An elf just died after I wrote this blog post

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dont-blinkIf there is one good thing to come out of this economic downturn, it’s that I can use it to my advantage to cut back on Christmas gifts this year. While both CareerMom and I are blessed with our jobs, and thus aren’t being affected as much as a lot of people this year, the recent financial strain has caused everyone to re-evaluate their gift-giving priorities.



For instance, I have roughly three mothers:

  • My bio-mom (Hi Bio-Mom!)
  • My adopted mom
  • The mom who mostly raised me after “adopted mom” split up with Dad shortly after the adoption. Hey, nothing says, “We made the right choice honey!” like walking out on your family two years after taking on a couple of kids.

Very recently, I came to the conclusion that perhaps I was old enough now that I could/should both A) Stop receiving gifts from my parents and B) Stop giving gifts to ALL of my parents, and siblings, and anyone else who has laid claim to my life thanks to my tree’s many and various branches.

I don’t come to this conclusion lightly because I do love to see those gifts under the tree with my name on them and I do really enjoy giving gifts to my loved ones. In that respect–and many others if I’m being honest–I’m still a kid. And while I’m not sure any of us ever really outgrow getting presents, there comes a time when your own little family takes center stage. We don’t really buy our kids many toys over the course of the year, so Christmas is kind of our chance to not only get something fun for them, but also to get something that we won’t mind sitting on the floor playing for the next twelve months. Also, CareerMom’s brother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few years ago. He’s 41 this year and has eight kids (yes, eight!). They need all the help they can get.

So this year, I have asked that my parents not get me/us anything and just get the boys something if they so desire. Or, if they feel led, take the money they would spend on us and spend it on a needy family. And when I say “needy” here, I mean “really trying and coming up short,” not “lazy” (the Obama pre-election infomercial comes to mind…)

In truth, most of what I want costs waaay more than anyone can afford (myself included) and I suspect the same can be said for the majority of people I’m buying for this year. So why do it?

I’m not a scrooge folks; really I’m not. I did my lights outside this weekend and CareerMom has the house looking very festive. We even took the boys to the tree farm and cut down a real, live, honest-to-goodness Christmas tree on Saturday. So see, I’ve not lost my Christmas spirit–I’ve only shifted it a little–perhaps more inline with the way it should be for someone my age. (this growing up stuff sux!)

But all is not lost; don’t think the Wii the boys are getting for Christmas isn’t for me as much as it is for them. I just have to find the quiet time where I can play my games rather than anything with the name “Mario” in it!

Oh also, my 10-year anniversary is coming up next November, and as of right now, I have nothing saved up for an Anniversary Gift/Trip/memorable anything.


6 thoughts on “An elf just died after I wrote this blog post

    Surfer Jay said:
    December 1, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    That’s rad, cutting down your own tree. The nearest open plot of land capable of holding an actual tree farm around here is about 30 miles away in the Malibu Hills. Perhaps I could plant one in my cement backyard and have the boy chop it down in 12 years when it’s big enough.

    Doesn’t buying gifts suck some times. My sister’s tried to get our family to draw names this year for exchanging gifts. As much as I would of liked to do that to cut costs, I just couldn’t vote yes on the prop. Wouldn’t feel right not opeing all that free loot. Well hardly free I suppose, considering for every gift I get I also purchased one. Hummbuggery.

    RE: Yeah, it cuts both ways. I’ve already gotten my Christmas present, in the form of an HDTV that I mostly bought myself from my “rainy day cash,” which means my “under the tree” booty will be light this year. Bummer. But, I’m trying to remind myself that I’m not the kid around here anymore.

    It’s not really cheering me up much.

