Christmas with no money

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      Another thought, as I realize everyone needs to do how they celebrate differently… Those first years of marriage, with 2 kids, probably the leanest times, Hubby came from a “larger” family, 4 siblings with family, whereas I was an only child. But, all of his siblings gave family gifts to each other.

      And, they were often “nicer” items, usually for the house, but still…We reduced that eventually to each of us drawing a family name, and exchanging. However, due to finances for 2 of the siblings, we even discontinued that. One brother and sister-in-law, we continued to exchange as we were so close.

      While giving and getting presents were “nice” in all honesty, I did all the work, as did the other wives, we, the wives, pretty much “knew” what we were getting, as it was necessary to have a “list” of size, color, etc. or just watch tv for the latest and greatest gadget…that isn’t a complaint, but in a way by phrasing it exactly like it was, i think emphasizes how that sort of gift giving was done more for the “duty” rather than the true “pleasure.”
      personally, i’mmuch happier to shop for presents that i know the person will truly appreciate because the gift was chosen based on what i know they like. we still exchange with the one brother and sister-in-law.

      i will often find something for someone and give that thethem without any expectation that they should give me something in return. one brother-in-law loves homemade popcorn, the more old fashion the better. ifi find a unique popper, or fancy popcorn, i will always buy that and give it to him on christmas day, however, if i don’t, i don’t worry that i don’t have something for him.
      i am glad we decided to stop exchanging.

      initially, giving to so many people because they were relatives was a shock to me. i certainly wasn’t the one to suggest we stop, though i mentioned it to my hubby a couple of times, but he just couldn’t imagine not exchanging. but, when one of his siblings suggested he was fine with it.

      ithink he didn’t want to be the one to say it.if facing a financial problem with spending and giving to anyone other than children, while it might be hard, i think it still needs to be most families, no matter the finances would be glad to end the “adult” giving or switch to a drawing of names.
      a couple of years ago, i was visiting with my niece, who is thesame age as my oldest son.

      we were talking about filling stockings, and she very innocently lamented, that one of her favorite things aboutchristmas as a child had been gettinga stocking. shefixed them for her 2 children and husband, but didn’t getone, as her hubby, felt a bit “overwhelmed” in attempting stuffing a stocking. I determined then and there she would have a stocking on Christmas Morning with the rest of her family.

      While Ihad only a few weeks, I still managed from a fewsales and flea market visitsto stuff her a stocking with truly novelty and unique items. I gave it to her husband, and said, don’t tell herit came from me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hewas grateful and asked “How much?” And I justsaida number, probably half of what I’d paid.

      But, on ChristmasMorning when we went over to exchange, she looked atme and said, “Aunt Gloria, I know it was you!” Her husband said, she was so excited about having a stocking, it was a total surprise,and after she opened about 3 of the items, she looked at him and said; “I know Aunt Gloria did this.” The following year, I’d already filled her a stocking from yard sales, flea market, and special finds, and one day I stopped to chat with her husband, and hementioned, that she’d said to him, though not to ask or tell me; “I wish Aunt Gloria would do me a stocking every year.”

      I told him, it was alreadyaccomplished. So, just before Christmas, I gave him thestocking and the stuff. And, this year, again, it’s already done for the most part.
      I do find a good75 to 80 %or more,of the itemsat yard sales, flea markets, even on my journeys to England and other countries.

      If I see something I know someone will like, I buy it there and bring ithome. Itgoes into THE box for that person. Over the years, because my childrendelayed inproviding me with grandchildren, (Thankfully I have a granddaughter now!) I began giving gifts to the6 great nieces and nephews, the grandchildrenof the one brother and sister-in-law.

      While it’s always a collection of items, never a particular toy they’ve requested, it’s usually a good size bag of assorted toys. I think it’s the real surprise of getting something they haven’t specifically requested and have come to know they will get.
      I think I’m on the “other” end again with the number of people I give to now. I don’t mind, but I make sure to shop the whole year, and to buymany and often mostitems at yard sales, flea markets, and really good sales.

      Most of the Christmas presents are technically used, but to the person receiving new to them. As I do like to shop, but, it’s the pleasure I receive from finding things, almost the thrill of the discovery, not from spending lots of money.

      Gas prices getting you down? Search AOL Autos for fuel-efficient used cars.

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