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Christmas presents?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hmmm...I seem to have been starting a lot of threads here lately, but I have so many questions and things I think about that I really enjoy discussing with you guys.

So, here's another one .

Christmas. What are your feelings? I know that the majority of the population do not celebrate Christmas for its original, religious beginnings. Mostly, it's about getting lots of presents.

I personally feel angered and pressured by corporate, consumer bodies, who decide for me when Christmas is going to start (halfway through October decorations going up, advertising and pressure, pressure, pressure to spend money) and then the pressure from others around you that amounts to you being grinchy, `untraditional', selfish and a spoilsport if you don't get appropriately into the `spirit' of things.

This year, we are buying all of our gifts from the CARE Australia online catalogue, so, basically we are giving to charity - purchasing drinking water, school supplies, immunisations, farm animals and so forth for people in impoverished nations, and `giving' these items to members of our family. Everyone is getting into the spirit of things except my sister-in-law, whom we suspect will not be overly pleased with the blackboard, chairs and tables we `bought' her.

I feel that we are still giving into the demand of capitalist giants to buy gifts at all, but at least our money is going somewhere it is needed the most.

What do you think of the hype about Christmas? Do you feel pressured and stressed? Or do you think that gift-giving is an integral part of the celebration and should be continued?
post #2 of 19
My family, partly for the fact that we just don't know what to get each other and partly for the same reasons as you, has decided that we will give tot he Asthma Society this year rather than buy gifts. The children are all getting gifts, but for the most part, as adults we have whatever we want and there is no point buying (almost pointless) gifts for wach other that will be either gimmicky or useless because that would be the only idea we can come up with.

We have, however, for years, spent less on each other and took part in a 'shoebox project' that my mum's school runs, where they give you an age range and male/female list and you make up a shoe box of gifts for that child in a developing country. The lists are so sad, I had one who was 5-6 years old and he had asked for a bottle of clean water as his gift - it had me in tears so for the last few years we have not done the typical expensive gifts and chosen to take 10 shoe boxes each instead. Simple stuff like a hair clip will make these children so happy and really makes you remember the point of gift giving at Christmas
post #3 of 19
I've always hated buying xmas gifts for the sake of following the capitalistic rituals of our species. But even though I haven't followed an organized religion in years, I do believe in the spirit of giving. For years I made a point of making hand-made gifts (so I didn't have to support the capitalists), but don't really have the time to do that anymore. I really like your idea of giving to charities so that everyone wins!
post #4 of 19
I just don't like it when Christmas becomes a spending competition. I.e. B told me that I better not skimp out on him this year because he spent a lot on me.

Ummm...that's not the spirit of Christmas, that's the spirit of greed.
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
I just don't like it when Christmas becomes a spending competition. I.e. B told me that I better not skimp out on him this year because he spent a lot on me.

Ummm...that's not the spirit of Christmas, that's the spirit of greed.
I agree, we no longer spend more than £10 on each other on Christmas just so we have something to give in front of the kids - its fun coming up with something special but cheap... and if we see something more expensive we know the person needs / would love we buy it together.

Christmas is very much about spending time with family for us, and apart from me being over here, I can't think of a Christmas where the whole extended family being together. We usually spend the whole 3 days of Christmas together.
post #6 of 19
We go to SO's boss' s Christmas party, because he is such a great guy, and it would hurt his feelings if we didn't.That is the only Christmassy thing we do. I would still like to feed ferals on Christmas morning, but I haven't seen any around. SO rescued FLuffy last Christmas Eve when someone threw her out near his job, and a very busy highway.
I will send my daughter and granddaughter a gift card of some kind, but that is about it. I will likely have to work so that all the folks that get Directv for Christmas can get it activated. Bah, Humbug!
post #7 of 19
I love christmas, but now that I work in retail I hate the music. Some of my favorite memories are from Christmas morning being with family. My favorite thing to do is see people light up when they get something they love....
post #8 of 19
In my family it's not about the gifts. For the last 3 christmas holidays, we've been on our own (me, dh, and son) and that's odd to me because I come from a huge family where we all get together and we're loud. I never realized how much I loved that until I had a extremely quiet christmas.

This christmas I'm going home and for the adults we spend less than 10 bucks a person. I go all out for my son though. I don't let the stores decide when I start christmas shopping. Heck, because I don't have a lot of money, if I see something nice on sale, I pick it up in July.



My family always donates to the food bank and there is normally this campaigne to get children a present who normally would have nothing. You pick the gender and age off a christmas tree and then purchase a present for that child. We do that every year as well!
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by icklemiss21 View Post
My family, partly for the fact that we just don't know what to get each other and partly for the same reasons as you, has decided that we will give tot he Asthma Society this year rather than buy gifts. The children are all getting gifts, but for the most part, as adults we have whatever we want and there is no point buying (almost pointless) gifts for wach other that will be either gimmicky or useless because that would be the only idea we can come up with.

