Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gift giving

After Christmas I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on gifts. I think we all have alot of angst over gifts and their meanings and MONEY!

I know I LOVE to buy a gift for someone I know well. I have even enjoyed the years when I got a name in the family drawing that was a challenge. Even if I don't know the person well, I can search my mind for that little thing they have said or mentioned. I still remember the gifts I bought 11 Christmases ago when Jay and I were about to be married. I bought for his whole family. I do not remember EACH gift, but most. I worked hard to learn a few thins about each person and use those thoughts. I do not have alot of money to spend so I have to be creative.

I feel we often get so caught up in 'equality', my dollar equalling your dollar or having to give and receive. A gift should be a GIFT, no strings. If we are all just randomly spending 20 dollars per person and buying stuff we may or may not like, why not just go out to dinner together or spend our money elsewhere and just BE together?

I spent MORE this year on Jay than ever, but it wasn't about the money. We got the new farm and I wanted him to have the 'stuff', so he got boots, a chainsaw and a few little other things. That is him above letting Duncan do the ripping while he cheeses about the chainsaw.

I gave the 'cheapest' gift EVER to my best gal pal, Daryl. I bought it this summer at a YARD SALE. It was something she would LOVE, though and I love having a friend who loves inexpensive gifts as much as expensive ones. One day I may be wealthy and buy things that are expensive AND meaningful, for now meaninful and thoughtful are what I strive for.
I bartered a dog grooming for riding lessons for my friend Shelly. She loved it and I honestly admit it was less than altruistic. None of my local friends are riders and Shelly loves horses and wants to ride, but MORE I want her to ride so she can come ride with me and enjoy the woods. So my real gift to he is trail riding with ME! How selfish???

Duncan got the wagon he wanted from "Santa" and he has been putting it to good use on the farm. I think this gift will endure many years and bring fond memories each one.

I know of people who sacrifice paying bills and even mortgage payments to buy gifts. This mortifies me. If I love you enough to exchange gifts with you I love you enough to NOT get one for you to keep your things/home. A gift given b/c we HAVE to is no gift AT ALL. I say this because at my dad's family gathering there was sum hub-bub about a portion of the family potentially losing their home. With 20 some family members I counted they could have easily paid a payment. What sort of family would we be if we wanted gifts more than security for them?

I think this is the BEST time to plan for next years gift season. Make your rough list, make a budget and start saving. Also put on the list things you KNOW about that person. You may find the perfect gift at a thrift shop or yard sale.

For me it is as simple as being PERSONAL! I hate the 'office exchange' where you don't know for whom you buy. It puts MORE stress on the giver, IMO. Now, be sure to say thanks for all your gifts this year and maybe even get yourself some Thank you notes out.

Happy New Year to you all!


Chai on the Fly said...

I LOVE your way of thinking. So smart.

My husband and I are starting to take money out of each month's pay this year just to budget for Christmas. That sounds crazy to me. We kept track of how much we spent this year so we would know what to budget for next. We don't spend a lot on each person, but we have a lot of people we buy for.

I wish everyone would agree to one year of no gifts. Just family and friends hangin' out. Wouldn't that be grand? :)

Happy New Year!

Jessica Martiele said...

I'm blog-hopping and came across your blog, and let me tell you, I completely agree...even so much so that almost all our Christmas gifts and crafts this year began with a trip to the thrift store, and Christmas was as Merry as ever! AAAAAAAAAHHH, there is no better feeling that keeping a zero balance on a credit card! (Even if you have to scrimp and save and cut corners to do it!) Thanks for sharing your views...especially since they're views that I share! Happy New Year!