Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sooo Sooo Proud This Christmas (for many reasons)

Yes, I know, it has been *forever* since I posted, but 'tis the season for hectic days. In the midst of my busy preparations, I realized that I am proud of some of the gift giving choices this year. I will get to those below but first I MUST point out what I am most proud of - my little angel, Madeline. This photo is of her in costume for an in-class Christmas play that Pre-K performed for the parents during their Christmas party (the school, including Pre-K, had a much more formal Christmas concert earlier in the week). I have include a small video of the class play at the bottom of this post.

As for gift purchases I am proud of, first I would like to say that I am most proud of my family. Coming from a family of 6, we realized years ago that if we bought presents for everyone we would all go into the poor house. For years we have picked names and had a sibling to exchange with. We had a lot of fun with that but eventually, we came to realize that by the time you reach our age, if you need anything, you buy it for yourself and that we were sort just exchanging stuff. We considered stopping the gift exchange between siblings all together but we enjoyed sharing Christmas with each other (despite each of us residing in a different state). What we decided to do was keep the idea of picking names but have a strict guideline on price. In order to make this fun our strict price limit was purposely set low and certain rules were to be followed. Our price limit is $10....yep, that's right! I love this because I have more fun shopping for this gift than any other gift. I also feel that the fact that you must be creative really makes you think of the likes/dislikes of the person for which you are buying. Some of the rules for this are that you can gift items that are homemade, new, or used. Heck, if you find the perfect gift at a garage sale....more power to ya! The only leeway we give is that this $10 does not include shipping costs. So, if you find an item in a catalog or on eBay you do not have to work shipping costs into the equation. Also, in order for each of us to take advantage of after Christmas sales (if desired) we try to pick names early for the following year's exchange. I have so much fun with this and it brings back the joy of Christmas in my shopping experience. This year, my brother, Paul, sent me (yes I was told I had to open it when it arrived) Butt Rubb. It is supposedly the *best* BBQ in the Lexington, KY area. Paul sent me a container (that was frozen and over-nighted - thank god for our shipping rule) I plopped it in my freezer and am looking forward to trying it out when we get back from Indiana)

Secondly, speaking of after Christmas sales, I have no problem buying items and storing them for a year. Madeline's dance class brings in little goodies for each other on the last day of dance before Christmas. All those goofy little trinkets (that moms usually end up vacuuming up) tend to be *expensive*! And despite the fact that they are tiny gifts you still end up spending about $1 a kid! So last year, I took advantage of the clearance sale in Target's $1 bins. The items were 75% off! So, I ended up getting for each kid a Hello Kitty notepad (that they could use for drawing) and a pen set....for $0.50 a kid!

Lastly, I am so proud of the success of the new gift exchange idea that I suggested to David's work for their Christmas party. Again, back to what I previously said, at our age gift exchanges boil down to exchanging stuff. How many candles and page-a-day calendars can one use? This year, everyone at David's work picked a name to buy a gift for. The catch however, is that you had to buy a toy that represented the co-worker that you were buying for. This was hysterical especially since it was decided that the gifts were opened at random and everyone had to guess who that gift was meant to represent. There were tons of laughs....especially when a talkative male co-worker got a Miss Chatterbox doll! So what do all these grown-ups do with these toys? They were all collected at the end of the party and donated to Toys For Tots!

So, what am I trying to say? It's not about how much you spend!! It truly is the thought that counts. And what I love most about the season is getting together with friends and family. Sharing time with those you love during this season is what makes for a Merry Christmas. It is our time together that is what makes the memories we cherish always.


Poo said...

I sure hope the Butt Rubb traveled well and that you enjoy it. I'm also glad that shipping costs were not part of the $10.00 rule.

Craig and Phyllis said...

Oh I love those ideas!!! I will have to remember this and share it with my family later for possibly doing next year. The idea for the work exchange it really good.