An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Posts tagged ‘Christmas shopping’

Skipping Black Friday

  I’ve already blogged about how much I hate Christmas shopping. This post is to brag that my shopping is completed—and most of the gifts wrapped. Instead of feeling elated, I have this nagging feeling that I’ve forgotten somebody—and twice I’ve remembered who. I really should have made a master list of gifts and giftees as I wrapped. Trusting to memory will likely prove embarrassing to me and disappointing to a near and dear one.

This year we’ll be spending the holidays with our sons in Seattle—and some of that time, I suspect, will be with their extended family. Will we be exchanging gifts with their in-laws? Should I bring something for them? What? Of course it would do no good to ask our sons. Men just don’t get things like reciprocal gift-giving. Testosterone must be a real blessing.

Not spending Christmas at home this year raises the question of tree or no tree. My first impulse was to just buy a couple of poinsettias and call it good. It’s not that I’m a Grinch or anything. I actually like Christmas. What I don’t like is decorating. I must have been distracted when some of the feminine genes were passed around. Although I received enough femininity to bear five children and nurture them adequately enough for all to attain adulthood, I really lost out on important feminine traits like sewing, enjoying handicrafts, and creating artistic holiday displays.

I think I can get around putting up the decorations this year by letting the grandkids trim the tree when they come to celebrate a birthday next week. Now, if I could just figure out a way to rope somebody else into untrimming, wrapping, boxing, and cleaning up the whole mess afterwards.

Hmm, maybe I am a Grinch, after all.

Christmas Shopping Made Easy

I know it’s early, but I hate shopping and I try to hurry through chores I hate. I envy people who find it fun to visit stores sparkling with Christmas cheer while holiday music plays in the background, but I can’t endure crowds when I’m trying to make decisions about what a loved one might like and whether I can afford it.

The only kinds of shopping I really enjoy are for plants, books, and groceries. Outside plants are not practical as Christmas gifts—at least in our climate. Groceries, while practical, have a short shelf life. That leaves books. Amazon loves me. This year I have two infant granddaughters who are getting Mother Goose books illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa. It’s never too young to start children appreciating rhythm, rhyme, and nonsense—especially when accompanied by exquisite artwork.

My toddler granddaughter is getting Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.  All 2-year-olds are wild things, and Sendak’s artwork is outstanding.

My 7-year-old granddaughter is into art, so she’s getting a Learn to Draw book and paper, paints and pencils to go with. Since her 6-year-old brother and 3-year old sister will want whatever she has—I’m getting them the same things.

So far I haven’t found an architecture book for my 10-year-old grandson. (Please send suggestions!)

Adults are easy if they like to cook—or at least read cookbooks. Cooking, like gardening, is often more fun to read about than to actually do. Two books I’m giving are: How to Eat Supper by Lynn Rosetto Kasper and Sally Swift—fast, easy recipes, and Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table—gourmet fare less complicated than Julia Child’s.

Guardians of Being by Eckhart Tolle, illustrated by cartoonist Patrick McConnell should please my Buddhist sister-in-law and George is getting Jon Stewart Presents Earth.  Family members who are not readers or whose taste I can’t fathom are getting Demotivation calendars. At least they can laugh.

Actually, ordering these books and calendars was pretty fun. I guess the real rule of thumb for Christmas shopping is to only buy things I personally enjoy.

Black Friday

Thanksgiving doesn’t even officially end before Black Friday begins this year. Wal-Mart is staying open on Thursday in hopes of preventing shoppers from crushing each other to death as they storm through the doors on Friday morning.  The adrenaline rush of beating other shoppers to the one-day-a-year bargains must be addictive. A couple we know spend Thanksgiving with an aunt in southern California each year. Their family tradition includes dividing into teams and spending Friday dashing from mall to mall pursuing hot sales. Auntie peruses the newspaper ads, makes an assignment list for each team, checks to see that gas tanks are full, and awakens everyone a few hours after midnight to start the predawn marathon.

When we had a large family and small budget, I joined the post-Thanksgiving crowd and enjoyed the competition. Shopping for grandkids still satisfies my materialist instinct, but shopping for adults who have discretionary income is about as much fun as giving a cat a pedicure. Anything our kids want or need, that we can afford, they already have. And money and gift certificates are so impersonal. I covet the talents of handy people who create thoughtful, handmade gifts. My cousin Krafti made quilts for each member of her extended family last Christmas. She started in September and made 26—including one for a daughter’s significant other that she wishes would drop dead.

Nobody wants a gift I might stitch up. Even a fancy, computerized sewing machine would not help. I’d probably just stitch my thumb to my index finger and go around with my middle finger sticking straight up.

My biggest gift problem is my sister-in-law, Kato, who makes and sells jewelry for a living. I love receiving original silver earrings for gifts, but how to reciprocate? To add to the misery, her and my brother’s birthdays are in December. I have to think up two gifts for each of them in the same month. Two weeks ago I sent them an e-mail suggesting that we forego Christmas gift giving this year and donate to the needy instead. I have received no answer. Maybe my problem is solved.

This year I’ve decided to forget about trying to please people who have everything and buy what I enjoy. I love buying books, plants and groceries. They come in every size and I don’t have to try them on. Now, plants and groceries don’t really work as Christmas gifts but books are fun to buy— and I’m supporting the hard-pressed publishing industry.  My Christmas shopping dilemma is solved—unless Santa fills stockings with Kindles this year.

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