Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Deal With It

The holidays burn me out.

It wasn't always this way.  I used to love to get the tree, pull out the ornaments, buy and lovingly wrap the gifts, cook the meals, make the eggnog, and go into a busy frenzy.

No more.  It's expensive.  It's exhausting.  It's emotionally draining.  For the first time ever, this year I have decided that each of my 6 grand children will get a $50 gift card from us.  They can do whatever they want with it.

I thought about going ahead and shopping for my youngest granddaughter, Abbey Rose.  She's still young enough to appreciate frilly and fabulous dresses.  This year she will purchase her own.  The twinge of guilt I feel over this is overshadowed by the twinge of delight I feel in not having to go to a big store and wander while I look frantically for something that "they will really like".  Nor will I have to lean over the kitchen table with rolls and rolls of wrapping paper, ribbons, and tape while I try unsuccessfully to make things look beautiful as I do my amateur wrap job.

I've pretty much decided that my son and his wife and my daughter and her husband will get bottles of Silver Oak Cabernet.  They all appreciate fine red wines.  The handful of friends we exchange gifts with will get nice bottles of wine also.  My cleaning woman and her daughter will get cash gifts.  In the past, I have gone to considerable lengths to purchase designer leather goods (bags) only to have them returned to me with the explanation that the recipient prefers the counterfeit bags to the real thing.

That leaves shopping for my husband Alex and our two dogs, Harry and Zoe.  Harry and Zoe are easy.  New collars and new chew toys will do just fine for them.  Alex's gifts may require a trip to a store.  He's a clothes horse and a techie.  I can find clothes he likes.  For the tech toys, I will leave him to his own devices.  I enjoy shopping for Alex because  I know what he likes and wants. 

I will host about 3 or 4  holiday dinners.  But rather than dinners for 12 people or more , I will limit them to a maximum of 6 people so that I don't have to open up the dining room table. 

Now that I have sorted this out for myself mentally, I feel less stressed.  (Yeah, I feel a little guilty, but you know what!  I'll get over it!)

43 comments:

  1. I'm with you - The Year of Less.  I'd be thrilled with a Silver Oak Cab!  Last year I put up at foot tall Charlie Brown tree, it worked out just fine.  

    thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

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  2.  Tami, it just reaches a point where it becomes a hassle.  Why not just tone it down an simplify!  Really!

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  3. I am all about simplifying.  The big difference here is...I don't feel guilty.  I am not doing dinner parties this year.  I will host Christmas Day for family.  I have bought toys for the grandkids because they are little. My big kids will get gifts but several were ordered on-line so I didn't have to go shopping.  I have a son-in-law that I am still struggling on what to give but in a pinch he will get a gift card. 

    My husband and I will exchange little token gifts but we always have a splurge item like a trip or major purchase that we call our "birthday, anniversary, Christmas present". 

    Yes, we are exceedingly dull and unimaginative.

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  4.  I'd rather just spend December in Bermuda, Cheryl.  We have stopped doing the "Christmas" thing at home because my kids split time with so many families.  (Plus, my kids are 42, and 45!)  My grandkids are 20, 18, 16, 16, 12, and 7.  I adore every one of the little monkeys, but I'm still not going out shopping!  Hah!

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  5. You have the right idea, and I applaud  you.  There is so much stress involved with the holidays.  The wrapping itself will kill ya.  At least your back.  And what numbskull prefers fake designer bags over the real thing?  Sheesh.

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  6.  Counterfeits annoy me, Jeanie.  I think they are dishonest.  I don't buy good bags or shoes for the "name" or the "symbol" on them.  I buy them for their beauty and workmanship and usually longevity too.  I don't like "fakes" or "counterfeit" anything.  I'm perfectly happy with a cotton sweater from Sears, but don't give me something you bought in Chinatown that says "Chanel" across the front of it.  Know what I mean?

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  7. I think you have a good plan!  We are flying home to the states for the holidays.  I'm eager because we haven't been home for Christmas since 2007, but at the same time, the holidays stress me out.  I hope I can behave!

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  8. Meg, I'm just taking it down a notch this year.  5 years is a long time away from home and family.  Sometimes, we are stressed over going back into it.  Chill, Baby!

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  9. I love shopping for other people almost as much as I love shopping for myself. :-) I also love cooking and the more, the merrier. That being said, if I could chuck it all and fly to... let's say... San Fransisco for the holidays, I'd do it in a heartbeat! Don't feel guilty about simplifying. You're entitled and really, it's all about being with the people you love and enjoying each others company.

    And about the alcohol, of course. 

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  10. Don't feel the slightest bit guilty, Linda! As kids get older, gift cards or cash are the best presents for them, although not any fun for us gift-givers! And "wrapping" gifts?? Kids today are so used to gift bags, they probably don't understand the love and talent that goes into a great wrapping ....not rapping! I hate to say it, but I'm not as excited about Christmas as I used to be...it's that darn age thing, I think. You have the best plans!! Enjoy!

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  11. Bah Humbug! I haven't thrown the towel in yet.I'm still going to do it all.And,in doing so,I'll probably have a nervous breakdown. I worked for it, I deserve it, and by God no one is going to deprive me of it.(The nervous breakdown that is.)

    One day, I will wise up and mature into your reality. Until, then  . . .

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  12. You WILL get over it.  It seems like decreasing the stress may make room for a more peaceful, more focused time.  Enjoy the season.

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  13. We cut back more every year and get happier with each change. The stress goes away and we can just enjoy family time.

