Thursday, December 07, 2006

    .. of a Fake Christmas

    Just like the ones I used to know.

    We got a real tree once.
    I got sick of vacuuming up pineneedles, and it died too fast, or I forgot to water it, or something. And you can't bend a branch into place, because real trees don't have bendy-metal innards {gasp!}. If your decorations are too heavy, or your trees a bit on the weepy side, you just have to deal with it.

    So a lot of people have fake trees, no biggie, whatever.
    But there's something else about us.
    Something wicked...

    We don't ... buy .. presents !!
    And this year is especially special as we've managed to get away with ... not .. even .. buying .. a single .. one !! It's brilliant, brilliant I say !! Liberating !!

    We used to have a paternal family kris-kringle, but they've scrapped it in favour of a donation to a local charity close to the family. Fantastic, I say !!

    Now before you all start commenting on what a mean old shrew I am ( possibly true ), let me just mention a few things, and you see if we need any pressies: New house, new deck, new dress, new shoes, plants when I want 'em, and the boy picks up a new something-or-other from the $2 shops we frequent like at least once a week. We are not giftless in any way.

    We also have: food to eat, good friends who dismiss eccentric behaviour and other quirkisms, love, laughter, good times more oft. than bad, possible appearances on The Deal, family who put up with us, and an amazing, healthy, happy, sweet son, who is so kind to others, caring, and more expressive of feelings than his parents will ever be.

    Who needs a Yardley Gift Set now then, hey ? Soap-on-a-rope ?

    And besides, I am the crappest gift-buyer known to man. When I read the Gender Memes some people have done, all I could think of was my man-like gift buying.

    I will forget your birthday, stick a business car on your wedding present in the car ( I forgot a card ) on the way to your reception, not buy you an engagement gift at all, buy your wedding gift and get it wrapped and sent via an online service ( twice ! ), buy a nice looking bottle of something in a gift pack from a bottle-o on the way to your party, pop into a chemist and get them to giftwrap some Old Spice for you, or simply get roadside flowers on the way to your 'do'. Shocking. I'm so crap.

    So today, still thinking the tree 'needed something', the boy and I wrapped EMPTY BOXES to place beneath it. Actually, it was quite fun, and the fake tree seems to enjoy the company of fake presents. Some are shoeboxes, others are crap books I bought which i'll eventually give to the Salvos, and others are small packets of cereal. I kid you not. The ribbon we already owned, and the wrapping paper was mass-cheapo-produced.

    And no, i'm not going to do the gender meme, because i'm not sure if my high heels and makeup will save me now ... especially when you add my penchant for a beer into the mix.

    And I don't bake.


    suburban mom said...

    I don't really buy presents for my boys....because all the other relative spoil them rotten so I figure why bother? ;)

    Janet said...

    We're not big on presents either, we have far too much "stuff" as it is, although we do have a family Kris Kringle and the odd gift sneaks through. As in, I made you some jam type gift, which all is OK.

    I think wrapping boxes is a little weird (not that people in glass houses etc) but hey, it looks rather good and looking at the presents under the tree is the funnest bit anyway.

    Don't blame you for not doing the gender meme. It made my head hurt.

    And thanks for the teeth support, I can see my dentist is moving me towards the splint but I'm trying not to clench or grind and slowly the situation is improving. Hopefully the tooth goddess/fairy will look after your front one.

    Janet said...

    Oops, I must have typed my url wrong again.

    Anonymous said...

    I like your kind of Chirstmas :) I buy things the kids need at Christmas (pjs, undies etc.) and let the rellies get the real presents. They get too much stuff as it is.

    Lazy cow said...

    You're hysterical. Yes, we are all very fortunate and good on you for realising it and doing (or not doing! something about it. The present thing is so out of hand. I calculated that between us, my 7 girlfriends and I spend $1000(!!!) on each other at Christmas. How many soaps, candles, handcreams, diaries, wallets do we need? From now we're doing Kris Kringle and/or buying goats for 3rd world countries.
    BTW the tree looks great.

    din said...

    I'm so impressed with this. I tried suggesting this to my extended family, they were horrified. Oh well. As the other commenters say, its just all too much stuff.

    Jo said...

    But what about Santa? Does he visit? Does he bring something other than boxes of cereal? How do you get away with this?

    Stomper Girl said...

    Your tree looks fantastic. Even with fake presents ;-)

    So basically, you're feeling not too frazzled about this Christmas thing while the rest of us are having panic attacks in overcrowded shopping malls?

    Clever you.

    h&b said...

    'Too mush stuff' is the motivating factor. I like the Worldvision "Smiles" catalogue, where you buy a family a goat or whatever, but i've had people insulted, or left feeling miffed by these types of gifts. Very disappointing.

    And Jo - i'm sure I won't be off the hook for long. Judging from this years' increased interest and 'getting it', I have a feeling Santa might start visiting the home next year...

