...so I guess that marks Christmas as ‘done’.
Hoping for a similar Christmas and New Year period next year, without the stressy crap that led up to it. 3 years ago
Shop for Fun is an online fashion game where you build a dream wardrobe and create outfits to win Amazon gift certificates.
...so I guess that marks Christmas as ‘done’.
Hoping for a similar Christmas and New Year period next year, without the stressy crap that led up to it. 3 years ago
This was an even more difficult Christmas than usual, but we managed to pack in all sorts of things (because, again, it’s not all about the giving of stuff).
Baking Christmas cookies, rolling truffles, seeing friends and more of our families than usual, the great tree chopping (Isak went with Grandma & Grandpa), watching annual movie favorites, taking silly Santa photos, giving to the less fortunate (donations & food bank), Christmas parties, decorating the shrub, finding special gifts, Isak’s pre-school party where all the kids sung carols, going to a festive 3D movie, driving around at night to see the lights… we tried to do a bit of everything. One of the nicest parts was just having some down time together. We really needed to decompress a bit.
Presents were less plentiful than usual, but we’d all agreed on that – we tried to keep it to thoughtful or useful things – specific books, bath pleasures, teas, things to stoke creativity and learning, things like the lovely blown glass hummingbird feeder to help my parents attract a particular bird they’ve been wooing, etc.
Instead of a bunch of stocking knick-knacks, we got everyone their own itty bitty colorful pouch that turns into a big bag for groceries (or library books or whatever). We’ve used ours repeatedly already. Another plan was the custom glass coasters made from photos I’d taken, although I didn’t manage to print everything out in time, they’re now on their way.
My favorite gift that panned out was getting a hold of some old home movies (on film) that Markus had never seen. They’d been in the basement at his parents house for decades, and his dad mentioned wanting to watch them together, but he passed away before they had the chance. I found a place that converts film to dvd and dropped a couple of them off. They weren’t supposed to be ready in time, but I got a package in the mail just before Christmas! (Not only that, it had somehow gone to the wrong house – north not south – and the neighbor up the street re-directed the mailman who took the time to bring it by instead of it vanishing into mail oblivion.)
~ The photo is from Christmas Eve. After we got back from visiting one branch of the family, Isak (with his new friend; a gift from his Auntie that he named “Bearie Caution”) and Markus fell asleep together on the couch while I nibbled homemade biscotti and wrapped presents by the light of the yuletide log channel.
It was a good, meaningful, full-of-love Christmas. 3 years ago
of my best holiday seasons ever.
Time spent with my partner,
and the adventure of time invested with relaxation
the main hope…
I wish every year to be the same wonderful
schedule of togetherness 3 years ago
How I did it: First year, in not exchanging gifts with either side of the family. As a result, I didn't need to go into the shopping craze and find gifts. It was one of the most relaxing Decembers ever!
My BFF did our yearly donate to a charitiable organization in lieu of gifts. So I got her $50 worth at the local food bank and she got me $50 worth at the local cancer assocation.
Looking forward in doing this again next year to enjoy the relationships and quality time again vs headaches and craziness that is usually associated during this time of year. Read how I did it… 3 years ago
This year I shopped only purchasing what was needed. My usual list of recipients were cut down to my immediate family but everyone else got cards. To see my family’s face on receiving the things they needed was so much more worthwhile than them getting a bunch of things that they may not necessarily use. It was nice to give with a purpose in mind. 3 years ago
My youngest daughter (lunaGirl )and I baked and cooked for a week straight. We made gift baskets for everyone and just didn’t get all caught up in “Christmas Shopping” Everyone just got big ole food baskets. The best part about that was spending time with my daughter. It was fun cooking and baking with her and we laughed about a lot of things and talked about when she was little and when I was little. It was very special for me this year.
Even Mr. HC got caught up in the spirit of the season and this goal and paid the difference for a woman in front of him at the store who didn’t have enough money for her purchases and started putting things back. She was just buying food and toys (and he noted it was all cheap stuff . . . nothing over the top) and when she ran out of money, she started putting toys back. It cost hinm around $30 to help her out, but he said the look on her face was priceless. She told him he had just made a little boy’s christmas possible.
