And we try not to get annoyed over Christmas stuff coming out before Halloween. :)

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  5. We're definitely cutting down this year. I'm trying to crochet more gifts than I buy. Of course that means I have to get more yarn but hey, I love having an excuse to buy more yarn! lol

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  6. We've definitely had years like that, and years quite the opposite where there was a ton of events and get togethers. Not necessarily gift centered, more about traditions and parties and such. This year I'm feeling pretty festive, wanting to make a lot of stuff.

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  7. A few years back my parents instituted a "Gifts of Kindness" policy. My three sisters and I are all at different life places (different incomes, different lifestyles, different careers) so my parents thought it best that we no longer buy each other, or them, Christmas gifts. Instead we give acts of kindness--- this can be anything from cleaning and organizing my dad's tool shed (a monumental task!) to helping my sister go through her closet (including getting rid of clothes, re-imagining them to making a list of missing essentials). These have always been fun and a great way to spend more time with one another.

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  8. i'm with you...I've hit a point in my life where there is a definate boundary between want and need..........the wants usually end up cluttering my garage until the next yard sale...

    though...I do have a few luxuries...iphone, laptop, blueray and cable...........the truth is that most often what I want is quiet solitude, a warm fire, laughter from my children and love...that is enough. I am with you..........small tokens of love......that sounds like a great way to celebrate...

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  9. Yes!!! I have wanted to do this for YEARS but sadly, my husband and his family do NOT see it my way. It has actually made me feel depressed for the past years during the holiday season and it's a real bummer. My family did not "do up" Christmas in a big expensive way. My husbands family does and goes WAY OVER the top in a disgusting, materialistic way that gives me the heebie jeebies. I try to get my husband to see my POV but he thinks I am wrong. Yea...we don't see eye to eye on the world in general but that's another story.

    Well, the fact that my very favorite time of year has morphed into my least favorite time of year, is really bugging me and I have taken a stand this year. Don't ask me how...it won't be popular and I'll be even more of an enemy than I already am in the family. OH well.

    Ok, this got personal. Sorry. Let me just say I am totally with you and admire that you and Andy can do this together. You are on the right track. Christmas is about WAY more than expensive gift-giving.

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  10. I can't believe you found a way to use the word "curmudgeon" in a blog post! Gold star for you. Never cancelled Christmas, I'm a Christmas crazy person but we have cut down who we shop for and that's made it a lot easier. I think you should gift everyone some of your jarred yummies like Blueberry Jam, I would love that as a gift and it's totally affordable!

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  11. Hmm you've got me thinking about Christmas a bit now--I'm thinking of just doing more of a handmade thing for the specialest of people now that I think about it. Seems like it would be more special, and to be honest, my budget this year doesn't really have room for much else!

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  12. I think this is great, Ada. When Jay and I moved to the trail we were so wonderfully removed from all the Xmas commercialism (and at the same time I got the best dose of it because of all my Elf gigs). We tried maybe 3 times to call of Christmas... but it felt really hard when other people would be giving us gifts. I made CDs of my stories, etc, but then still felt guilty and ended up buying things for friends and family.
    This year I'm really excited to either buy 50 rupee earrings ($1.50 or so) or make some little ribbon bracelets for friends at about the same cost.
    I think Thanksgiving is the BEST holiday because I get the good food and family time without all the stress of trying to get the perfect gift (of equal value to what I think they'll give me).
    Go for it!

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  13. I would love to call off Christmas, but I have a four year old and I want her to experience the thrill of early morning with massive piles of presents from a fat elf.

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  14. I would love to take one year and give NO gifts, but use that money to give to a charity of some kind or buy things for needy people or something actually MEANINGFUL. Instead of trying to figure out what to get for people who already have everything they need. That's what I'd like to do.

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