Stalling out over the holidays

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-27-2009
Stalling out over the holidays
14
Tue, 11-13-2012 - 10:52pm

Does anyone else feel like they are stalling out over the holiday season? I have been on this journey for a few years now and I feel like putting everything on hold and using the extra cash this month for nice presents for the kids and parents. I have not been able to for several years, so I feel like this would be a nice thing to do. They all help out so much (especially now that I am in Master's classes every night) and I want to express my appreciation. I know, I know they don't NEED these gifts but I would love to show my gratitude with gifts that they need/want but won't purchase themselves. I have researched some perfect gifts for them and I would not be using credit to purchase them...Anyone else with holiday debt repayment fatigue?

JenAaron.jpg picture by jen2075


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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-27-2009
Wed, 11-21-2012 - 11:09am

I do not wish to buy expensive Christmas presents out of guilt or obligation. I really want to show my appreciation for the help that they have provided me thus far. Time is not a luxury that I have at this point; I work full time and am in Master's classes every week night, so making handmade items and the like are not feasible. The whole point of my post was that I want to show my appreciation to the people I love. The gifts I am considering are not too expensive (total cost for all gifts is in the $600 range with NOTHING going on credit cards...) and they are items that will be well used and very practical for the people who receive them. Like I said in the OP, I have not done this for years and would love to show them that I am thankful for all of their hard work helping me.

Also, I always shop throughout the year for Christmas/Birthday gifts and have a closet full of fabulous deals that I have come across, but it is mostly clothing and small items.

JenAaron.jpg picture by jen2075


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-25-2008
Mon, 11-19-2012 - 7:37pm

I have felt that way too.  But a while back I started shopping way in advance so I wouldn't feel tight, stressed, or frustrated with gifts.  I bought my 1st christmas gift last January.  I pay attention to what the  kids show interest in and what deals I find.  So I buy stuff all through  the year and I wrap as I go so I am not overwhelmed with wrapping all at once.  I have a tub full of gifts ready to go.  I only have a bit more to get.

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Sun, 11-18-2012 - 3:38pm

So you are buying (expensive) Christmas presents out of guilt and obligation?

Christmas comes the same day every year. It's not a surprise. 

Gifts do not have to be something you buy in a store. How about the gift of time? Make "coupons" to give for things like raking the leaves, shoveling snow, baby sitting, a ride to a doctor's appointment, a trip to the ice cream shop in the summer, etc. Things you make are also more meaningful. A plateful of homemade chocolate chip cookies, and the time you spend with your kids making them, is a more lasting gift than anything you buy in the store.

And don't forget: you don't have wait until november to buy presents. If you aren't saving for Christmas starting Jan. 1 every year and buying bargains (garage sales, ebay, craig's list) throughout the year, then you're just caught up in the marketing hype that infects everyone this time of year.

Stay away from Black Friday and out of the mall this year. I delight in driving by the full parking lots and frenzied shoppers EVERY year because I've kept my list small and sensible and I "shopped" secondhand, etc. in July. Trust me, no one will notice you're not standing in line at 4 a.m. for the not-such-a-bargain electronic thingie. 

Good luck. Breaking the gotta-buy-something-expensive-for-Christmas habit is as hard to quit as heroin. 

Merry Christmas from the "other side" of the credit card bill. :-0

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 11-16-2012 - 2:52pm

Hi Happy,

I hear ya' on that one.  My SO thinks all holidays are a conspiracy.  Money Mouth

I have tried to change the dance a bit with my family, but no luck thus far.  My mom doesn't even enjoy shopping any more, but my sister still enjoys it, so here I sit, with like a $10-15 budget for each family member, excluding my DD12.  I don't know.  Part of gift giving is still kind of fun.  I do enjoy the holiday hustle and bustle.  The whole gift card and gift bag generation has taken some of the excitement away though.

Let's face it, money does play a part of it.  Not that having money would change my phiolosphy, but it does make Christmas a little easier to navigate with it.  