We have, however, for years, spent less on each other and took part in a 'shoebox project' that my mum's school runs, where they give you an age range and male/female list and you make up a shoe box of gifts for that child in a developing country. The lists are so sad, I had one who was 5-6 years old and he had asked for a bottle of clean water as his gift - it had me in tears so for the last few years we have not done the typical expensive gifts and chosen to take 10 shoe boxes each instead. Simple stuff like a hair clip will make these children so happy and really makes you remember the point of gift giving at Christmas
I love the shoebox projects, which we have here, too. I was a bit p.o.'d this year, though, because the group that organizes things gave a few people trouble because they had included "heathen" things like Harry Potter coloring books. It's shocking how many kids would just like a pair of warm socks, flip flops, or some pencils.
I normally buy family presents from one of the "Greater Good" sites http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...07&postcount=8, because they deal in "fair trade" goods, and part of the proceeds go to a cause like animal welfare, literacy, etc..
post #10 of 19
We don't have the shoebox project over here (not that I am aware of anyway) but my mum mentioned the same thing, usually they wanted socks or a pretty hair clip etc, my mum used to get piles of those magic gloves that fit any size, pencils, some candy etc... now it is getting to the point where (while they may be still disadvantaged) it is not the same and they want more capitalist type gifts
post #11 of 19
I also hate all this commercialism surrounding Christmas. When I can afford to, I always do our version of the shoebox project, the Angel Tree. This year, I felt like I wouldn't be able to do it justice, so I donated to another group who would then pool donations and sponser a child. For me, Christmas is about making people feel special because you thought of them, whatever it was that you got them. It could just be making cookies and such for your friends, or picking out a thoughtful gift, expensive or not. Its a time to share in love and friendship for me, not an opportunity to shower people with expensive gifts. If it takes spending a little money, that's okay, but its just as good if its from the heart only and not the pocket book.
post #12 of 19
I've been a bit bothered by what Christmas has become over the past few years. It really hit home when my now adult sister said to my mother, "What are you getting me for Christmas? I want money." To tell you the truth, that just disgusted me (I stopped asking for things when I was in high school--but I guess everyone is different).

As far as buying presents and what not, honestly speaking, Christmas works for me. Since I haven't lived with my parents since I was 17 or 18 years old and I don't see them very much, I feel Christmas is the perfect time of year to really be with them and buy them things that they need, want, and couldn't buy for themselves for no other reason than that I love them.

Lately, I have been focusing on donating things to charities for children who don't have very much. Of course, this is something that should be done year round, hopefully I'll be able to achieve that.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva! View Post
Hmmm...I seem to have been starting a lot of threads here lately, but I have so many questions and things I think about that I really enjoy discussing with you guys.
No complaints here. You start interesting threads.

And actually, I completely agree with you on this one. (I know, I know ... The McDonalds' thread is completely different. ) It's not just Christmas, but all of it. Valentine's Day, Hallowe'en, Thanksgiving ... I don't want to see Hallowe'en decorations for sale in August. I don't want to hear Christmas carols before December. I want the stores to trust in the fact that we will remember when these holidays are without their prodding, and I hate that the corporations make me feel obligated to buy people stuff. I don't need a special day to tell my Mom I love her. I don't need a greeting card company reminding my DF that he's supposed to waste money on a box of chocolates (that I don't need) and some flowers (that Spike will just eat anyway) because apparently Valentine's Day is the only time of the year he can tell me how he feels about me. Puh-leeze.

I'm not Christian. I don't celebrate the birth of Christ. What I choose to celebrate at Christmas is having the people I love with me, especially since these past few years a few of the people I love haven't been able to be there. I love buying presents for people, and I admit, I wish it occurred to me to buy gifts throughout the year instead of using one particular day to lavish presents on everyone, but there are so many other ways to celebrate and show your appreciation.

I think the other thing that bothers me about Christmas is that the hype excludes people from other cultures. Sure, we say "happy holidays," but we mean "merry Christmas." Christmas is a statutory holiday; if you work it, you're supposed to get paid time and a half (or whatever the bonus is for working overtime). Isn't that kind of forcing other cultures to acknowledge Christmas? And isn't having decorations everywhere kind of foisting Christian beliefs or traditions onto non-Christians? Don't get me wrong: the idea of Christmas is great, and I really do love this time of year. I just think this corporate bombardment is really insensitive: it assumes everyone celebrates Christmas (or some kind of December holiday), when that simply isn't the case.
post #14 of 19
I agonised over Christmas this year for all sorts of reasons, some of them, I admit, selfish. Finally I decided I am going to see my family in the week before Christmas, but I have sent everyone an illustrated announcement saying I am not giving cards or presents this year and do not expect any either, but I am making a donation instead to the local cat shelter in memory of Napoleon. That being said, I am taking my mother a box of marrons glaces, her favourite candy.

It is done for specific reasons this year, but is a relief as I always hate all the hype and useless things we exchange as gifts just because people expect it.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
I can't believe it - I just typed a whole post and it got lost somewhere in the dark underbelly of TCS...



All of the self-appointed (by the shops) `holidays' offend me...lol. The only time I think it's really legitimate to spoil someone and give them pressies is their birthday. I think it's nice to celebrate the day someone you love came into the world. We have a standing rule in my family that we do NOT celebrate Mother's or Father's Day. Mum used to say that it didn't seem fair when it was apparently Kid's Day every other day of the year, and IMO parents deserve a lot more than 24 hours each year for us to let them know what legends they are.