    Rose said:
    December 2, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    We are in a similar situation, in that we are trying to cut out purchasing for adults in the family. It is going to take baby steps but we are on our way. We have one family down and one to go. We have gone from purchasing for almost everyone, to drawing names, to yankee swaps, to nothing. We even draw names for kids.
    I find that since I can get away with spending less I am going to ride that wave while I can. It will not be long until the kids are old enough to ask for skis, ipods, laptops, snowboards, surfboards, 100 dollar sneakers etc. Right now a 25 dollar light saber will make his dreams come true, and a purple gemstoned tiara will make her world perfect. We (my husband and I) do not do anything for each other–just the stockings (from Santa) and a gift from the kids (they pick out with a lot of direction from us). We do more for our birthdays and for Mothers/Fathers day to spread the financial burden throughout the year more.
    By the way, we always cut a tree. Don’t you just love the smell that fills the house?

    RE: Well, we go the cheap-o route and get a Leyland Cyprus, rather than a nice, woodsy smelling spruce, so we don’t get much of the good smelling stuff.
    But I feel your pain. I do like to buy CareerMom some good stuff at Christmas, thought it’s never anything like expensive jewelry. I’d rather save that for something special…like our upcoming 10th anniversary next year!

    Allison said:
    December 3, 2008 at 7:39 am

    I don’t think having a low-key gift Christmas is being a Scrooge at all. That isn’t really what Christmas is about anyway. I’m taking a low-key gift approach with the imp because she doesn’t need anything. Even if the economy didn’t scare the bajeezus out of me, I think I would still do this. Unfortunatly she’s convinced Santa is going to bring her a pink girl tractor (Power Wheels???) for Christmas b/c she saw it in the evil Wal-Mart catalogue we received in the mail. We’re working on changing her expectations.

    romi41 said:
    December 3, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    you don’t need an anniversary gift, just re-create a vintage date you two had early on, that’ll score you way more points 😉

    RE: *frowning* That’s a toughie. Our first date was at my condo, since I was unemployed and broke. I know right? It’s a shocker she stuck with me. Other than that, I’m not sure we’ve had any really great dates that I can re-create. Woe is me!

    pamajama said:
    December 4, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    I think on our 10-year anniversary we went to Hooters. Since we were married by Elvis in Las Vegas I wanted something that would match. It was great. Even got the daughter a keychain with her picture and the big HOOTERS insignia. I refuse to buy into the hysteria of coming up with something great, which only adds pressure and tension, leading to less than it could have been otherwise:)

    But what I’m really writing about is I want to confirm which mother Trish is — I’m guessing bio, but I don’t know why I think that — aren’t I a nosy bitch? Yes, I am. It’s been confirmed. Since I have enough trouble dealing with one mother I am overwhelmed by the idea of three.

    As for the Christmas gifts, we’re moving into a weird realm where my son is now a college graduate and making more money than I do, with more expendable cash than my husband has. Yet, I still want to buy him the moon. Not reasonable. All those extraneous people? I just can’t do it. Too overwhelming. I short circuit completely. Would much rather send surprises throughout the year when unexpected. I don’t really DO that, but I think about doing it:)

    RE: Woo Hoo! WordPress has an actual “reply” feature now! Yaaah!

    Anyway, yep, Trisha is “Bio-Mom,” a name that she is OK with (at least publicly).
    BTW: Hooters? Elvis? My…that’s the stuff legendary blog posts are made of. Do tell!

    You’ve also made me start reconsidering the “grand 10-year anniversary” gift. I mean, if I scrape up, we can probably either go somewhere really nice for a couple of nights, assuming I can get the grandparents to cooperate, or I can probably get her a decently nice piece o’ jewelry. But not both…hmmm, decisions decisions.

    thegirlfromtheghetto said:
    December 5, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    I’m totally with you on this. I don’t think adults need presents. Sure, its always fun to get gifts, but buying for tons of people gets tiring and expensive. The fact that you brought up the charity thing was fabulous. We give to a bunch of charities each year, esp. since I was one of those kids who got her food and presents from churches whose members donated gifts to us. Even our kids are on a strict $150 budget each year. They don’t need to have EVERYTHING. As a child my best Christmas was when I was 16 and my mom got me four rock tapes. I was happy she managed to pick out the right ones.

    RE: I think those are all great ideas! Rock tapes? HA! Now, I guess it’d be like “Jonas Brothers” or something!

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