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Fri, 11-16-2012 - 1:58pm
I think I am beginning to question the whole concept of gift giving...or purchasing anyway. Stores are opening on Thanksgiving so people can get a jump on Christmas shopping...really? We are giving up one day of family togetherness that focuses on gratitude to be prepared for one that focuses on...I don't know, maybe giving but maybe greed? I love many things about the holidays..the lights and decorations, the smells of yummy food cooking, the laughter around a table filled with people who love one another...I like shopping and giving presents, but I hate the stress of knowing the right thing to buy and of receiving gracefully what others have chosen for me which may not reflect who I think I am. I like wrapping presents, but feel sad to see the paper and ribbon strewn about after the wrapping is undone....I am actually going to be away from my family this year at Christmas, and have opted out of the gift giving...I am almost hoping I can make this permanent...not because of the money part but because I would like to change my focus from things to experiences. This might sound bah humbug and I don't mean it to...the magic of Christmas will always include the concept of Santa and also 'the perfect gift' but I wonder how many of us received something in the past five years that was truly memorable, or gave a gift that was really needed...and how much of our holiday anticipation is happiness and how much dread...
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-27-2009
Fri, 11-16-2012 - 10:41am

Me too...Come back to us Kate :)

JenAaron.jpg picture by jen2075


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
Fri, 11-16-2012 - 10:20am

I miss our Kate dearly! I hope everything is ok on her end!

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 11-15-2012 - 5:32pm

Well, once I just accepted the fact that I would be broke until February, I have just been grateful to be able to pay my bills.  Every car payment and loan payment is a dent in my total debt. 

I don't have as much put up this year as I did last year for Christmas.  I have less than $100 stashed. 

@ Country gal, yes...things keep going up!   My only saving grace has been the price reduction in fuel. 

Anyone talked to Kate lately? 

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2008
Thu, 11-15-2012 - 10:40am

Well it stinks on my end too.  I'm usually so much more prepared than this year.  I have no earthly idea what went wrong other than we took the Sept. trip to Florida on a business/pleasure trip.  I never realized that funds were so tight and that was a big bite out of my Christmas money.  I don't know what the heck has happened, but for the past 6 mos. my living expense, aka, food & gas have shot through the roof.  I am so carefull with our money but it keeps pulling a disappearing act.  I hope to have about $300 - $400 more for Christmas gifts next week, but then I have to purchase special stuff for Thanksgiving dinner, so that blows my food budget.  I drive a diesel truck to work, so I'm spending about $70 -80 a week on fuel.  STINKS!  Our son has my little car and it's really putting me in a bind, but they are too.  The only gift I have purchased is for grandson who is six.  We take him for a pair of boots every year right before Christmas, so this will more than likely be all he is getting.  The other gift was $173.  That's enough!  I seriously doubt we will get each other a gift this year, bummer  :(  

Why, why, why, do I feel like I'm going backwards.  Bascially everything has went up in price and I am the only one that has had a raise in 3.5 yrs. and that was only $18 a week net.  DH got a bonus but the Bankruptcy court insisted we apply it to medical bills.  Thank goodness they let us do that.  Now no medical or dental bills.  That's a GOOD THING!!!!  

Lord help me because it's just getting tighter and tighter.  I don't have a lot of fight left in me.  66.45 weeks to go @ $518 a week = $34,422.  GOD, please let is go by fast  ......

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Wed, 11-14-2012 - 8:56pm
I think as far as kids go, it depends on their ages. Little ones can be happy with a few well chosen presents - in fact, I think more can be overwhelming. Older kids do have specific wants and 'needs' and it makes sense to invest in what they really do want rather than a bunch of stuff that isn't on their lists. My mom always wanted us to have many gifts to open, but many of them were underwear and socks...needed and something to open...and of course we got some things from our list, but never everything. My nephews are appalled at the thought that we got socks a presents, but it was what we expected, and I don't remember minding. For adults, I think it can be hard to buy useful and/or wanted gifts but if you feel like the money you spend will not be on something that sits on a shelf, then I think it is a valid decision to decide to spend rather than pay bills one month out of the year...but not to charge anything. Usually I would say that spending time was a better gift, but sounds like that isn't an option for you this year. The most important part of the holidays is if you can share loving moments with your family...gifts are just the cherry on the sundae...

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