Monday, December 26, 2016

The Christmas of No Gifting

When you consider changing the way you do Christmas, pre-planning is a good idea. When life kinda-sorta forces your hand, it would be good if that pre-planning had happened. In other words, cold turkey is NOT the way to go on a new idea during the holiday season. Ease your way into it. Some of you might remember that I decided to focus our attention on things other than gifts this year at Christmas. So, I did. How was it? WAY worse than I expected. But only for me, personally.

I am a gift giving over-achiever. I love giving gifts and I will spend nearly all year looking and collecting gifts for everyone, trying my best to make each one special. It's the over-achiever part that gives a thousand gifts to each person that had me needing to take it down a notch. Or ten. Plus, I really thought it would be best to focus our attention on the elderly family members and Baby M. Not to mention the fact that I am no longer working outside the home. And then there's the fact that I thought someone would pick up my slack. That did not happen. HUGE disappointment. As a matter of fact, this may go down as the worst Christmas ever. Except---

I was the only one bothered.

The daughters were not bothered at all. They knew it was going to happen and said Christmas was about being with each other, not the gifts (do I really get credit for the marvelous women?) But I was bothered. AND IT'S NOT GOING DOWN THIS WAY NEXT YEAR.

I've gone over it in my head and wondered if maybe I hated it because it was different. But that wasn't it. I wondered if it was because Baby M wasn't here for her first Christmas. While I missed her terribly, that wasn't it either. I wondered if it was because only two of the lovelies were here. But that wasn't it. That was different and quieter but we had such fun! I wondered if it was because the other parent didn't pick up the slack. Nope, I should have expected that. What was it then?

It all goes back to me being an overachiever when it comes to gift giving and the fact I couldn't support that tendency. Next year WILL be different. I'll be ready. I'll work towards it all year long.

Some of the things I learned:
  • When watching Christmas movies and the focus they showed on opening gifts, I now know that our focus truly has been wrong and we need to change that. 
  • I do not need to receive gifts but I do need to give them. 
  • Having only 2 daughters here is not a bad thing, it's just a different thing.
  • We are a fun bunch and can laugh at just about any situation regardless of how many of us are present.
  • My daughters are incredible women (Ok, I already knew this)
  • When we don't have the gifts to open, we focus more on each other in conversation/game playing, etc.
  • It's easier to focus on the true meaning of the season without gifting or, rather, an overly passionate focus on gifting.
  • I could have at least done stockings.
  • I feel terrible but everyone else is fine.
  • I'm not going to do this again but we will take it down to one handmade gift, one bought gift, and stockings. 
  • I now have a new perspective on those who cannot give gifts to their children at Christmas and they will be part of our new focus.
  • No matter what, it was good that we did give to the older family members and Baby M. Oh, and Tucker did get his stocking. 
  • I am too focused on gift-giving.
  • Going cold turkey on this idea was a bad idea.
What did we do this year?

 The pickle. I hide the pickle ornament on the tree and the first one to find it gets the pickle prize.
I told them I hadn't put the pickle on the tree because there was no pickle prize.

We have several pickles because of the year someone broke my original pickle so the two who were here decided to have some fun. They posed in the picture below and we put it on Instagram and FB with the caption: When only 2 bother to come home for actual Christmas, everybody wins! My favorite hashtag was: #homefortheholidays

To add insult to injury, they took empty gift bags and wrapped some empty boxes to pretend these were the pickle prizes. If you know us, this was hilarious. 

We had food on Christmas Eve, games, and movies. 

Yes, the cupcake plate WAS full at one point. Ha! They came from Nothing Bundt Cake and they were delicious!

We had Christmas Day brunch, Tucker's stocking, more movies, and exhaustion. 

All this AND, our celebrations are not over. The MIA daughters and their SOs will be here tomorrow and we continue celebrating the season all the way through January 1, 2017! And I will try my best not to be bothered by the lack of gifts. The girls bought sister gifts and we will give gifts to the older folks and Baby M needs to finish opening her gifts. Mostly, I'll try to learn from my daughters that it's being together that matters. Not whether or not mom bought a gazillion gifts.

Did I mention that my daughters are incredible women? :)

OH, the pickle WILL be on the tree by Wednesday morning when everyone is here and there is equal opportunity. There will also be the gift card game. More about that later in the week.

No matter what or where I hope y'all had a most wonderful Christmas celebration! 


  1. It sounds like you are having a wonderful Christmas. I hope you enjoy the rest of your celebrations.

    1. We are. It's just different and I really didn't enjoy not giving gifts. I do not mind not receiving but I truly dislike not giving. Everyone else will be here tomorrow and I know that will be just right! :) Thank you!

  2. Spending time with those you love is a favorite part for Christmas for me. Someday I may have to blog about the year I got no gifts for Christmas. .... It was an "interesting" experience.

    1. Interesting...yes. And so-- empty? I don't know. Because I'm sure an over-gifter, I can't really figure out if my disappointment was related to that or what. I'm so glad they weren't disappointed. But yes, spending time with those we love is the best part and I can't wait to do that with everyone starting tomorrow. :) Thank you!

  3. Since it is usually just Joe and me, the gift giving has dropped way down. It was fun having Jeff here this year and I'm glad he told us he was coming before we had mailed his gifts!! I'm glad there was lots of fun and love, even if the tree wasn't loaded with gifts. Enjoy your time with all the lovelies and that precious Baby M!!

    1. We did have a lovely time without gifts. But it weighed on my mind the whole time. Ben and Claudia and Baby M and her parents arrive this afternoon so that will make a huge difference! I think part of it was only having two girls here. I'm used to a house full. :)

  4. You do what you can do and what you are comfortable doing for gifts. I am not a shopper so we just give cash...simple and no returns:)

    1. Sadly, I'm comfortable giving a ton of gifts to each daughter. That's what I'm trying to get away from doing. I do have a bunch of gift cards that they'll get this week from playing this silly, but fun, game we started last year. And cash is never a bad idea! Thanks!

  5. I am a gift giver, I love to give a little more then I love to receive I try not to go overboard with gifts not easy but I do try.

    1. My problem is the overboard. Every single year. I've got to find a happy medium.

  6. Well then it was a good Christmas because you learned something. Its interesting to read what you learned. I think last year was our year like that, and there was no way it was going to be like that this year. It turned out perfect. I always liked that tradition you had about making things. Did you ever get your boat painting finished? I loved that so much. I am glad that you get to have Christmas with everyone. I know it will end up being the best.

    1. Everyone is here now and I already feel better. :) I think the handmade idea is the best. It worked out nicely last time. The boat painting is not finished but she never finishes anything. She's like her dad. Ha! Have you posted Christmas pictures yet?

  7. Like you, I tend to be an over the top gift giver, specially at Christmas time. But, truly, it really should be all about just being together. I would still feel bad if I was t able to give those gifts though. I'm afraid no help from the other half her either!! Christmas just arrives!! 😂😂

    1. I think I taught myself a lesson this time around. I'll give gifts without going over the top and enjoy/appreciate my time with everyone. Over giving is something I learned when I was growing up but it really needed to be tamed a bit. I just shouldn't have done away with it completely. Christmas just arrives....LOL Thanks!


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