Meaningful giving . . . We did it and we are going to do it again!!! 3 years ago
I sent each family two loaves of bread. Everyone loved it!
I’m also making two types of fudge and two types of brownies tonight and tomorrow. I bought some Christmas cans at Wal Mart the other day. Thought it would be a good idea to give them as gifts to some friends of the family. We’ll see how that goes. :) 3 years ago
It’s actually on the expensive side to buy all the ingredients, pans or jars if you’re doing that, etc. Plus all the time and love that goes into it.
I’m just sayin’. 3 years ago
This is probably the most relaxed I have ever been for Christmas.
Two things that I have done to better enjoy this holiday season, is to speak with both my and my hubbie family to discourage gifts. We are all financially sound and don’t need anything. Instead with my side, we celebrated each Advent Sunday at a local cafe/restaurant where we had brunch and were able to spend some time together and reflect and took turns paying the bill as this was our present to each other.
Secondly, my BFF and I started this 2 years ago where by instead of giving each other gifts. We would donate the money we would spend on each other to a local or national charity of our choice. This year, I donated $50 in her honour to our local food bank (last year, I donated to the national Raise-A-Reader Foundation and the year before I donated to the JDRF – Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). So it is like a win-win situation, my friend still gets a gift and so does a worthy cause and we celebrate by having a couple drinks and cheering each other.
What are you doing this Christmas?> 3 years ago
with the “purchases” this year. I tried to be more mindful of what to get each person on my list. I didn’t spend as much as I have in the past which is always good for the pocket book. 3 years ago
my gifts have been very small and have included donations in each person’s honor.
The boy is getting a video series he asked for, two books (one used but in good condition), and a donation of books in his name (from the Wish Tree at a local book store, because he loves to read). Plus some stocking stuffers, though I am stumped about what kind of “homemade” stocking stuffers to give him…ideas welcome! Trying to stay away from too many baked things for him, because he is worried about his weight and trying to eat fewer goodies than he usually does. Hmmm…maybe I can put together some healthy recipes he can make for himself, print them out, and give him his own “cookbook?” Is that dorky for a preteen boy?
Mom is getting something very small for her kitchen (she loves to cook), a photo of my boy, and I donated to Second Harvest in her name (since we went through a period when I was a kid when we depended on food banks).
Dad and his wife are getting a photo of my boy, a donation to a needy teenager (because my dad was a “needy teenager” and child), and a donation to a Mexican orphanage (because my stepmom used to live in Mexico) in their names.
I’d give them baked goods, too, because they love it when I give them cranberry bread or chutney, but they live several hours away and I won’t be seeing them this time around.
My Man occasionally visits 43T (he’s still thinking about whether he’ll open an account), so I can’t tell you what I got him…
In-laws and the ex are getting small gifts like photos and baked goods and donations to causes that they support. Also for my ex, he really wanted a new lens for his camera that he couldn’t afford, so everyone in the family is contributing a few bucks each to get him that. (My ex and I do exchange gifts, and I still exchange gifts with his family.) I feel fine about that gift – even though I still have some issues with my ex, he does do a lot of nice things for me throughout the year, so showing my appreciation by contributing to something he would really like that is out of reach for him is still, in my mind, meaningful giving.
Plus, my ex, my son, and I all contributed my son’s old bicycle to a family I know through work who is having a hard time financially. It’s an expensive bike that my dad bought for my son a few years ago, in very good condition because my soon grew out of it quickly, and we decided to give it away rather than sell it. My ex cleaned the chain, cleaned up the bike, and delivered it, so the boy is getting it as a surprise Christmas gift.
So, I did buy some small gifts for people, but they are for the most part very small, and I spent more on donations to charities than I did on gifts. I’ve always done this with my dad and stepmom, but it wasn’t until the last few years of my marriage that I started practicing it with the rest of the family. It’s been quite a difficult agenda to push given that the tradition has always been to shower so many gifts on each other that it takes two days to open them. This mostly came from my ex’s family as an expression of generosity from them, which of course is very nice, but my mom always felt self-induced pressure to keep up, as did we, and although it’s definitely so thoughtful and generous, I always felt a little weird about it. Even though I know it comes from a place of generosity, I just have an issue with that pressure to buy for the sake of buying.
