Sunday, November 2, 2008

Holiday Gift Stress

Are any of you out there already feeling the holiday stress yet? I saw a countdown on someone's blog today and there are 54 days until Christmas. This means four paychecks to be able to buy Christmas gifts. I have not started shopping yet.

I sent my family an email three weeks ago to get gift ideas and I have not had a reply except a phone call from my sister cause my mom thought I was mad or depressed based on my email. No clue what that was about.

This lack of communication happens every year and I get completely frustrated and stressed out because I wait for a list from people so I can get something they would genuinely like. I set money aside to buy gifts and sometimes end up having to go shopping the last week before the holiday. It makes me absolutely nuts.

I am pretty strapped for cash this year and have come up with gift ideas for all of my family members that I can make. I think handcrafted items (knit and sewn) would be great for Christmas and certainly just as thoughtful as a book or DVD or CD on someones wish list. For some inexplicable reason though, this makes me feel guilty. I worry they won't like it and want to return it - sorry no gift receipt. I am really uncertain where this is coming from but I feel incredibly guilty.

For the last several years the meaning of Christmas for me has really become lost. I hate how commercial it has become. I hate how obligated I am made to feel to buy something for someone because of the holiday. I hate having those thoughts and feelings. I truly don't know what to do about it.

What do all of you give for gifts? Handcrafted only? A combination? Do you still exchange gifts with your parents and siblings? Help!


Sharyn said...

We announced about 20 years ago that we weren't doing gift exchanges any more, and would everyone please not gift us. The first year was difficult because some people gifted us anyway. The immediate instinct was to run out, get something to give them. I didn't though, I just send a nice thank you card for the thoughtfulness, hope you all had a nice holiday. There weren't any repeats the ND Christmas :-) I'm thankful every year for this decision and I'm sure the rest of the family is too. Good luck! Sharyn

Jenn said...

I'm doing some handmade and some store-bought. I know that some people on the list won't appreciate handmade, so why waste my time? And if somebody asks me for a gift card because they are saving up for a riding lawnmower (like my sister and BIL), I'm not going to say "Oh, too bad, I knit you this dishtowel set isntead." (Side note: they are going to be saving for a riding lawnmower FOREVER.)

Before my grandfather died 4 years ago, we exchanged gifts with everyone on my mom's side. Cousins, aunts, uncles, they all got a gift. It was crazy expensive and I always hated standing around in stores looking for pants for Uncle Bob. I guess in years past, someone had brought up the idea of drawing names and just buying that person a gift, but it was shot down. Anyway, after my grandfather died, we had a discussion at the next Thanksgiving and decided that instead of gifts, we would give money to charity and go out for dinner instead. So much less stress!

Frugal Trenches said...

I always make the most fuss of my mum, because I think a. parents do so much for us, b. she is a widow and c. she won't treat herself.
I try to get her a couple of things she needs plus things she'd love that she wouldn't treat herself to, plus I do a stocking with her favourite bits & pieces. She wouldn't like anything I could make her, she simply isn't that way inclined.
Then, I buy for my little cousin but not aunts & uncles.
Apart from that I focus on a couple of friends, usually the ones who either don't have or don't have someone to make them feel special at Christmas. I try to keep purchasing gifts to under 8people, but always send nice cards and letters. This year I plan to make things for at least 3 friends.