Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I really am not a Scrooge - I just don't want any presents

This post has been cooking in me for months. Christmas is a week away and it seems like the right time to post it. Many years ago I stopped giving gifts at Christmas, except to children (my own, plus nieces and nephews, and a few close friends). My husband and I realized that making lists to give to each other to buy things we could each afford to buy for ourselves was silly and stopped exchanging Christmas gifts. If one of us happens to see something the other might like we buy it and give it for no reason. Better gifts, less stress. I realized that I didn't really know what to get for other adult family members that they might actually want, and that I could afford, and that they couldn't just buy for themselves, so I  stopped buying gifts and I let the members of my family with whom I normally exchanged presents that I wouldn't be getting them anything and that they could take me off their list as well. Most were relieved. Some didn't believe me, and were disappointed when I really, truly didn't have anything for them. If they got me a gift I simply thanked them for it, and did not let it shake me that I didn't have anything for them. I kept my resolve the following year, at which point they really did get it, and although some were still unhappy they stopped getting me anything either, which is what I really wanted for Christmas.

I read almost everything I can about "simplifying the holidays". There is a lot of advice about scaling back to find the true meaning of the season and spending more time with family and friends. All good advice, and I believe I have completely saturated myself in it. I almost never find anything new anymore. The last few years, though, I've noticed a few more people writing about Buy Nothing Christmas, an extension of Buy Nothing Day (which most people call "Black Friday"). My family has observed Buy Nothing Day for at least two decades and are so much the happier for it. We sleep in on Friday, enjoy some leftovers, and start decorating for Christmas. I also find that I am much more relaxed than other people around this time of year. I hear the question "So, are you ready for Christmas" often, and the answer is always "yes". I do very little shopping, and what I do buy I buy online. If there is something I wanted to get, buy can't find, I do not go on a quest, I simply cross it off my list (even if it is a much wanted gift for a child). I like to participate as much as I can in Buy Nothing Christmas, and absolve all who know me and think they should get me a gift from doing such.

Herewith my list of what NOT to get me this year (or any year):

  • A coffee cup - Yes I know they don't cost much, and you found one that perfectly fits my personality, and I do love coffee, which is why I have more coffee cups than will fit into my cabinet
  • A T-shirt - Yes, I know they don't cost much, and you found one that perfectly fits my personality, and my size, too, which is why I have more t-shirts than I will ever wear
  • A matching kitchen towel/potholder set - Yes, I know you found one that perfectly fits my personality, and I do spend a lot of time in my kitchen doing actual cooking, which is why I have so many towels and potholders that they no longer fit in my drawer
  • A kitchen gadget - If I haven't already bought what you are thinking of getting, I probably have determined that I won't use it
  • A book- Well what else could be more perfect for a librarian! I may or may not read what you've picked out for me, and then I will pass it on to someone else. I am a librarian. I can pretty much get what ever I want to read through Interlibrary loan, and have it delivered right to my desk
  • A cookbook - Yes, I do love to cook, and I have more cookbooks and recipes than I will ever be able to prepare in my lifetime
  • A keychain (or any other "stocking stuffer" type item) - Really, if I need anything like this I'm already on it
  • A calendar - My agenda for the new year starting filling up back in October. I bought myself a 2014 calendar then
  • Yankee candles (or anything with a scent) - I am too sensitive to smells
  • Gift card to a restaurant - I generally do my own cooking, and almost never eat at a chain restaurant
  • And, for goodness sake don't get me "Nothing for Christmas".

I saw this story yesterday and was truly saddened by it - just another way for marketers to get consumers to spend money on crap. I wonder how many workers were exploited to make and package this insult. Skip the gag gifts all together.

I want to go on record as saying that I do love Christmas. I love the music, the lights, the eggnog, the time off work, and visiting friends.

And, finally, if you really feel you must get me something for Christmas herewith is a list of things that I actually do want

  • Wine
  • Homemade cookies