I'm not cranky, just introspective

I'm so relieved that we no longer have to guess what our kids might want for Christmas. We are inundated each day with catalogues and store brochures advertising all the big shiny things kids should ask for, and I'm pleased to not even open them.

Yesterday's paper had an article about being a New Age Grinch by giving giftees florescent light bulbs and clocks made of old cd's. It seems that people in my area are less than thrilled with these new 'green' gifts but, for people with a conscience, the holidays can be problematic.

K's family, for whom Christmas is a bigger deal gift-wise than mine, solved this problem years ago by declaring that gifts should be homemade. We put aside the notion that gifts needed to be large and showy and delighted in the fact that we no longer had to purchase things like sweaters for 30-something siblings who had all the sweaters they ever needed. My side of the family doesn't exchange gifts for adults, which I like, but as the Birds have older children, I do realize that it is difficult to buy for us. This year I have suggested gift cards. My kids love to shop at Target or Barnes and Noble and they can choose anything from motor oil to the books they've been considering.

K and I used to worry about what to make for people, whether they would enjoy what we think they'd enjoy and if they'd realize how hard we had worked. But we've let those worries go too, the point is that we were making something for the group.

One year I knitted scarves, one year we made pickles, one year we made sausage. I can't say what this year's gift is - it's due here today.

And what to do for the cousins?
The boys are getting magazine subscriptions (recycle them, boys) and the girls are getting different versions of these. I had a woodcarver make something for the baby cousin - I found him on Etsy.

I'd like to think we are being as green as we can without becoming Grinches.


Anonymous said…
Kinda expensive bracelet for a piece if string and one lil silver whosamathingey, no?

This is a easy make-it-yourself item, no?
Anonymous said…
I am still a gift card hold out. I feel like if I hand one to my niece I did not bother to think about HER and buy an actual present. It gets harder every year but I just refuse dammit!!!
Of course I know she would SO much rather have that card to Anthropologie but I just am holding out for as long as I can. I want to to hand people BOXES!

I refuse to give adults presents that have children. My favorite gift giving rule is friends of mine who do give to adults but since it is Christmas it has to be TOYS.
Hubby was thrilled with the red wagon he had never got as a kid, I adore my pink Etch a Sketch! Oh my head aches thinking of it all!!
We cut out the adults quite a few years ago, except for a little something homemade. Then we started choosing 3 names out of a hat for kid gifts. One year we did a Yankee Swap for the adults with $10 gift cards. It was fun and we had a lot of laughs.
I love the homemade gift idea. I knitted a blanket for one of my baby nephews and made the other baby nephew a quilt. Two toddler nephews are getting superhero capes with their initials on the back -- I didn't make them, but found them on Etsy.

If I do give gift cards, there's usually something with it, such as a gourmet food treat or a framed photo.
Geggie said…
I just saw the braclets for the first time in a lovely little gift shop in DC last month. Cute!
alice c said…
Dammit - so it was true about the 24 scarves - I bow before you.
I am appalled to think that I assumed it was Tuvalu wit.
Nora :) said…
I haven't even stated shopping, and there's no way I'm making anything. Every year it seems to get harder and harder to find something unique and appropriate and blah blah blah.

You may not be cranky, but I clearly am. Perhaps etsy is the answer this year.
Unknown said…
Those are some great ideas for gifts. I am so uninspired this year i don't know what to do about a christmas tree or decorations. I don't want to do any of it.
Anonymous said…
I am terminally lazy in the Christmas shopping department. Luckily my kids are now old enough that very little shopping is needed, mostly just point and click on whatever it was they told me they wanted. This morning I got my husband to agree that instead of buying gifts for each other, we would donate that money to the charity of the donee's choice. I may do that for #1 son's b/day next week, too; he is in a part of Mexico that is out of reach of mail and UPS and FedEx and would probably prefer a donation in his name anyway.

I could go on about the appalling explosion of consumerism that happens at this time every year but I think I feel a blog post coming on...
Mary said…
I am from a family of seven children so as we all grew up we adopted the Kris Kringle idea. We used to do it for a sibling each and their families but this year we have eliminated the adults and now each cousin will buy for one other cousin (with a set limit) and the adults are going to donate to a charity in the family name.

What a relief I have to say!

And in our case we will incorporate a home made element into each of the cousin's gifts.
Unknown said…
We give gifts all around, but we're a small family. One thing I'm going to do this year is make some CDs from mine and ones I get at the library. My brother did this for me and I loved it and know my family will, too. It's thoughtful and cheap!