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Wrapper's Delight

November 29th, 2006 at 04:38 am

There is a little something about the excess of the season that is sometimes overwhelming. Iím getting flyers in my mailbox offering good deals on things that I just canít see anyone ever needing or even wanting. Some are items Iíd be hard pressed to pick up at a garage sale. Iím a minimalist, but even so, some of these items Iíd have a hard time buying as a gift for people for $1. I donít want to single out any particular item, because one, there are so very many, and two, it may be something you bought today.

Oddly enough, the part of Christmas I like best is the gift giving. I was raised secularly. I am not from a large or close family, so the holidays are not a reunion time for me. I am not into entertaining, or cooking, or decorating. I find a lot of Christmas decorations tacky. I just love the excuse to buy people gifts!

Iím perfectly aware that my preference is just that. I know people who are absolutely giddy with the joy of decorating, but think the gift giving is commercial and best avoided. I know others who find the cooking the most fun, producing cookie after cheese ball after cookie. Others I know focus sincerely on the spiritual aspects of the holiday, and gifts may be tolerated and understated, and certainly secondary.

As long as someone is enjoying the holiday, I support it. It bums me out when someone is getting overtired or expects herself to produce The Perfect Christmas or tries to cook a seven course meal for ten people without the ability or desire. If there is a part of Christmas getting someone down, I think they should let it go! Get Chinese takeout! Make the kids do all the decorations! I think things that should be optional and not forced include gift giving, and that a person should be free to not do it, or scale it down to a place that feels right. Iím glad that I get to buy gifts for fun, and Iím glad donít have a bunch of forced expectations and a list of people I have to buy a gift for. Iím perfectly happy giving gifts to people I want to give to, and that includes folks I know are not gift givers.

A benefit of being thrifty, and being so very open about it, is that I donít believe I am generating the forced reciprocity deal that sometimes happens when a gift is given and the gifted didnít see it coming. If a co-worker finds a little something on their desk, since they know it probably cost me less than a couple bucks or maybe even just some time, Iím not worried about them having to run home and come up with something to give me in return. I know a lot of people who arenít into the co-worker gift thing. But they seem able to see my jar of jam or good condition used book or little trinket as a nice gesture, without strings attached. Itís an odd but very pleasant side effect of frugal giving.

This year Iíve been even more frugal, and that has opened my eyes to being on the lookout all year long...I was Christmas shopping at garage sales in May, at thrift stores, in Europe in September. That was another benefit of My Challenge-by thinking of people all year long, I was able to get some very nice gifts, some exceptionally well suited gifts, for very low prices.

People also know I get a kick out of getting frugal gifts. Last year, a buddy was having a financial rough patch (bought second home and first home didnít sell for a while). She mentioned all the purging she had done moving from a big house to a little house. Well it turned out she mentioned having too many pizza roller/cutters, and I told her that I would love to get a pizza cutter and that I had been having a hard time spotting one at a thrift store. I got a roller, used but awesome, wrapped for a Christmas present and I loved it. I got the perfect gift and she saved money and all was well with the world.

4 Responses to “Wrapper's Delight”

  1. Thrifty Ray Says:

    I am one of those who loves to decorate for the holidays...and who also enjoys giving. This year, Ive made time to make my own decorations with things I have and embellishing with items from the dollar store...and they are just perfect...cute and cheap!

    My gifts this year are primarily gift cards for things like meals and experiences...I am trying to think of gifts that dont add clutter wherever possible!

  2. kealina Says:

    lol... i like giving gifts as well... doesn't have to be anything big either... just something that lets people know you've paid attention....

  3. Grateful Says:

    I enjoy your blog so much! The money-saving tips & ideas you share are excellent, but the intention behind your actions is honorable. Thank you.

  4. contrary1 Says:

    I so agree.............with everything you posted. I tossed all my 'shoulds' re; holidays a few decades ago....love the pick what you love & toss the rest theory.

    I too concentrate on gifts all year, not just at Christmas. I can't say I "shop" early, as there really isn't much shopping done around here. But, I'm always listening to my family & friends, getting gift ideas, then keeping my eyes open to see if I can help fulfill the wish. Absolutely the best part of the holiday (or their birthdays, valentines day, whatever!)

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