The nice thing is, after practicing this for the past six or so years with them, it seems like this year they are really “on board” with the idea (for the adults at least – they are still getting gifts for the grandkids, but it is still much more modest than in the past). When people have asked me what I want for Christmas this year, I’ve mentioned places to donate, but also asked if they would spend an hour or two helping with various house projects I need done, or make me a couple of jars of Grandma’s sauce or something. Those things would mean so much more to me than one more vase.
In reality, I can’t really afford as many donations as I gave. Next year I may have to scale back on those as well, though I always feel like, even though I don’t have a lot, I have more than a lot of other people, and I want to share.
Long post, kind of rambly, hope it makes some kind of sense… 3 years ago
is more fun and fulfilling than receiving. I am happy I have this understanding.
I am also happy and grateful that I am actually able to help those who need help. I am looking forward to the day when I have enough resources to e.g. start a foundation or do something big like this. Today, I am so grateful for what I can do right now. And
I we all can do much. Make Christmas gifts for kids in orphanages or the poor and deliver to them through charity orgs, donate, wish Merry Christmas to someone who doesn’t have anyone to wish them so, talk to those who are alone. It all counts. Start small, start now :) 3 years ago
It’s A Wonderful Life for the right Christmasy mood and I’ll be working on the packages this morning. I’ll start on my folk’s prezzies. 3 years ago
I will be writing some cards and wrapping prezzies to be shipped out this week. No messing around and waiting until the last minute.
I’m excited to give my brother something I enjoy. (Dunno if I can say what it is here because I’m not sure if he reads my posts) :) But it’s warm and soft. Does that tell you anything? :D 3 years ago
At our Market #1, for every $10 you donate, the store will match that amount and give $20 worth of groceries to a family in need. So at the checkout we donated $10 in my mother’s honor as one of her gifts for Christmas. I think it’s a gift she’ll appreciate, since when I was little we went through a time during which we relied on food stamps and food pantry donations. So it will have some meaning. 3 years ago
I made advent calendars for three of my friends this year, for each of them out of a specific reason.
N. once told me that she always makes a calendar for her boyfriend, but never gets one from him. So this year they got one from me for both of them.
J. always wants to have some of the cookies I take with me to scouts group. So I made her a calendar full of cookies in different forms.
U. thinks she isn’t cool enough for her friends. So I asked everyone to participate in an electronic advent calender and now she’ll get an e-mail from one of us per day.
I love giving where it’s meaningful and unexpected. It’s fun to think of these ideas and even more fun to execute them and even MORE fun to imagine that they make people smile.
Now on to the Christmas presents… 3 years ago
Some years my goal for this part of the year is just to survive Christmas, but this sounds much more positive (although I may recycle the survival goal as well).
I have an odd sense of being stuck between the things I love about Christmas: seeing family, the time and meals together, telling stories, trimming the tree, driving around to see the lights, making truffles and sending cards, watching the good old movies, the first snow, the shiny ornaments, Isak’s joyfulness, etc. and the things I loathe: the “stuff focus”, the garish underbelly of Christmas with blaring music, dancing Santas and frantic mall people.
I don’t mean to sound like a scrooge, and I love finding just the right, thoughtful item for someone, I just wish we could forgo the Stuff pressure sometimes. The funny thing is the whole family feels this way. Mom has insisted we keep this Christmas low key, so I’m hoping we can.
Every year it seems I let myself get stressed for no reason, then things turn around and we all have a great time. I wish I could enter the season with a freer spirit right from the beginning. Right now I’m back to dreading tromping through the cold and wet with the rest of the masses in search of things. 3 years ago
And that reminded me of the goal and led me to a very interesting person and interview.
Here is an interview with Micah White, a writer for Adbusters.
He is being interviewed here with an audience of progressive Christians. They are talking about consumerism, among other things.
it’s on the bottom right side of the page.
Micah White is a Contributing Editor at Adbusters where he writes articles from a philosophical activist perspective. His most well-known piece is Commit Facebook Suicide in which he argued that social networking websites represent the commercialization of friendship.
