November 23, 2007

What is it about Black Friday?

Note: This is not a rant. I swear.....

Every year, I have to remind X to avoid All Things Commercial on this day. And every year, I cringe a little inside that I live in such a country where folks go insane like this. I am hard-pressed to explain to him what the big deal is - there are still 30+ days to shop for Christmas, what is the hurry? Also - keep in mind that X was raised Catholic in India, where Christmas is actually all about a Mass for Christ.

For the most part, the holidays do not stress me out. I do not bake - I tried that one year with results that were somewhat edible, but so not worth the work. And I feel little compulsion to make this the Best Holiday EVER for my kid - sure, he is getting some toys because toys are FUN. However, I want his memories to be fuzzy ones of Christmas trees, music, and family. And yes, some toys (did you see that part about FUN?) And lights. Lots and lots of lights (I have plans to do a lot of walking and driving around in neighborhoods this year.) How hard is that? Those are my favorite memories and I know my parents did not freak out every December. I want my kids to remember hanging out and relaxing - maybe doing some special events like attending some of the little festivals around here. Not rushing around in a frenzy while I swipe my credit card to and fro....

I'll admit that it certainly helps that my family has ramped WAY back on the gift giving. I am so lucky! Despite the size of my family, my list totals 12 people. Oh wait - 13 people (Sorry 'bout that, Anjali). My sister and I agree this year to not give gifts to each other's kids (credit goes to The Other Anjali - the one at Life in the Hundred Acre Wood for this. Before her post, I would never have considered the possibility of denying children the magic of toys. However, The Other Anjali's post was compelling enough to convert me to her own level of Scrooginess. hee!) Anyway, my sister will explain to Older Nephew what is going on, but the younger kids will never know the difference. When they are a little older, we will have them draw names so they can exchange amongst each other.

Again.... this is not a rant, but an appeal to folks to be kinder to themselves. It was so hard for my sister to make the decision to not exchange gifts any longer. And I still miss getting her stuff because she was my very favorite person to buy for - she is quirky and creative and it was so much fun finding her gifts. And I still feel a little icky that I will not be giving my nephews and nieces gifts. And it was really difficult a few years back to ask my aunt if we could stop exchanging. And it was awkward to approach the subject with my cousin, too.

Regardless, now that we have done it, a huge weight was lifted off of all our shoulders. When we get together in a few weeks for our Mexican Christmas Buffet at my cousin's house, it will be nice to just focus on being together.


Average Jane said...

I'm sure as heck not going out into the retail world today. It's bad enough that I need to do a little grocery shopping after yoga class.

Our family goes back and forth on the gifts depending upon how broke everyone is. I sense that this year is going to be one where everyone gets everyone else a gift, but doesn't go overboard.

I'm still sticking with online ordering for most of it, though.

Dooneybug said...

I so wish that I could ask my husband's family to not exchange gifts. In fact, I've approached it before only to be given a look that I was growing a second head. So that flew over like a lead balloon. It's just so dumb to be exchanging a $20 gift for a $20 gift!! I'd prefer that the adults just skip the gifts and we can let the kids do the gift thing but we are the only ones with kids yet so I'd look like a greedy bitch if I suggested this.

I did go out this morning for a little bit but it wasn't to buy Christmas gifts - only to find some things at a good price that we could use and to get a boppy pillow to donate to the nursing mother's room at church. It wasn't that bad except at Kohl's where the line to check-out stretched halfway around the entire store. Insane!

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

My brother-in-law brought the gift-giving/holiday celebrating tradition into our family. We're still very small scale but it's nice. I like that we celebrate Christmas now, which we hadn't done since A and I were tiny.

Our family is so teeny though (and on top of that, cheapskates) that the gift-giving doesn't get out of hand.

Mamma Sarah said...

The only shopping that I did was go to Lowes with my dad to get the right screws for our handrail so we can finally put it back up. :-)

My family has agreed on one gift per person and even at that it's something meaningful or super special. My parents get the kids something they need, but they don't go all out. I'm sure as the family grows we will decide as adults to not give gifts, but for now it's still nice to open at least 1 thing. :-) It's all about the family and feasting and not the gifts though!

Shalini said...

I've finally decided to forgo gifts this year for a bunch of folks. It was amazing how relieved so many of my friends and family were when I broached the subject! People are still free to give Ashok gifts if they like, but I have requested books and no toys as we have already hit our plastic limit. I feel like a big, big weight has been lifted!

CPA Mom said...

due to money problems, we've had to ask everyone to honor our wish to not exchange presents this year.

and it is so HARD on my part not to pick up the "perfect" gift for my loved ones.