Last year, I vented a bit about Christmas giving. Trish and I revisited the issue and instead of my $10-15/person gift idea, she and her sisters decided on doing a ‘Secret Santa’ deal with a $50 budget. That would allow for one nice present rather than 5 books/cds/t-shirts/etc. And the gift has to be thoughtful, though some family members have still released lists of preferred gifts. (shame on thee, ye of so little faith ;-))
I’m really happy about the idea, though I’m still working on what to get for my intended recipient. Some family members have been trying to figure out who’s got who, but I don’t care. I had the joy of emailing my MIL that I’ll never tell who I have the other day. But I suppose old habits (buying stuff based on a list of what someone wants, and thus logically Not Wasting Time or Money) are hard to break.
We may have made our ‘no gifts’ proclamations based on our budget, but I’m glad to know that we’re not alone. I realize now how ridiculous it all is. Christmas lists seemed like a good idea so people don’t have to spend time returning gifts, but it makes the process so impersonal. Just using the word ‘process’ to describe it is bad enough. It becomes a thoughtless sequence of events, devoid of real emotion.
My whole view on Christmas shifted after seeing the the surprise and joy my children have when they see that Santa came. We’re not ones to break the bank (mainly because there’s no bank to break) but seeing my kids happy makes for a joyous and fulfilling Christmas for me. (Caveat: I like toys and games :-D) We don’t get a very big timeframe for kids to really believe in something magical. Love is magical, but Santa has some unbeatable ‘How the hell does he do it’ mojo.
M still firmly believes in Santa, and I hope it stays that way for another couple of years. He did have some very pointed questions about Santa this year, including how his elves can make plastic toys, but Trish did well in convincing him that they continually upgrade their skills and keep up with the times. I’m girded for this being the last Christmas where he really believes – I’m sure someone will try to tell him otherwise in the next year, and maybe he’ll insist on searching the house.
Or worse, he learns to read and starts reading our blog 😛