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  14.  I'm not really throwing in the towel, Ann.  I'm just using a smaller towel.  I did the whole 9 yards for every year until now.  My kids are 45 and 42 years old.  The kids are from 7 to 20.  They have their own "family traditions" now, as it should be.  Alex and I are getting a little selfish and love our new "tradition" of dining together on Christmas Eve at a nice bistro and coming home to sip a little whiskey and open our gifts to each other while we listen to "The Messiah" on the radio.  It's civilized.  My dear friend and her husband host us for a Christmas Day buffet at their home in San Francisco most years.  Frequently, my kids are gone over Christmas so we do the 'get together' before or after.

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  15.  Thanks Becky.  I really think age has something to do with it.  But having grown kids, (45 and 42) changes things too.  We really are bringing it down a bit this year with the gift cards, but I just can't do the shopping malls before Christmas.  It exhausts me.

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  16.  Oh Sweetheart, if you were here, you and Max and Jepeto would have presents all wrapped in sparkly ribbons!  And alcohol and chicken mc nuggets of course!  Let me know when you are coming.  I need something to look forward to!

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  17. Thank you! You've given me the courage to do basically the same. I'm just plain tired out, especially with all the cooking. Sigh.....looks like this will be a much nicer Christmas for me after all.  Big Hugs!!!

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  18. That's a brilliant plan! Anything that eases the stress of the holidays and makes them easier to deal with is a great idea. 

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  19. What a good idea. My kids are still young and love presents, but my parents have decided only to give gifts for them and not for me or my siblings. And these days, my brother and sisters only buy birthday presents.

    Christmas is about fun and laughter and being together - not about stress!

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  20. Val, when my mother was alive, she kept doing all the holidays the same way she did when we were children.  Her firm belief was that you had to have piles and piles of gifts, food for an army, and the most decorations possible for a good Christmas.  We sort of grew up with that notion.  After she passed, I realized what pressure all that effort had put on her.  I'm not going there!  And you shouldn't either.  

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  21.  I stopped maxing out credit cards over Christmas a number of years ago.  But this is so much more enjoyable in the long run.  No more dreading the horrible bills in the mail!  Hah!

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  22.  Thanks Jay!  We do reach a point in life when we have everything we want.  Kids can always use money, let's face it!  I really don't mind shopping usually, but the holidays make it a nightmare. 

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  23.  My kids are 45 and 42.  They will probably enjoy a great bottle of Cabernet more than they would another blue sweater!  I still buy birthday gifts, but Christmas has just gotten too big!

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  24. I'm with you. I'm only giving gift cards too. I am not putting myself through the nightmare of shopping. Not happening. And I'm not risking getting sick over it.

    I am, however, feeling a lot more festive this year. Probably because I am NOT wasting my energy inside crowded stores.

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  25. I totally agree with downsizing Christmas!  Our list is short, our parents are all gone, I have no siblings and we have my husband's brother's family with a niece and nephew.  The kids will get $50 checks (there have been problems with gift cards such as VISA and MC).  My sister-in-law and I decided last year to stop doing presents between the adults and donate to the food bank and/or other charities.  That works nicely and she agreed we would do that this year also.  Where Christmas is concerned, bigger is not always better. 

     

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  26.  Amen, Linda.  I have siblings but we don't exchange at all anymore which is fine.  I just don't see buying a bunch of things that people don't even want to exchange for something I don't want and have it cost us all a fortune.  Not this year.  We'll see how it goes.

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  27.  Meleah, I know exactly what you mean.  This just makes more sense.

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  28. You mean Alex won't be happy with a new collar and a chew toy?
    People prefer the counterfeit to the real thing?
    It's wonderful when the stress is taken out of the holidays and you can really enjoy time with loved ones.

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  29. Oh SuziCate, I'm just wishing for April!

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  30. Whatever works for you, works.  I like smaller dinner gatherings too and I am trying to stress less.  I find that taking time to pick up one present every other day is better than trying to spend a couple of days exhausting myself by running from store to store.  And I'm using the internet.  Ahh.  Simplicity.

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  31. It's sad and annoying how stressful the holidays can be! My sister learned that first hand after having a baby. They have to go here, and there and oh don't forget about that house. Ugh. Here's to a relaxing holiday!

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  32.  I guess I'm not the only one who gets worn out with it, B.  Doing less will make it more fun and that's for sure!

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  33. Katherine KellesisDecember 3, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    No need to feel guilty!! It's not what the holidays are about!!! Good for you for taking a stand and putting your foot down :)

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  34.  I'm just thinking I should have done this sort of thing years ago.  I really just kept doing the same thing I did when my kids were young even after they were grown.  Pressure on myself.  Silly, really!

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  35. TheEquestrianVagabondDecember 4, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    good for you! the holidays are supposed to be about YOU too, not only everybody else.

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  36.  Alex and I will have a better time without all the running around shopping.  And I have some darling "Spirit Horses" to give my girlfriends thanks to a very talented young woman!  Thanks Merri!

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  37. We stopped all the nonsense years ago. Good for you for finding something that works for you and doesn't hurt anyone else. If they're offended, disinherit them. ;-)

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  38. I like getting gift cards for Christmas but my husband doesn't. But then again he doesn't appreciate any gifts gotten for him.

    Gift cards are great. Simple to buy and simple to buy things with. That way I'm not stuck returning a gift I will never use.

    How have you been? It's been awhile. :-)

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  39.  Hey Kiddo!  Good to see you here!  I like gift cards when it's like a "American Express" gift card.  I don't really love them if it's for someplace like $10 for a little shop 40 miles away from me.  (But the truth is, I can pass those on.)  I'm keeping out of trouble and will be over at your place to check you out!

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  40.  I think the stress of trying to "do" so much just isn't worth it.  And the grandkids can always use money for shopping.

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