It's so much nicer to give gifts that are from the heart, too, instead of fighting your way through crowded, frenzied shoppers to get a present that you only bought because you didn't have enough time left to get anything better...lol. For one of my bridesmaid's birthday this year, I photoshopped a picture together of our group of girlfriends and wove a quote about friendship through it. It made her cry. THAT's what giving is all about - not how much you spend, but how much thought you put into it. I get such a kick out of buying or making a gift for someone that I know will really touch them, and that they'll really love. Giving people presents is cool - I just don't want to be told when and for what reason I have to do it.

And what makes our current celebration of Christmas even more offensive is the fact that Santa as we know him, and the `tradition' of gift-giving, was conceptualised by Coca Cola, and has been a magnificently successful marketing campaign for them. To me, Coca Cola is right up there with McDonalds (that one's for you, Mirinae ) and the fact that they have manufactured the most dominant interpretation of Saint Nick, and subsequently determined our method of celebrating Christmas, makes me even more reluctant to bow to their clever advertising gimmick that has somehow turned into ageless Christmas tradition. (For those who don't believe me: http://www.angelfire.com/trek/hillmans/xmascoke.html)

So yeah, I'm gratified to find people who feel the same way that I do, who don't like getting coerced into when and what they will celebrate, and I hope that in the future, as global issues become more prominent, and we understand how good we have it, and how lucky we are, our expectations will modify to wanting what we have, instead of always having to have what we want.
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by eburgess View Post
My favorite thing to do is see people light up when they get something they love....
That's what I love about Christmas the most!!
post #17 of 19
I also can't stand the Coke Santa either! I think its really sad how it seems to be about "gimme, gimme, gimme". I used to go to Christmas at my mom's best friend's home growing up and it was more about family and stories!
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirinae View Post
I'm not Christian. I don't celebrate the birth of Christ. What I choose to celebrate at Christmas is having the people I love with me, especially since these past few years a few of the people I love haven't been able to be there. I love buying presents for people, and I admit, I wish it occurred to me to buy gifts throughout the year instead of using one particular day to lavish presents on everyone, but there are so many other ways to celebrate and show your appreciation.

I think the other thing that bothers me about Christmas is that the hype excludes people from other cultures. Sure, we say "happy holidays," but we mean "merry Christmas." Christmas is a statutory holiday; if you work it, you're supposed to get paid time and a half (or whatever the bonus is for working overtime). Isn't that kind of forcing other cultures to acknowledge Christmas? And isn't having decorations everywhere kind of foisting Christian beliefs or traditions onto non-Christians? Don't get me wrong: the idea of Christmas is great, and I really do love this time of year. I just think this corporate bombardment is really insensitive: it assumes everyone celebrates Christmas (or some kind of December holiday), when that simply isn't the case.
I don't think that what you are celebrating is any different from what most people, "Christians" included, celebrate. I don't see how the hype excludes anybody. Heck, the stores will take anyone's money. Didn't the "Hanukah bush" and people hanging plastic Easter eggs on their outdoor shrubbery start because the Christmas tree idea is so appealing? And what we call Christmas started as a pagan holiday to celebrate the days getting longer in the winter. To me a Christmas tree has nothing religious about it. A nativity scene on the other hand is clearly a religious symbol. As far as I am concerned it is the winter's answer to the much longer summer vacation.

And as far as gift giving goes, if you don't have kids in the house, maybe small token gifts. We put stockings up over our woodstove and all kinds of silly stuff goes into the stockings: socks, perfume, air pressure gages, chapstick. It is more about the fun than anything else.
post #19 of 19
I LOVE this time of year! Just this monday I went crazy buying toys for my baby... Duke And my new one on the way!

OK, so cats don't know its the holiday season. SO WHAT!!!

Seriously, I really do love this time of year because it means that my sister and my nieces and nephew are flying in from New York and my aunt and three cousins are flying in from Michigan. And the foooooood!!! Mmmmm! And I really do love it when my kids (so what they aren't really mine) open up their gifts and squeal with joy because its just what they always wanted.

I actually don't buy the kids gifts anymore and I don't buy the adults gifts either. At least not directly. I've become the official personal 'mom' gift shopper. Nothing gives me more joy than to take my family kids to the mall and let them pick out gifts for their parents and grandparents and in some cases GREAT-grandparents. And the look on the adults faces when their kids walk up to them with their hands behind their backs and a big grin on their precious little faces??? PRICELESS!

Other than that, I dislike the outside decorations. I find them tacky and I especially hate those giant blow up snowmen and such that my neighbors insist on putting in their front yard. Just call me the Grinch, I love that movie anyway :^P

I also dislike being indirectly forced to participate in office gift giving. It was a big deal this year and I didn't realistically have a choice about it.

Oh yeah, I'm technically an atheist, so I don't believe in christian holidays (or any others for that matter). Its just quality family time for me... And did I mention the food?
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