Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fun Monday - Black Friday?

Julie's last week as host for Fun Monday is a timely topic - Christmas Shopping!
When do you start your Christmas shopping? Do you already have it done? Who is the hardest person to buy for? AND...when do you do your wrapping? Or does Santa do your shopping?

First, let me say this: I HATE SHOPPING.

There used to be places I didn't mind shopping - Sears, JCPenney, but only if it wasn't crowded. Then for some reason they decided to add more racks of stuff so that you can't move through the store without brushing up against stuff. And instead of having a checkout in each department, they've centralized it so that everyone has to stand in a bunchy line that takes forever. I don't do that. So I never shop those stores anymore.

Online shopping is okay, but you don't get to see or touch or feel what you're buying until after it's too late. Unless it's a known quantity, I'm not keen on it.

Black Friday holds no appeal for me whatsoever as it seems to cram all the things I dislike about shopping into one horrifying event.

This year, I'm trying something different. I'm making Christmas for a few people. Small tokens of love and esteem and friendship. Buying things is strictly reserved for the couple of children in my life. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't appreciate a hand-sewn anything at this point in their lives, favoring things like video games or music or gift cards that let them choose their own. I'm also highly in favor of giving books (or gift cards for books).

The crass commercialism has made Christmas my least favorite holiday. I love the sentiments, the food, the singing, and all the candles - but the gift-giving has gotten so out of hand, a grabbing of stuff that I truly despise.

My favorite Christmas was the year we were all poor. My dad had been let go (early retirement) from his job. My husband was in his third or fourth year of being laid off, my brothers were all struggling. So we decreed a no-gift Christmas. Our tradition of going in together to get the parents a gift did not go by the wayside though - instead, we wrote stories of our favorite Christmases growing up and put them into a little book for them. There was no pressure or oneupmanship or disappointment in presents given or received. We got together, we ate, we talked and laughed. It really was the best Christmas ever. I wish they were all like that.

Next week, I begin my Christmas projects. I hope they will be received in the spirit it was given. With love.


Molly said...

I am not wild about shopping either. I agree Christmas has turned into a commercial event rather than a celebration of the birth of Jesus. I do appreciate handmade gifts. One of my favorite giving years was a year that we had little funds. However, since I did not work, I had time. I designed and made needlepoint covers for address books for the people on my list. Although not an artist, I personalized these covers, stitching a giraffe on my SIL's cover and violets on my MIL's cover. The address books were well-received by one and all.

Jo said...

I went to Walmart on Black Friday evening (after the crowds thinned) to pick up some things and noticed that for their busiest shopping day of the year they'd filled all the aisles with extra displays of things - - pajamas, DVDs, etc... So even though there weren't that many people there, it still felt plenty crowded.
I wish I was more of a night owl, then I'd shop between midnight and 4am like my friend does.

You have the right idea about Christmas and the presents you give will last longer than the ones purchased at stores. I'm also glad to see that you have plenty of common sense and understand that kids do need a toy or two during the season. So many people go overboard in one direction or the other.

Jill said...

Oh Sayre, you're right on track for next week, if you stop by you'll see! Next week will be a perfect 'topic' for you!

Faye said...

I agree with you so much about the materialistic frenzy of the holiday season. It just turns me off all together. The most memorable Christmases for me is when I did what you're doing this year. Getting out the sewing machine, getting in the kitchen or craft supplies and spending time rather than money on the people I love.

I hope your family and friends love the gifts you create for them, Sayre.

~sWaMpY~ said...

I'm not shopping this year...I'm going to Mexico and drink tequila.

Native Mom said...

I always give books for Christmas, especially to the kids. It may not make me the most popular mom and aunt around, but I'm sure they'll thank me one day.

The best Christmas gift I've given in years is the calendar I made for my 90-year old grandma last year. I created it on Snapfish and used all our family photos and put everyone's birthdays on it. She was thrilled with it and had no idea how easy it was for me to make.

I have to say, it was rather optimistic of me to give my 90-year-old grandmother a calendar. Oops, did I just say that out loud?

Sandcastle Momma said...

I've noticed the same thing. I've had trouble finding the real joy in Christmas for the past few years. Being financially challenged I seem to spend the whole season stressed about money. This year I'm taking a page from your book - homemade gifts and lots of love.

Jan n Jer said...

The joy of Christmas is over powered by the ads and items to be bought. I also liked it much better when times were simpler and the focus was more on family then gift giving. I love homemade gifts, most every year I make a little something to give to my friends n neighbors.

Sandy said...

Last year, we were "cash impaired" and I made potholders for Christmas. These particular potholders are from an old pattern that my mom used to make with yarn scraps and they are, if I do say so myself, wonderful. In fact, I was mentioning to my daughter how much easier this year was and she said, "But I WANT more potholders!"

The yarn is out.

gayle said...

I agree with your post! I use to love shopping when I was younger and my girls were little. Now it's just a pain. Even buying for my grandson. I just don't know what to get anyone. Christmas would be much better if it weren't for the shopping!

Pamela said...

I could have written this.. but I'm not making any gifts.
In years past I have done that -- and it wasn't a successful venture.

But I hate shopping. Love the sentiment. Hate the commercialism.

Hope you take photos of your projects and post them after they have been opened.