Saturday, September 12, 2009

Christmas Angst and Giveaways

Groceries: including 4 lbs chicken, 10 containers Yoplait, bananas, Julia food (Gerber stuff) and other food I can't remember totaling $24.33.
Gift: $25

I have subscribed to quite a number of blogs, and I do love it. Even if I only check in once a day, I have oodles of blogs to read. Sometimes when certain people post I feel like I need to grab some popcorn and get ready for a fun time. I guess it's like when a new book by your favorite author comes out. (Hey, my life isn't all that exciting. Good blog reading is about the highlight of my day.)

What makes me sigh are the giveaway posts. It's a way bloggers earn exposure, I suppose. They have some product and you get a chance to win it if you promote their blog by promoting it on your blog.

I suppose if I had something worthwhile and was into blogging for actual exposure and revenue, I might take pleasure in giving away crap that's just taking space around my house. Or stuff that a manufacturer sends to me in the hopes that I will give the manufacturer exposure. But at this point in my life, I just find the whole giveaway thing nonsensical; however, I read all those posts because I think there's something important I might miss if I don't.

You know, the idea of giving away stupid crap taking up space in my house is starting to look very appealing.


It is only September, and I am already quaking in my clogs about Christmas. Oh how I wish I could go into hiding for Christmas.

1 - I am the worst gift giver ever. I like practical gifts myself, so I tend to give practical gifts. Most people hate practical gifts. Fine, then I'm cool with making people cookies as gifts. Oh, cookies are practical and you're on a diet? Blah. Gift card? Gift cards aren't 'personal' enough? Oh, for heaven's sake!

2 - I don't ever know what to get for my husband. Yes, I know him. I know his likes and dislikes. But that still doesn't make it any easier. Friends and family are in that same category. It doesn't help that I don't like to shop. I rarely wander around stores aimlessly, so I don't happen to ever bump into anything that would be just perfect for ____.

3 - I never know what to get for my mother. She never wants anything or needs anything. And she gets mad if you don't give her what she wants. Yes, she has stopped talking to people over the Christmas gifts people give her. It's a lost cause, which probably created all of my Christmas angst to begin with.

4 - One year my mother asked what we wanted. She insisted on getting us something. So I told her a set of bowls we can microwave. We did get microwavable bowls. They were kinda funky - that green tinted glass. Not so much a fan of them, but they work. See, we're not on the same wavelength. I'd like to pick out my own bowls. She'd like to pick out her own toaster oven. Let's just not exchange gifts anymore.

5 - Due to my awful gift giving and persistent angst over Christmas, I keep suggesting we do NOT exchange gifts. With S's parents, we've made that agreement before. And then they give us blue silk pillows for our green couch, and we don't have anything to give them. ARGH!

6 - I know, it's the thought. And gosh I think hard about all this. The family politics, the appropriateness of gifts, the stupidity that gift giving takes center stage to the religious holiday.

7 - I would love to model that it's the holiday season of generosity and helping out the less fortunate that makes it so wonderful. I'd like to take Julia to help in a shelter. I'd like us to go visit someone who is in a nursing home that doesn't have grandkids. Hmmm, Julia's probably too young for the homeless shelter, but I bet she isn't too young to take her to the nursing home. We could pick a person off the tree and bring them cookies and a new blanket. I like that idea.

Now if I can solve my other Christmas dilemmas, I'll be set.


Scrapping in Circles said...

Nursing homes LOVE to have children come. The residents are so sweet to them. Also, the Salvation Army has an Adopt-A-Family program. We participate in this every year and LOVE IT!!! Another idea is the Toys for Tots program with the USMC. You just buy toys and put them in the bins that are in most stores. These are great ways to teach Miss J the spirit of the season. Plus, nursing homes can be visited year round and they actually prefer visiters in the off seasons because they don't get them very often then.

As for gift giving, I think the in-laws can be difficult too. I rarely get anything I like (except sometimes money) and I am never sure what to give. My dh is great at picking out gifts, but rarely does it. Maybe that is why he is good...he only does it when he can think of something to give someone.(=
Good luck!!!

Leigh Ann said...

I've done a couple of giveaway posts on my blog...didn't win anything. The only one I'd ever do again is my SIL's blog if she does another. Just cause I support her :0) And she has a really nice blog even if my home will NEVER be like hers...

Christmas will be a challenge this year. It will be our last "hard candy Christmas." Next year we will be out of debt!!! And it seems like this year is especially challenging for some reason. I told Ricky yesterday we CAN get through this winter and holiday season. I just have to be on my toes and work a little bit harder to find the deals out there. I am treating it like a game. Seeing just how little I can get by with spending this season. If I don't make if fun like that, I will most certainly have a nervous breakdown. on!

Ryan, Corrie, and Max said...

Oh, big hugs, girl!
1) I love giveaways. =) I haven't hosted or thrown any, but I've won bunches of great stuff! (See Kai Run shoes, for example.)

2) Gift-giving. My parents "came up" the idea of giving their time as a present. My grandparents are AWFUL to buy for. Have everything, don't have it, they can buy it. So my parents give of their time (and some money) and take them to dinner and a lot of times, a concert or performance. Normally just dinner. Yeah, my grandparents can afford it perfectly well on their own. But it's like a set date, you know? And you could even (depending on distance) do it as "once a month" thing or on special days.
We're getting my FIL a GC to Bonefish Grill for Christmas. And I'm sure some other small things, but what do you get for the guy who has everything?
We're also hoping to get this calendar I saw in a catalog that looks like you can slide a picture into it for each month, and then we plan on sending a new picture of the kids every month, so it stays relatively up to date. (does that make sense?!? Geez, I'm rambling.)
You could make a rule that all gifts this year have to be from a yard sale, a thrift store, or re-gifted. =) You could even say they have to be FUNNY or random or something.
Just some ideas!

Miss J's Mom said...

Good idea, N! I'm going to have to take Julia to meet a new elderly friend.

LA, maybe your friends and family would like to do a lower-key Christmas without lots of presents.

Corrie, maybe if I won something I would feel differently. Ha! I never win ANYthing. :) Great suggestion on a white elephant gift exchange. At work we do something like that where we exchange tacky gifts. Everyone tries to out-tacky each other.

Melissa said...

Our family loves doing the white elephant thing! It becomes a big challenge with the gift stealing and stuff. Everyone in our group gives great gifts! One year we had a really nice Armor-All gift set that was a hit with the men and women and that same year there was a kick butt candle basket, a gift card to an awesome local purse and jewelry place that was in a cute wallet with a picture of the couple's baby.
Ummm...we've had an emergency roadside kit, and then my favorite one I gave was a cute bucket with microwave popcorn, a couple of bottled Cokes, some movie sized candy, a gift card to a local movie rental place and a Cinemark gift card. We have a lot of young couples and that was a hit!

On the nursing home idea, our local home has an adopt a senior tree. Some of the seniors have no family and really need slippers, robes, pjs, etc and the workers usually chip in and get them something. I did this one year and gave the lady tons of clothes and some candy and things. While visiting, someone mentioned that she really loved getting any kind of mail. So, I started sending cards once per week and every now and then, she got a worker to send one back.
Come to think of it, I want my kids to do that this Christmas! (I did that WAY before kids)

Miss J's Mom said...

Melissa, you guys really do have great gifts for your exchange. It would be easier if we were responsible for one "good" gift and had a fun exchange. We will suggest it!

Thanks for the support on the nursing home idea. I think it would be great to have an elderly friend to visit.