Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mamma Said, "Idle Hands are Devil's Handy Work;" Oh, the Trouble You'll Get Into

I know it sounds cliché, but I totally needed a long ass weekend to decompress.

Not that much "decompressing" happened, of course. It was more like "getting my head out of my ass."

I'm really good at the shoving my head up my ass. I don't know if it's the longer days or what but the anxiety rises (as does the prayer for a snow day - who doesn't like a good movie day?) and the depression sets in.

I began cooking Thanksgiving dinner on Tuesday. Three days in the kitchen and I finally began to feel better. Odd for some, I imagine, but cooking puts me in a good mood and clears my mind. Must work on that more (not that I don't already cook about 28 dinners a month).

Now with the holiday weekend over, we are suppose to focus on Christmas. I fucking hate that.

Driving down my street, most people have their trees up already. Geesh. Talk about some fucking peer pressure right there. And the presents, gah, the presents. Seriously? Can we talk?

I'm so damn tired of being a consumer. But in the same breathe let me say, I think we need more legos.

So we've sat down. We're working on a budget (good; very, very good) and making a list. Trying to find that special balance of spirit and not growing debt.

I'm really hoping to hand-make some gifts this year, but I just don't know what quite to make. Like, the grandmas -- perhaps some coasters? Same for our parents? Like I said, I'm tired of the consumerism. I don't want to buy people shit to clutter up their home. Gah.

In previous years, I've made food (but everyone feels guilt for the waistlines), purchased bath salts (great for those who actually take baths, not so great for those who do not), gotten gift certificates to plays (and they actually were not used).

With today's society of get-what-you-want-when-you-want-it and the dumbfounding frowning upon being thrifty or handmade, where's the balance of satisfying the gift receivers along with making the gift giver happy?

19 comments:

oilclothjunkie said...

yep. same conundrum over here. Also where is the balance between "arrrgghh, I need to get a 1/2 million gifts made before christmas and now I hate sewing" and "here's something I made 'cause I knew you'd like it"?

ps. I'm officially leaving the computer now. I swear. really.

Angelina said...

I'm totally going to work on a list of suggestions for hand made. One thing that leaps to mind for all of us with "stashes" of fabric is to make sets of dinner napkins. I know it doesn't sound useful but you can make them cute which will inspire people to use them and make them happy every time they see them. Like make appliques in the corner of each one. We're talking simple to make, fast, and pleasing. Also, don't you have the perfect fabric for that already?

Oh my god....my head is reeling!

It's going to be fine. Don't let the stupid pressure get to you. We never decorate until a few days before Christmas, but I wouldn't follow our example. We're also the jerks that leave our lights up until February.

I also find cooking soothing.

patrice said...

A few years ago we contacted our siblings and agreed just to do gifts for the children and it's been great. I usually give hand-made. This year I'm calling and talking to my sisters-in-laws and letting them know that we are going very gentle this season and, although we love them and the children very much, we want to keep the holidays stress-free and not focus on material gifts. All the kids in this family get way too much already and we can acknowledge them on their birthdays with a gift instead. Wish me luck...I have two to go. That will be nine nieces and nephews I don't have to guess and spend on! Whew!!

Also, thanks for noticing my header. You are the first one to mention it!

Emy said...

I feel the same too. So I'm flying thousands of miles and will actually be with our families this year and we keep getting asked what we are buying for Joe Schmo who we would have never even thought of!!! I'm 8 months pregnant dang it, I'm saving my shopping energy for my son and other nieces and nephews. Screw the adults this year. Why can't it be enough to just do something nice together? Like eat dinner.
Hope you find an easy solution too.

LauraJ said...

i fret and frown the whole month of november AND december worrying if the recipient will even like the gift. i hate that! I also hate the consumerism of the holidays too! there is so much i hate that i'd be here all day! so just do what you can, make what you can...make what you like and if they don't like it, take it back!
:D

Ali said...

Hard isn't it? I'm with you on the whole 'stuff' angle. Even handmade stuff is just stuff if you're not one to appreciate such things.

I am personally quite fond of the Magazine subscription. Yes it's stuff, but you don't feel bad about re-cycling it each month and it does make the recipient acknowledge that you bought them a gift twelve times in the course of the year. Just in case they forgot to show sufficient gratitude.

