Prezzies (Krissie)

So all you noble people who don’t want anything for themselves for Christmas – you’re all a bunch of poops!
No, not really. You’re wise and grounded. There are too many things in this world, and I keep decluttering like mad, so what’s my problem?

I don’t have a shopping disorder. I do like to shop, I have bought too much in the past, but I haven’t gotten into debt over it, ordered stuff and never opened it, etc. I think maybe during times of grief, like when my brother died, I went out to shop a little obsessively, though it was the trips, more than the purchases, back then, and now that I have a hard time wandering stores I haven’t substituted Amazon, etc.

I think part of it was that shopping with my mother was one of the rare times we really had fun together. Even when we were little she would take Taffy and me into Philadelphia to the big department stores (Strawbridges, Gimbels, etc) and we should shop. For my mother, who was, fortunately, a bargain hunter, it was her major recreational activity, a way she could interact with people without interacting. She was very much devoted to her self-image as an intellectual, and she wasn’t interested in gardening, fiber crafts, cooking, outdoors, sports, visual arts, getting together with friends … She would read and she would shop and she would rage.

I remember one Saturday when she took us into Philadelphia (we lived in Princeton but we’d moved from Philadelphia so we tended to focus there rather than NYC), We’d had a fabulous time – gone out for a fancy lunch, I’d gotten a beautiful pink easter dress (god, I loved that dress!) and arrived home to find my father passed out on the floor, and everything came crashing down . There are certain moments that stick out in a child’s memory (I must have been around ten) and that’s one of them.

So, since I’m spending all my time giving stuff away, why do I have a big Christmas list? Part of it is that we’re so tight for cash that I can’t just get what I want. We’ve been spending $2,500 more than we bring in each month, and that’s just about the amount for Tim’s rent and food and Daniel’s college loans. But Tim just got approved for SSI and disability and Daniel’s got a job he likes, so things are looking up. But I still have to double and triple think every purchase and then still probably not get it. Here’s my list:

Ha! Okay, I can’t cut and paste, but I laughed when I looked at it. I thought I was being so fucking greedy, but what I’d chosen was $15 Thor’s Hammer, three craft books, a couple of crochet patterns, a set of fabric stamps, and a cd of Danish Christmas carols. There are a couple of things that cost about $25 and the rest are about $10. So I guess my soul-searching about my shopping and acquisition needs was totally unnecessary. I think buying stuff for creativity/craft is excellent, except when you substitute buying for doing. For instance, I spent years buying fabric and books (and even then I paced myself – I’m a bargain shopper too). But a book on learning a new technique or a tool for doing it (the fabric stamps) is stretching you rather then hemming you in with stuff.

All right, none of this is terribly interesting for you, and that’s okay. It’s a way for me to work things out, which is exactly what this did today, and I feel less grabby, and delightfully righteous.

Anyway, it’s Christmas, and since I’m a Christmas fanatic I tend to think about Christmas-y things. Today I’ll decorate plain sunglasses with christmas stuff just for giggles. Ho ho ho.

Which reminds me, I once made matching nightshirts for the kids with xmas fabric that said “ho ho ho” but I forgot to pay attention to direction when I cut it out, so the kids had xmas nightshirts that said “oh oh oh”.

Off I go in my sleigh. Er … to shop.

9 thoughts on “Prezzies (Krissie)

  1. Cindy says:

    My husband and I don’t exchange presents. Financially things are really tight for us also. I’ve taken a significant pay cut, medical expenses, etc.

    If we had more money, and I could get whatever I wanted for Christmas, I would want these things:

    – More Exercise equipment (a half step, a fit tower, exercise band w/handles)
    – A clarisonic brush
    – Tickets to Disneyland for the 4 of us (me, husband, and 2 daughters)

    But even though I can’t get those things, I’m so grateful for everything I have. I have two amazing, strong daughters. I have a loving supportive husband. And I’m healthy and getting stronger through exercise everyday. I’m beyond blessed.

  2. Lynda says:

    “I think buying stuff for creativity/craft is excellent, except when you substitute buying for doing.”

    That’s my problem. I have a bedroom so stuffed full of sewing supplies that I can’t get in there to use any of it. At least I haven’t added any new crap to the pile in the past year. That’s progress of a sort.

