Pressure Busting Tip #4
My family is big, but it's not like the Osmonds or the Kennedys. Still, once my sister Patti had her four kids, and I had my two, and my other sister Susan had her two, and my brother had his two, we all suddenly realized that Christmas was going to get exponentially more expensive. And for a long, long time if we didn't do something about it. We weren't being a Scrooge or a Grinch, we were being more of a...Christmas Einstein. While the kids were little, it was a given that we would buy for them. Heck, most of the fun of Christmas shopping was buying Kid Stuff. For the adults, we all put our names on an index card along with a few gift ideas that were within our set spending limit. Then we had a drawing. After a few years, we all agreed to give that up, too, and simply spend the money on our kids and my mom and dad. Then the kids all got older and less fun to buy for, and their tastes got really specific and more expensive and we realized that this, too, could go on forever, and when they started having babies, where and when would it ever end?
Madness! It's like the House of Representatives. Anyway, this all leads me to today's tip, which some of you may have already implemented: Set practical, common-sense gift-giving limits and stick to them. In our family we make age 18 the last year for gifts from aunts and uncles. We do not buy gifts for grandnieces and grandnephews no matter how adorable and wonderful and cuddly they are. We leave that set to Great-Grandma St. Patsy and the Grandmas and Grandpas among us. Christmas is for children, but the last thing children need is to be spoiled by ten tons of plastic. Better that they feel ten tons of love, laps, hugs, and smooches.
Every once in a while, I'll see a small giftie that reminds me of Bobby, Susan, or Patti (my siblings). I happily pick it up to give to him or her at Christmas as a surprise. No one expects anything, and if someone gets something and the other doesn't, there are no hurt feelings. It makes for a happier, less stressful, more loving Christmas.