Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What Do You Think?

Is stress already taking its toll? Are you dreading the Christmas shopping rush coming up? And in a whisper: (Do you wish Christmas was over?)

Ah, it can be awful. I know.

You see, I use to be caught up in the "buy the best, buy it all, do it all, or you're not doing what you should." As if life will come to an end because I didn't get to another Christmas program or dinner. A scheme. Right. You read that right. A scheme.

Everything--the media, the stores, the kids, life in general--everything, come Christmas--rotates around buying and doing all that can be rung out of you. It doesn't matter what you think, or what you want. For that matter, it doesn't matter what you know better.

But a couple of years ago, I came to a screeching halt. I decided that enough was enough. I was through with the over hyped Christmas commercial living. Christmas would go back to being simple in our house. A limit on the spending. A limit on the activities. Simple is better. Simple is easier.

I decorate simply, with what I have. I don't rush out every year and buy the current trend in Christmas decorations. I like my last year's snowmen. I like my traditional angel I've had forever. So, I use them. Saves me time and money.

We set a limit on how much to spend for who. I cut back on who I bought for. Some, I've amended the gifts I give. They'll probably like the filled basket of goodies I designed as much, or better, than a premanufactured gift they'll never use. And I shop wiser. Books from outlet stores, combined gifts for a couple, gift certificates--all our great gifts and cut down on the wasted time I use to consume on shopping.

Now, I enjoy more time at home, puttering on my interests, listening to tapes, enjoying a good book and the fireplace. We pick and choose the Christmas events we absolutely want to attend. And enjoy them more.

So, yes, my Christmas stress is much less.

Can you tell me then: should I buy that expensive hunting gun my son's wanting?

Need some gift ideas, but can't spend a lot? Here's a few ideas that will help you remember your friends and family without breaking the bank:

* Shop garage sales and thrift stores for baskets and other attractive containers
* Buy items in sets and divide them among the baskets. Example: A specialty or scented soap packaged in fours--divide and give one to a basket. Kids whistles or marbles (Divide and bag in small cloth bags). Take individual popcorn bags, coffee, tea, or cocoa packets out of their boxes and divide to fill the baskets better. Use your imagination.
* Dollar stores have some great gift ideas. Browse!
* Use cellophane bags to package mixes. They're inexpensive when purchased and make great containers for those special food or drink mixes you want to share. A nice touch: include the recipe for that special tea drink.
* Last, don't limit yourself. Use a pretty mug and fill with tea bags, tied with a pretty ribbon. a soup bowl and saucer filled with several soup flavors and a package of crackers. Try an inexpensive but attractive glass bowl filled with potpourri.

Some gift basket ideas tomorrow.

Gray skies quote:
Into all our lives, in many simple familiar, homely ways, God infuses this element of joy from the surprises of life, which unexpectedly brighten our days, and fill our eyes with light. --Longfellow


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