    Enjoy your Christmas shopping, Krissie. The holiday doesn’t resonate with me anymore, but I do love being with family. When I went to my kids’ house for Thanksgiving, they had just gotten one of the little Google personal assistant thingies, whatever they are called, and the boys were having great fun with it. What charmed me was tossing out random suggestions for music and the device played them all, even fairly obscure things that I hadn’t heard in 50 years. I was impressed by the depth of the catalog. So when they asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I casually said they could get me one of those gadgets. Later my daughter-in-law told me she was thrilled that for once there was something they could get me that I didn’t already have.

  3. Office Wench Cherry says:

    I’m so happy about Daniel’s job. I’m sure making his own money will do wonders for his self-esteem and that can do nothing but good in light of all the other challenges he faces. Tim’s challenges are different and workable in different ways but at least there’s financial help for him and you.

    Tall Boy and I aren’t getting each other gifts this year as we are saving for our trip to Ireland (it was going to be England/Scotland/Wales but thanks to Prince Harry’s wedding – which is also our 15th anniversary and the weekend we were going to be in London – we decided that we would go to Ireland instead and skip all the crowds) with maybe a few days at the end in England and Scotland. Also, Fred is growing like a weed and eating like 5 dogs. He’s 3 months old, weighs over 27 pounds and is over 17 inches at the shoulder. He is gonna be a big boy. But he’s cute and funny and we are smitten already – even if he has decided that waking up the woman in the middle of the night is just what a puppy’s gotta do.

    If we were shopping for each other, I would be asking for an upholstery stapler and some really good (like Zibra or Annie Sloan) paint brushes. I may buy myself an Annie Sloan brush in Ireland/the UK as even with the exchange they are cheaper than buying in Canada.

  4. Brussel Sprout says:

    I am clearing our house…it makes me want never to shop again. I am trying to shed as much as possible. We moved from Brussels four years ago, and it was hell. We still have boxes that we haven’t opened. They are full of books and photos. But when DH did unpack, I discovered he had bought an insane number of glasses, soup bowls, egg cups, a complete dinner service …

    So far, I’ve done two trips shedding old magazines (I cannot imagine that the complete 2004-2005-2006 issues of House & Garden are something that we will need), broken bric-a-brac and giving away the glasses and some really ugly mugs and flatware to charity shops. I’ve chucked away out of date spices, porridge oats, cans and jars of pickles and preserves which passed their sell-by dates in 2009. I’ve triaged my clothes and thrown out all the size 18 & 20 stuff that I am determined never to need again. I’ve also cleared Minion 1’s room. Am so over stuff…

    Of course I buy food (I live with a teenage boy, I’d be arrested for human rights violations if I didn’t!) and skincare/shampoo type things, but I have reached a point where if I can avoid buying anything ever again, I’d like to do it. I haven’t bought a book since September…I’m actually reading the TBR pile!!! I know I need to buy some bras and socks, but I can’t quite face it. The only thing I really really want for Xmas is a pair of cashmere socks. After school routine is come home, take off makeup and get changed into cashmere leggings, sweater and socks. I’ve been doing this for about five or six years. The leggings swamp me as they were purchased when I was at my largest, but they are cosy and once I’ve had supper and caught up on some TV, I head up to the study. Sadly, my cashmere socks developed enormous holes and had to go…

  5. lynn says:

    Oh, I am definitely a poop; I don’t just dislike Christmas, I loathe it with every fiber of my being. This makes it easy for me to avoid spending money at this time of year — I go into a store, they start playing fucking Christmas music, and I abandon my cart and flee screaming.

    I do understand wanting presents though, Krissie, maybe especially when you don’t really have room in your budget. I think presents promise a kind of “treat” feeling for some of us, a lifting of our spirits and a release from some of the mundane stresses. It’s nice to get something special, shiny, and new.

    The problem I have, and maybe you do too, is that most of the pleasure lies in the anticipation. Otherwise, all the stuff that already in my house would give me equal joy. But it really doesn’t. I mean, there are some things I own that make me genuinely happy, but when it comes to clutter, it’s just more stress. So I’ve kind of learned my lesson with stuff I put in my house. Now I just need to figure it out with regard to stuff I put in my mouth!

  6. MJ says:

    The “substitute buying for doing” comment hit home here, too. Thought-provoking!

    If I had unlimited cash, I’d get a petite leather swivel recliner. Otherwise, I mostly want zippered hoodies I can layer on and off all winter long.

    Oooh, and maybe a reading lamp…

  7. Jill says:

    Matching stuff. My daughter usually has to bribe her elder daughter (now 16) to wear matching pjs with her sister (now 12). this year there was no conflict because the dog has matching pjs.

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