It’s December, as you are all aware; thus begins the frenzied shopping and crowded malls and shops. Filled with people who are more stressed than they are merry making the holiday season feel its been high-jacked by commercialism. This is what one faces at this time of year if you head out to the stores. Oh and heaven forbid you not be a participant in the madness! If you mention you’re not participating in buying gifts, or you’re cutting back, people assume there’s something wrong with you. Suddenly it’s not so cool to be non-materialistic. I’ve stopped mentioning to store clerks I’m only doing this for family and that I find the whole holiday season to be far too concerned with how much you spend on people, somehow an indication of your love/liking for them (not in those words though!).
What if you’re unemployed or on a fixed income? I’m not employed and feel more than a
little stressed trying to meet others’ expectations. I’ve had to scale back on who gets a gift at all since I haven’t got a healthy bank account. In some ways I am more aware of the absurdity of our mainstream culture’s shopping habits this time of year, but in other respects I feel I’ll be letting some people down. Yes, I could pretend I have cut back on the scale of my gift giving because of my philosophical beliefs but that would be disingenuous. Like most Westerners in North America, I enjoy giving gifts to people and happily receive them; however, when you’re on a tight budget there’s little joy in it. Each person I buy for becomes a mental burden as I attempt to find something I think they’ll like(in a price range I can afford). Economics really kill the spontaneity of it.
Unfortunately, I have a sister who equates gifts with love (I suppose it’s her ‘love language’). So I end up feeling like I need to apologize for a less than extravagant gift to her. She out spends her budget on gifts so doesn’t understand why other people can’t go without on something to manage doing the same. It sort of peeves me. Not all of us want to go without on whatever it might be to have more money to splash out on gifts. I know I’m probably coming off as a Scrooge type character but it’s hard to feel enthusiastic when you can’t buy the item you know the person on your list would love. Instead you/I get good at being creative gift’rs.
If I baked or knew how to knit, sew, etc. I could make my gifts. But I’m about as useful with
a recipe or pair of knitting needles as I am with a saw cutting wood. So that option is out. I rather envy the people who can make people mittens or a scarf etc. for their gift. It’s usually inexpensive but shows the person obviously cares, as it takes a lot of time to make most items. I think if I had things my way I’d not do the gifting at all. However, that feels Scrooge like and I don’t want to be miserly and uncaring towards people, especially my family and friends. It just gets stressful at times.
I know I could offer my babysitting services to my sister as a present but I worry about being asked to do a crappy “shift” where I’m left almost missing the last bus home (and I live too far away to walk). Okay, so I suppose if I’m brutally honest it’s because I am selfish and enjoy my time being mine. Offering my child care services would add in an element of background stress as I fretted about when I might be called upon. I really believe being on call for four years for two jobs I didn’t like very much ruined me. After four years of feeling like you never have any time that’s legitimately your’s it becomes too easy to write off ever doing anything similar again. As an introvert I NEED time to MYSELF. Alright that was a long way of explaining why I’m not offering child care to my sister as a gift.
So what are your feelings around the holiday season? Do you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, or something else? Or nothing at all? How do you cope with the chaos that often accompanies this season? Have you stopped gifting or decided you’re going to celebrate the way you want to? I’d love to know!
- Holiday Gifts That Give Back (dailyfinance.com)
- The Man’s Guide to Christmas Shopping (writerzblockblog.wordpress.com)
- The Celebrate Like Scrooge Christmas Gift Exchange (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- homemade christmas gifts (daybydaymasterpiece.com)
- Affording Your Gift-Giving This Holiday Season (cashnetusa.com)