Saturday, December 20, 2008

I Hate it When People Make Me Think

My friend Aaron is a thinker. I love him to pieces, but man, his questions make my head hurt. I'm usually all about acceptance. I tend to go with the status quo. And no, I don't always think that's a good thing, but it is easier.

So, tonight I was skimming over some blogs, (Can you say 331 posts in my blog reader? Yikes!) and I popped over to Shaun Groves blog and a series of posts entitled "Going Giftless". I should have just clicked onto another blog, because now my head hurts.

The basic premise is whether or not we should give gifts at Christmas. He explores some of the common reasons behind gift giving and why it is so hard to stop the over abundance at Christmas, and how he and his family handle it.

And now I'm thinking about it. The whole Christmas gift giving has been a thorn in my marriage since Christmas number one. Terry is not a big fan of giving people a bunch of stuff when they already have a bunch of stuff. Especially when there are a whole boatload of people without anything who could use even a little stuff.

Frankly, I've never been submissive in this issue. Why? I LOVE GIVING GIFTS AT CHRISTMAS! There, I yelled it. Ok, I don't think I will go down the submission road in this post, but just know it will be a key point in how I address this issue next year.

Americans are, in general, spoiled. C'mon. Admit you know it, and see it. Look at how everyone is freaking out that Christmas spending is down for the first time in several decades. Nevermind it's only down by like 2-3%; the world will never be right again if people don't overspend themselves into the poor house at Christmas! I've been guilty of this more than once in the past. It's a crazy ride we get on at Christmas. And I've come to the conclusion, rides that make you get sick, stressed and puke are not good ones.

But back to the series. One of the most thought provoking parts (at least for me) of Shaun's posts was this:"I thought it would be a good idea to have a moment of honesty with our adult selves. Truth be told, giving gifts to our kids isn’t always about our kids. Sometimes it’s about us and what we’ve always known. It’s about our comfort and compliance with a societal norm, a tradition as old as milk on cereal. If we changed the tradition, the expectations, if we made a radical substitute, who would be most affected by it the most really: The children or the grown ups?"

As my friend's wife Lorren would say, "Yeah, about that....".time to do some thinking. And don't worry. I know not all of my friends ( all 4 of you who still check in) will share my questioning on this. It's ok. I don't expect you to. Sometimes God asks things of us that he doesn't ask of others.


Runningmama said...

My church is doing something like that where you cut back on gift buying and donate to charity instead. It has given me too good of a reason to not buy anyone anything this year. I am Christmas lazy. I wish I loved gift giving more -- shopping is just such pain!!!!

trisha said...

Even when we cut back on gifts it amazes me how much stuff there still is under the tree. I am fighting the urge to return things and asking the grandparents to tone down on the generousity.

boomama said...

Yep. His posts made me think, too. For the last couple of years we've made some changes in how we do the gift thing - but I have a feeling even more changes are in store. It's been challenging for me - because I LOVE to give a gift - but the shift in perspective is good. It really is.

Barbie said...

I know I am in the minority but I really don't DO Christmas gifts with anyone other than my kids on Christmas. My family doesn't understand but they will get used to it lol As you know I am a single Mom so we live on a limited budget BUT I love that I don't have to stress anymore. I am very upfront with my friends that I will spoil the heck outta you all year long and especially on your bday but I don't do Christmas. My kids get Christmas but not a huge one..not from me at least...I want them to focus on the Gift and not the gifts. This is our 3rd Christmas here so I will let you know how it works for us lol

PEZmama said...

I don't think I totally agree with Shaun's description of the magi, but I will say this: in regard to what he says about gift-giving, I am right there with him.

So, at least this reader shares your questioning.

Lorren said...

You know I'm going to throw the whole Mexico card on this one, don't you? Being there has been such a huge wake up call and has really changed our perspective. The girls were excited to give a family a goat instead of getting stocking stuffers and a lot of gifts. I agree with what Shaun said about it being about the parents. I get panicky when I think my children will have to go without or be deprived. Your post made ME think, Robin!! And I miss you, big time, by the way. XXOO

Mary@notbefore7 said...

WE are really basic on the gift giving in this house. In fact, my son's gifts were from yard sales back in spring - a GREAT deal on REscue Hero stuff. And thankfully friends gave us an amazing dollhouse from their childhood to give our girls.

We have always gone very basic and see it in the lives of our kids. They each only had 1 gift request on their list this year...when they told Santa and he asked what else, everyone around us was flabergasted that my 6 year old only wanted a stuffed mouse. (I have a feeling that will change some day) But we use it to our advantage now by not forcing consumerism on them.

We have stuck with the idea of 3 things in the past - one "big" thing and 2 smaller ones. (plus some stocking stuffers) I saw a rhyme on someones blog I liked that said:
something you want
something you need
something to wear
something to read

That is how they do it. I liked that.

I don't think there have to be rules for every year, but a basic knowledge that we don't just stock up on stuff.

Oh I am rambling, maybe I should write my own post :) Good thoughts here. It is something God will lead each family toward differently, but being open to His guidance is a start!

Dana~Are We There Yet? said...

I've started and deleted several comments. I can't get my thoughts together, but I guess I need for you to know that I'm having them. Or something. Anyway, yeah. Thinking. And needing aspirin.

Erin said...

I hate it when people make me think as well! I totally agree with the who is it for! I totally think it is more about the adults than the kids. I know my little one is more interested in the dollar store golf club set than the nice gift I got her!

Joanna {sweet finds} said...

Every year I suggest we tone things down with the family gift giving. And for years I was voted against. I finally got everyone to agree on drawing names for the adults.

The hubby & I get into it each year! I always say the kids have enough & he always wants to buy, buy, buy.

I don't think it will ever get any better. :( (not in my family, is what I mean).

Happy New Year, Robin.
xoxo, Joanna