    And yes Stomper, crowded shopping centres give me the heebie jeebies ! I'll save my stress for Xmas Day cooking horrors, accidents and dramas .. don't you worry about that ;)

    Stomper Girl said...

    I'm a BIG fan of goat-type presents, and I get really nervous about whether people (read in-laws) will get pissed off at me too! I keep imagining they will be sniping behind my back "if she wants to give her money to charity that's fine, but..." I don't even know if they would think like that, I just worry about it.

    But tough! The nieces and nephews are giving school books to poor kids this year, alongside of receiving *@#%ing STUFF.

    Anonymous said...

    We are (kinda) the same. I only buy for the two neices, one nephew. No pressies for sisters/brothers as it gets way too expensive. We buy one big pressie for each of the two sets of parents (mine and his) and that's it. Both sets of parents give us $ which we pool together and buy something we want with it (I'm getting a you-beaut mix master this year). We don't buy gifts for each other (lyndon and I that is) as we usually buy something major during the year and say 'that's our xmas pressie'. This year was a fridge.

    dancingmorganmouse said...

    I am slowly, so slowly, getting my family to come around to this way of thinking. I've got it down to each person buys 1 person 1 gift (names pulled out of a hat) but I wait for the day when we do away with the whole gift thing. Not to say there isn't lots of eating, drinking and singing of carols - Now that's the fun bit.

    My float said...

    I think you're spot on. Too much stuff. I packed away some of my son's toys because I couldn't bear the clutter. It's not like he plays with it all anyway.

    And the amount of stuff he gets from other people, my goodness. If people ask me, I always say "books". They're compact and easily stored. And they help you learn stuff too!

    We've decided on one present from us (a ride-on or a scooter), and a stocking from "Santa" with a little Thomas engine and a couple of other bits and pieces. That's it from now on.

    jorth said...

    We're having a really low key Christmas - a couple of books for Grumbles, and a toy cat made from scraps.

    Last year we did the Oxfam Unwrapped pressies to our strange mumble-jumble family, and one person said "Oh, you got us one of those joke presents". Riiiiiight.

    Anonymous said...

    That is an amazing tree. I'm trying to keep Christmas downsized this year. I'm also adding in a pair of Pj's and a new outfit for each kids. Other than a few practical things I like to give gifts that lots of thought has gone into. This year I'm renovating my old dollhouse for my stepdaughter. I got new furniture and it's looking good so far.

    carolyn said...

    Your tree looks lovely especially with all your "fake" pressies underneath. It must be extremely liberating not buying presents, I mean if we are honest most of us get what we want as and when we can afford it so It's not as if there is usually something we really, really want as gifts.

    nutmeg said...

    I like your tree (fake pressies and all). VERY festive.

    This is why I wished to cut down on Mr J's side of the family buying something for everyone (there are 9 siblings and a rapidly growing list of nieces and nephews). That battle was won (you may remember the posts on my blog!) I DO NOT want my kids opening 40 odd presents on Christmas day!

    Not buying anything would be liberating. I deeply respect your ability to do so. But like you said, Santa may visit next year as the little kids do start to see what's going on. But like My Float said, a couple of presents do suffice :-)

    h&b said...

    Yes, I do believe in Xmas for the kids .. but our family just don't have any !! It's all these oldies with more stuff than they could ever want/need, and disappointed shrugs and dutiful thanks on the day.

    Talk about a bummer.

    So i'm probably ahead of all of you in the fact we've already done the K-K thing for years .. and even that got too much in the end.

    Perhaps if we had more young'uns in the family ??

    Anyway, I must say I am pleased with the responses to this post. In 'real life' I find I have a lot of explaining to do, and more than a few sideways looks.

    Hopefully the tide is changing a little bit.

    I remember getting my first 'goat for a family in Ethiopia'. I'm pretty sure it's still the only Xmas gift that ever made me cry, and I can't even recall any other gift so vividly.

    I'm no hippie for sure, but I can't understand why someone would think an Oxfam gift as a 'joke' ?

    'Huh?' indeed !

    VictoriaE said...

    You've got a lot of good points there. I was looking around at all the frazzled buying people in town today - thinking "Why are they doing this to themselves?" and then "Why am I doing this to myself?" It'll all got out of hand and can turn into and endless cycle of obligation. And I'm going fake tree this year too - never thought I'd do it but just as fun for the kids (more fun cos they get to have it up for longer). You go for it.

    joanne said...

    Baking is so over-rated!

    Damselfly said...

    Well, you're right, of course. Many of us have everything we need or could want, so exchanging gifts is just a ritual. But I wouldn't feel it was Christmas if I didn't open at least one gift, even if it was just a little lipstick or something! That reminds me, I had a co-worker whose family used to wrap household items like salt shakers they already owned and give them to one another just so they would have something to open. Pretty funny.

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