An accomplished activist, Micah’s innovative campaigns have been featured in the AP, the Chronicle for Higher Education, and the New York Times. He has been profiled by Teen People, interviewed on Pacifica Radio and been a guest on ABC’s Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. Micah has organized successful campaigns against diverse targets such as Diebold Election Systems and Bates Troy Healthcare Linens, a small-time noise polluter in Binghamton, NY.
Micah M. White lives with his wife and two cats in Berkeley, CA. He is currently writing a book on the future of activism in which he argues for a connection between the lack of mental clarity in our times and the way our culture organizes knowledge. Micah writes that the future of activism is as the vanguard of a cultural battle over our mental environment.3 years ago
I copied the following list of “most needed food items” from one of the local California Second Harvest drives:
MOST NEEDED FOODS
The Food Bank needs nutritious, non-perishable foods:
Please avoid donating items packaged in glass.
We request that you do not purchase bulk quantities of rice, flour or sugar for donation. Thank you!
Here is one from Tennessee: Peanut Butter, Canned Tuna, Canned Fruits, Rice, Beans, Macaroni and Cheese, and Canned Vegetables, or other Canned Meats. And here is one from Wisconsin: Canned Meat, Beef Stew, Tuna, Canned Chili, Peanut Butter, Canned and Dried Beans, Canned Fruit, Canned Vegetables, Canned Soup, Fruit Juices, Jelly, Pasta, Rice, Instant Potatoes, Macaroni & Cheese, Cereal, Pancake Mix, Oatmeal, Cake Mixes, Canned Milk, Instant Pudding
Just to give you an idea to get started. Those of you who have memberships to someplace like CostCo might even consider buying a case of a particular food to donate, if you can afford it.
If you are making this donation in lieu of a gift to a loved one, you might take a photo of the food you purchased, enclose it in a card, and write a note to let them know that you gave a donation of food in their honor. Just an idea
image:members.shaw.ca3 years ago
is one I dislike.
I was in retail before my delivery job.
So for the last 30 plus years I have been right in the crossfire.
I’m amazed at the get as much as you can attitude.
Some things are fine to get as much as you can.
Friends, tenderness and love spring to mind.
So I will give of myself as I can this year,
as I have in many of the previous ones…
Somehow, it’s so much more rewarding… 3 years ago
I’m baking bread. Next chance I get, I want to go to Hobby Lobby and see what all I can find. :) Depending on who all will be coming for Christams (i.e., kidlets), I may also make some candied apples or fudge, or something among those lines. But the fact that bread will be baked and given away is for sure. :):) 3 years ago
I hate going there, but I am glad that I did as they have the “Angel Trees” out already. I used to do this when my kids were little. We would pick out several kids (always the same gender and age as each of my kids) and then they would go Angel Tree Shopping for their counterpart.
We haven;t done Angel Tree in a number of years.
I am so going to do it this year. My kids are grown now, so I doubt I will find someone on the tree their age (LOL) but I can still pick out three kids . . . or more 3 years ago
However, am I a scrooge if I ask people NOT to buy me gifts? How can I go about politely asking friends and family not to buy me things, but to instead donate to a charity or just share a special experience with me for the holidays? What do you do? Send out a pre-holiday “No Gifts Please” announcement card? It seems almost a backwards-ly selfish act. 3 years ago
My brother in law started the Christmas giving trend. Now I take the money I’d be funneling through a religious organization and send it to Heifer.
The way this works is you buy animals and plants for communities, to help impoverished people become self sustaining.
A flock of geese, a llama, a cow, a water buffalo.
It is ultra cool. It is meaningful giving.
One of the girls adopted a child in another country, and sends $18 a month to pay for her education and clothing etc. How special is that, for a daughter to give as a present to her mother?
We stopped exchanging Christmas presents one on one years ago. Every Christmas, we get together and do a white elephant exchange, eat massively and drink everything in sight. The gifts are about half Heifer and similar donations, and the exchange is fierce!
Now that we’re in Hawaii, I am hoping to have a pavilion party, invite our friends, and keep this going in the community here.
Thanks for the invite, nicolasc! 3 years ago