Mia said...

yeah, there's ALWAYS room for more legos *grin* Because really.. ever since you posted about the lego advent calendars, I've felt the need for one. Just can't decide WHICH one.

Happy Cyber Monday. I'm at work and now I need to go shop.

Marsha said...

I am in the same boat. I just don't know what to get for anyone. It doesn't seem that anyone really likes the stuff we give and we spend so much on it, very frustrating. I was thinking of sending everyone a nice big picture of me.

Lala said...

I had lunch with a friend of mine on Saturday... she pulled out a LIST and said "Look at this"... it was her MIL's "gift list" of Christmas presents! Her MIL gave her a "Santa's List"!!!

I've jumped on the giftcard bandwagon... I figure why should I waste my TIME looking for a MEANINGFUL gift and our MONEY when it's not even "appreciated"? $25 for the kids and $15 for the ADULTS... PERIOD. It has taken a lot of the stress out of the holidays.

I recently read a nice article in Women's Day about the "White Envelope Tradition"... www.whiteenvelopeproject.org... although I don't think it would go over well in my our families it's a good idea...

Lala :o)

Mirre said...

All the stuff buying these weeks is really getting to me as well :(
I would love to give handmade gifts to everyone, but I must be realistic in my time and energy management!

Rachel said...

I have the problem of having to make handmade because we can't afford any other way. Now, I love making stuff, but I know for a fact that probably 60% of the stuff we make never gets used. That just pisses me off, and makes me want to say "screw gifts!" I mean, weren't gifts supposed to be fun? I wish all adults could just agree to not do gifts. I would much rather just go have a nice dinner or something with them.

kristi said...

My extended family used to do a gift exchange for the adults, but now we don't even do that. There are just too many of us! I share your despair at the commercialization and the wastefulness, yet I know I won't be making gifts this year.

We already have two Xmas trees up: Doug the talking tree, who used to live at the in-laws' house, and our regular, boring big tree. What I really want is a Squidmas tree:
http://www.ibiblio.org/davidf/xmastree2007/slides/DSC02099.html

Not to mention the Festivus pole.

kristi said...

Curses, my link got cut off. Try this: http://tinyurl.com/2he5he

tracey said...

I just had to let you know that your blog makes me smile. I agree with a lot of what you write and what you're feeling. I think only the fucktards of the world have their tree up already. Mostly because I don't! Thanks for the smiles!! Tracey

san francisco lauren said...

I am just like you. I hate buying things, I like to make stuff.

I am making toys for most of the little kids, tiny tote bags for the not so little kids, quilts for my bf's sisters(2 of them) and I am still working out the details for the boys. They are hard.

I love to cook too. Something about it makes my mind clear...

Amy said...

I have been having the same gift/holiday stress this week, too. As much as I like making things, to do that this year would just put me over the edge. So I'm not doing it. No handmade gifts, no handmade cards, and only one kind of cookie this year. I am, however, buying a lot of gifts on Etsy. At least SOMEONE handmade the gifts, and I love the things I'm finding.

dee said...

i've been totally buying from etsy this year, and craft fairs in the area. makes me feel loads better than buying china... and I don't have to sew as much :)

Chickenbells said...

Well...apparently, I'm officially a fucktard.

I always put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving (or whenever I get done eating the dinner) cause, it's a whole lot of crap to just haul out for a few days...plus? I got one of those put it together in 3 easy steps and plug it in? It's a 10 minute job...and with electricity being as expensive as it is, I use it as the only light in the living room until after New Years (and the way gas is going...I may use it as my only heat source too, picture me and the cat snuggled up under it if you will...)

I told my mother the only thing I wanted for Christmas this year was a pair of socks she knitted...seriously...I spent the weekend cleaning out half of the living room...and I. DON'T. NEED. ANYTHING. ELSE.

Except some Legos...cause Legos would be good.

Chara Michele said...

Oh I know how you feel... Actually both my hubby's family & mine decided this year to completely skip the gifts and give to charity. We figured that all of us didn't really need more clutter & crap around, and that we could give to others instead. (Of course, this does mean that I miss out on the fun of gift wrapping & such, which I sort of look forward to every year. I don't miss buying presents or figuring out what to make though!)