Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the true meaning.....

so i'm about to get a little deep here... hope you all don't mind....

today we packed up the kids and took them to the mall in their coordinated shirts to see santa. we got there around 1pm, and santa had just left to take a much needed lunch break..... so... we were forced to walk around the mall. we could have done the easy thing and taken the kids to the play area but it was packed with too many kids and germs and strollers for chris to handle so we went to the bookstore and walked around the mall instead. the book store was empty we killed some time there.... then walked around the malll. we were solicited to a minimum of 3 times. for dumb stuff.... flying helocopters, heated sacks of something.... curling irons, cell phones, the list goes on, you all know what i'm talking about right? you've all been there....

the solicitation and flashing lights, the sounds and smells of the mall are enough to push anyone completely off the edge... i mean, chris and i aren't big spenders, we live pretty modest lives. we drive used cars, i buy most all of our clothing on sale, in fact i usually by most of our household items on sale or at a discount store. the thought of spending money on gifts just because it's what we are supposed to do is just NOT sitting well. we encounter this delema each year..... and each year we end up being quite crabby about the whole process. which is really not how christmas is supposed to feel. right?

i mean, it's just jammed down our throats that we have to spend spend spend on gifts and tips and what-nots when i would so much rather take that money and spend it on my kids or pay some bills or put it into savings.

so once the kids were home and down for their naps, chris and i were enjoying a cup of coffee and discussing the gross and repulsive nature of the mall and the season when we came up with an idea.

a little background first: both of our families are quite small, we each have one sibling and only my brother is married. our kids are the only grandchildren. this year and last year we had decided to pull names for christmas. we each buy for that one person, we have a set limit. last year we just pulled names and went on our merry way. this year on one side we put our names on a slip of paper and listed a few suggestions for whoever pulled our name. on chris's side it had already been discussed that my mil wasn't planning on sticking to the rules of only buying for the person who's name she pulled. she didn't like the concept and is only playing along in theory... even though we told her that we would all prefer that she spend the money on the kids and that we don't need anything. her choice i suppose. however, chris and i are still not comfortable with this process. we both feel like the suggestions we recieved were rediculous and unnessesary. (read: underware and water gobblets.) then, during our conversation, i mentioned how i love to give gifts and i enjoy seeing people open the gifts that i give because i very rarely purchase a gift just to fullfill the void of a gift but i rather give something that i know that person would like. (read: knitted or handmade gifts.) so we have come up with an idea... however i'm not sure how to proceed.

since we've already pulled names in both families i'm not sure how to really bring the subject back up. i HAVE to do it on thursday or else the window will close. but our suggestion is going to be that we each need to scrap any ideas that involve going to the mall or stores. and instead we all need to get creative. i know that i won't have a problem doing this, but i'm nervous for a few family members.... i would like to urge anyone who has already shopped to return gifts and to instead think about the person they are to get something for, think about what they would like and make something. bake something, write something, arange to watch the kids for a night while chris and i have some time alone. ya know? somethings are priceless right?

however i feel like if i suggest this, a few family members are going to think we've either lost it or that we are being cheap. i don't want them to think that..... i just want to bring back the true meaning of the holiday.....

am i wrong to suggest how others purchase their gifts? am i wrong for requesting that people return their store bought items? should chris and i just proceed in this direction ourselves and not worry about how the rest of the family fullfills christmas wishes?

i hate to feel this way during the holidays. i love spending time with our families and it's become such a wonder filled time of the year since having children (max is totally into santa this year btw). i just want it to be stressless and painless and not revolve around shopping and the mall and the horrific and ugly commercially driven monster that it has become.

6 comments:

jen said...

I think it sounds nice in theory, but will probably go over better if you say, "Chris and I have decided to do this for these reasons and would love if you joined us." I say this for two reasons: some people don't like being told how to spend their time/money and even for those who love the idea, it may just be a little late in the year for them to pull it off the way they would like to. Who knows...maybe they'll surprise you! If I had a small family I'd totally do this...I just can never seem to pull it off with all the people on my list.

Anna said...

I'm with you. But no, you can't tell people how to spend their money and in our experience with D's family, people are very resistant to changing the status quo. More and more people are slowly coming on board with cutting back, but it does take time.

Michelle said...

Sounds like a great plan, but you'll be met with resistance because people just don't like to be told how to spend their money, you know? It's dumb, I know. It took us years to get to the point where we are in our gift gifting which is actually very minimal now and makes gift giving very pleasurable for me instead of stress inducing. In my wildest dreams, my family would suspend all gifts and donate to Heiffer Intl or something, but I know that will never fly. And now that we have a kid, you'd think we asked everyone to cut off an arm than cut down on buying:) I think the fact that you are down to pulling names is good. That's what we do and I am happy with it.

oh, and STAY AWAY FROM THE
MALL:) Phipps has Santa and that's where we go!

Amanda said...

I don't think everyone enjoys getting crafty for christmas. To have to put that much thought and then effort into a gift could really frighten off some. While your intentions are good I am not sure how well it would go over. Now if your family seemed to share similar views perhaps they could be talked into it. But somethings are hard to change.

BTW, you where at Robinson Mall weren't you? We went a couple weekends ago. I forgot it was nearly Christmas. All of the kiosks in the middle are out of control. Totally over crowded and annoying. I hate that mall.

Annie and Greg said...

I am thinking, lead by example. Give what you want to give and tell everyone why you choose to give that thing. There is something to be said to watching someone, particularly a child, open that one store bought present that they really really wanted. One year I got everyone in my family a small gift and also made each of them a card telling them about the reasons they were so important to have in my life. Everyone thought I was completely crazy but I didn't care. It was more important to me to show them love with those silly cards than to give them some stupid gift.

cara said...

to reply to all of you so far:

i agree, now that i've come down a bit, i too agree that it's a good theory but others might not respond well. therefore, i think we'll go forward with our handcrafted gifts and hope that others see the light in the future.

as one of you pointed out, others don't take well to being told how to spend their money... so i'm def. refraining from that.