This week starts the season of griping, fatigue and overeating.  I heard just this morning that the average Thanksgiving meal contains 4,000 calories – more than twice the amount of calories it is recommended to consume in one day.
If you keep your ears open (at least here in my neck of the woods), you will hear, maybe even from your own mouth, complaints of how much has to be done, the expense and the, "What if he/she gets me a gift and I don’t have one for him/her?  I need to have ‘extra’ wrapped gifts just in case…" 
Money is tight.  Money is always tight but, for some reason, people think they have to go into more debt or others will think them cheap or will be disappointed.  Children will be crying in the streets!
Not.  I am here to tell you a little story.  Here we go:  Twenty-one years ago, a youngish woman joined a family through marriage; a wonderful, generous family.  The marriage took place in early November and, soon after, the woman announced to her lovely mother-in-law that there would be no presents for the nieces and nephews, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.  Now, this was unheard of in this family.  There were many presents for each family member wrapped expertly with beautiful paper and ribbons one could only dream of!  "Can you put $5 in an envelope for each of the children?"  "No.  That would add up to a large sum and we we have a limited budget.  "Can we do it for you?"  "No.  And there is no need for the aunts and uncles to get gifts for my daughter.  She will have enough from you and us and her father’s family.  We will buy for our child and our parents."
Well, as you can imagine, that did not go over too well.  The aunts and uncles brought gifts for the daughter and the newlyweds brought only for the grandparents.  It was uncomfortable that first year – but only for the couple!  There were no crying children and no hard feelings from the siblings.  Year after year and to this day the aunts and uncles still buy for the nieces and nephews and the once newlywed couple still buy only for his parents and their children and grandchild (her parents insist that they get them nothing – insist!).
Also, some of the nieces and nephews now buy for the aunts and uncles!  They range in age from 24 – 32…..uh,……
The moral of this story is that you have the power, to an extent, over your stress level.  There were years that I made all the adult gifts.  I’m no Marth*a Stew*art but I can read instructions on how to make simple but lovely gifts.  I have asked that donations be made to my favorite non-profit and have wanted to do the same for the parents (mine chose hospice and his, well, they like to open gifts.  That’s just fine.).  Himself and I are talking about buying a goat through World Vision as a family present.
Don’t become a Scroo*ge like I have in past years!  Just put enough on your plate to satisfy your hunger and enough on your gift list to be financially comfortable.  Just a suggestion.
Still…..I would like to hibernate for the next month……
Have a great week, g

8 responses to “Thankful?

  1. I am dreading the Holidays. SO much I love about them but it is also a very stressful time. No sense in my complaining though. Just going to enjoy what I can of it all. : )
    Hugs, Liz

  2. I totally agree.. I’m asking everyone to donate to Compassion or World Vision instead of buying me presents.. For the most part, everyone is ok with that! We’ll do the kids and that’s it.
    We, as a culture, have waaay  too much "stuff". I don’t NEED anything, so why waste all that money?? We’re silly..

  3. The nice thing Gail is that I am allowed to eat 3170 calories per day, so I will only be over-eating by 900 calories ~chuckles~.  Umm the rest of you lazy bums however?! ~cackles~.
    Screw gifts!  The economy is going in the toilet anyway!  Why can’t we just boycott the whorish retail chains as our last act of defiance before they toss us into the darkness of a depression! ~chuckles~  If they really wanted Xmas to be good they would have passed that stimulus package already! ~chuckles~  As for us we will gather as a family and enjoy each other’s company without the pressure of gift giving! ~cheers~.  The only people we worry about are the kids! ~smiles~
    I love you “G” ! ~hugs~

  4. As I have gotten older, I have learned not to freak out too much about what "others" do or don’t do.  As for Thanksgiving, sure, I overeat –  but if that was the only day, it would be no big deal, right?  For gifts, we do little things, but that’s it.  Usually we do the World Vision donation for my parents (and they love that) and we try to do something like an educational or artsy gift for the nieces/nephews (they get plenty of toys from parents and grands) Now, my hubby’s family, they waaaay overdo, and in the past it’s made me feel sort of guilty – but I have gotten over it!  They make way more $ than we, and if they wanna go crazy, so be it… but I refuse to go into debt for it.  I think they still love us anyway!  The only one I really try hard to please is my own child… ’cause she’s mine!

  5. There was a big ta-do in my husband’s family over this issue last year.  Some just couldn’t afford it and others felt like it is a part of Christmas that needs to be done.  We are on the cheap, we don’t want to go in debt for Christmas, end of the spectrum ourselves.  We just can’t do it.  The adults finally came up with the idea to do a white elephant.  I don’t think there has been a Christmas with so much laughter as there was last year.  So much more fun than getting a coffeemaker.For my parents, who can just afford to buy what they need, we always donate money to a charity in their name.  They really seemed to enjoy that as they like that they are contributing to those in need instead of just one more appliance or tie.Take care,Amy

  6. I could not possible agree with you more.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, "Gail, you are firmly grounded in common sense."  This is a post many should read and heed.

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