The holiday buying season is upon us. I am a sucker for giving gifts. I love the holiday season, the decorating and the family time. I had decided to do a homemade Christmas for the families this year but my husband vetoed it. He didn’t want it to appear as though we were being cheap. So, I added gift cards to the baskets I had made up. That’s a thing though. Everyone knows we have some money, so doing anything other than a traditional Christmas would make us seem cheap. Even if other people didn’t think so, in our own eyes it wouldn’t be enough.
How do these expectations of consumerism take hold? It’s the way I was raised, and the way my husband was raised. The holidays are a time of abundance. They are supposed to be a time of thankfulness for what we have. Instead it has turned into a time of giving presents based on your perceived level of wealth. It’s not the worst thing in the world to give presents. On the contrary, I love doing it. The problem comes when there are expectations placed on those gifts. The homemade gifts that I made were an investment of my time and things that I wanted to share with the family. So, why does that not seem like enough?
Partly it’s not enough because we are buying things for our kids. Had it been a totally homemade holiday, it might not have seemed so cheap, but because we bought gifts for the kids, it wasn’t homemade. My consumerism and desire to give my kids the best overcame me and I bought with the best of them. We shall have a respectable holiday once again. Maybe next year I’ll think before I spend and make it a thrifty holiday in fact instead of just in aspiration.
If I start now I might just have a few things finished for next Christmas.
We, as a society, want to appear prosperous and generous. When the people in our lives measure prosperity in traditional terms, it seems cheap to give homemade gifts. I guess we’ll just have to start with gifts that obviously took a lot of effort – which means I need to start now. Maybe quilts or something equally difficult.
It’s a slippery thing, buying gifts. I had thought I was done shopping, then my in-laws and I went Black Friday shopping. I came home on an adrenaline rush. We found good deals and it made me want more. I had forgotten the rush of shopping. It worried me a little once I realized what had happened. I don’t want that to be how I feel good. It was a wake up call. I was glad that it was something that was no longer normal for me. So, the holiday season is one of acquisition but it doesn’t have to be. As long as we put thought and effort into it, what we make can be enough.