Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How to Make Christmas Happy

       Here's the truth.  I would like Christmas a whole lot better these days if we didn't have the gift giving tradition.  Don't get me wrong.  I like the idea of giving gifts.  It's just that it feels as if gift giving has become so hollow.  Maybe it's just my world but gifts don't seem to have the same impact nor satisfaction as they did in the past.

     When the kids were little, it was wonderful to plan the Christmas gift scene.  The whole Santa Claus mystery was a delicious event in which to participate.  To play along with the Santa magic made the season so much fun and so rewarding.  It was gratifying  to imagine their excitement and to wrap gifts and to hide them and to be apart of the Santa story.   I enjoyed making their wishes become reality and their wishes were many and varied.  You couldn't go wrong.  

      But that's the rub.  The kids are grown up now.  It's tough to know what they might like.  I don't trust myself to select from clothing styles and the toys that they like are uber expensive.  I can certainly find books that I imagine they would like but it is all in my imagination.  Besides, neither adult child appears to have much time for old fashioned reading.  Certainly there are little knick knack things out there but how many rings or bracelets does a 24 year old woman need and how many magnets or goofy firemen does a 26 year old guy need?  I could give them cold hard cash but I do that all the time.  Where is the surprise in that?  Where is the sweetness and the personal touch in that?  Ditto gift cards - same thing only different.  So gift giving becomes problematic.  I could just wrap up the practical things:  shampoo, or packages of Trader Joe noodles or maybe a calendar or some kitchen tools.  Whoo hoo. 

      Ditto the husband.  I used to get him shirts and ties but now he never wears them (can you say retired?) and so why bother?  I used to get him food items but I don't want him gaining any more weight so I've nixed that too.  I always get him (us) an Ansel Adams calendar for the kitchen - it's a tradition, for goodness sakes!  Books are a possibility but, like the kids, he is not a big reader of books. Additionally,  just because I might like a book is no reason he will.  I don't trust my instincts on that anymore.  Too many mistakes. He's also the last person I would imagine who wants or needs knick knacks.  He likes office supplies but he stocks up all the time.  GRRRRRRRR

     See what I mean?  I am at a loss and every year it gets worse.  Every year I feel bad becasue I want to participate in the gift giving thing with these three people but it feels like a waste of money.  AND, I know they are looking for something "special" for me too.  Really, if I could pull the rug out from under the gift thing (at least for immediate family), if I could take that expectation away, I would enjoy both the prelude to Christmas and the whole Christmas Day thing a lot more.  Failing that, give me some fresh ideas.  Don't include anything that speaks to gardening, the arts, personal adornment, food, reading material, sports equipment, office supplies, music, car parts, clothing, knick knacks, pets, and on and on and on.  Please.


  1. I have been sitting on this one for eighteen hours now, but if I wait another eighteen million hours, my message would be the same. I chose one little phrase out of it all to address for the minute. "The kids are grown now. It's tough to know what they might like." Let me help you out here. If it is wrapped in Christmas paper, and has her name on it, she will like it. 'Nuff said.

  2. You know you are darn right. I gotta not take this thing so flipping seriously. I can have fun with lightness and limits and what the heck. It's not the end all and the be all. It's just for fun. Yahoo!

  3. Get Mikey a new clippers for his garden; don't scrimp-get him the Cadilac of clippers and see if that doesn't work. Better than a tie, any day. And a twenty-six year old guy needs as many magnets as he has pictures of his girl friend. If he doesn't have enough pictures, take some with that camera that you are always using for trees. BTW, when you are taking picture of trees this December, you better remember to send a picture of your Christmas tree to me. And A 24 year old woman needs as many rings as you need pairs of boots. Some are good-more are better. Get to work.

  4. I've found the best way to deal with xmas is to drink heavily and darken the house as much as possible...
    Doesn't work for everyone though...

  5. But if the house is dark, doesn't that make the lights from the tree stand out? :) :) :)

  6. Mr A: That dark place is cold too. Build a fire somewhere and lighten and warm your world at the same time.