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Do you think the holidays have become too commercial? Is your family doing anything to avoid the gift-buying frenzy?”

7 replies so far...

  • Yes, I feel that Christmas is way overboard! This year we bought a house and that is my present I don't care if I open one thing! My kids have what they need. And only want a few things. I don't need any clothes, jewerly or dishes. My husband needs sketch pads. My mom asks for her favorite perfume. I have every decoration from years past. As long as we are together, healthy and happy, have a roof over our head food in our stomach that's all we need. To keep it real slow it down and ground me I go to a live nativity in a barn no place to sit, cold and as heck. I remember that my grandparents had an outhouse, worked the orchards.I remember the when Katrina hit that I had to ask for help from my dad because I didn't get a paycheck for 2 months and had to pay bills and figure out what we have to eat. I put money in every bell ringers bucket. I think about famlies that don't have any food on their table or present s under their tree. I' ll decorate trees and give a minature one to families that can't afford them if I can. I remember that the best present I ever got was a homemade doll house and all my barbie clothes made by my mom. As for gift giving to friends, I get baskets from flea markets or the dollar stores decorate them and fill them with a bottle of christmas wine and cookies and cake. Merry Christmas everybody! Kimmie

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kim Begnaud on 30th November 2007

  • Yes! I have promised myself I would not charge anything this season because the cycle never ends. I have a very small list this year, and I am working on some nice homemade gifts including spice rubs and chutneys. It is a very expensive month. Not only gifts, but the tree, wreath, cards, stamps etc. I love Christmas, but I already have debt. I am having a warm and well budgeted Christmas this year. Regardless of how much money anyone has it isn't really supposed to be about the gifts.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Christine on 29th November 2007

  • It's very overly commercial, but I do love giving gifts. We've narrowed it down to just family and mostly just the kids though. We even limit what we get our kids, since they get so much from everyone else in the family. I actually dread Christmas morning a little bit just for that reason, and the kids are only 4 and 2. I am trying to keep traditions from my childhood in play, hot cocoa on Christmas Eve after mass and spending time together watching the Christmas specials on tv and not emphasize the gifts and Santa too much.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Barbara Ryan on 29th November 2007

  • Yes! and Yes! We have cut back how much we buy and how much we spend. I try to bargain-hunt as much as possible, too, which means keeping your eyes open all year. For relatives who live far away, we tend to get something smallish and inexpensive, like a nice box of chocolates or something. As much as I LOVE Christmas and LOVE to get gifts for people, I really avoid starting gift-giving traditions with friends/co-workers. It just gets too expensive and complicated!

    What I DO recommend is the concept of the ornament swap. This is great for parties involving lots of women. :) The only rule is every ornament should be wrapped up. Collect them all in a corner, then everyone picks one to take home. Fun and easy.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Diane on 28th November 2007

  • Oh god. Don't get me started. I hate Christmas for a long list of reasons and over-commercialization is absolutely one of them.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by KathyHowe on 28th November 2007

  • We only buy gifts for very close family members. And this year we are trying for major bargains! I've found a few stores whose prices are really great and I'm doing the majority of my shopping there. And hubby and I are setting a limit on what we spend on each other.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by mamajama on 28th November 2007

  • The holidays are definitely too commercial! We are trying to implement some "counter-culture" ideas into our lives.

    The kids are all writing a Christmas Story. Of course, with the younger ones, this requires my assistance. We are publishing those in a book with photos from the year. Because these books are about $40 each, we are putting everyone into one family book. Grandparents are the primary target for these wonderful coffee table books. (Of course I had to order myself one).

    Shrink your kids artwork and make a college (think 9 pictures in rows of 3 across, 3 down on a 10x13 glossy photo paper). Get a solid black mat and frame from Target (or other discount store) and viola' you have a fabulous and inexpensive gift for Grandparents, Godparents, etc... This is also a great way to save all those first pieces of artwork that we just don't have room for!

    We also do family baskets for several of those on our gift list. A couple of favorites- pasta night, with fun shaped noodles, sauce, a bread mix, garlic seasoning, put it all in a large serving bowl and add a pasta spoon. Baking yum, make jars of baking mixes (, add a cookbook on making jar mixes, an oven mit and pile it all into a baking pan.

    Make ice candles or taper candles, tie them up with a ribbon.
    Give fruit baskets, include some tasty nuts in the shell and a few peices of chocolate.
    Bake cookies on a stick with the kids, decorate to your liking, wrap in plastic and tie with ribbon... you can then create your own cookie bouquets or give them out in singles.

    Our large extended family has done a few other things to help cut down on the financial burden of the holidays. One- drawing names not just among adults, but also among children, so if you have 2 kids you would draw two names. This way everyone gets ONE gift and no one is over-burdened.

    A twist on the "white elephant" gift giving for adults is to have everyone bring their favorite movie on DVD (it should be their FAVORITE, that's part of the fun!). Then have a trade (using numbers or alphabet) to pick which DVD you get. This is the most fun when all the DVD's are wrapped and include a short note about why it's your favorite. Every adult gets exposed to a movie they might not see otherwise, has a few laughs and learns a bit about other family members.

    For teachers, we are asking each family in all the classes (we have 3 in grade school) to bring in their favorite recipe and a picture (bonus for photos of the child making the recipe). I am then binding the recipes and photos into either a book or calendar for each teacher (depending on how many we get!).

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Yes, Mommy has to work today on 28th November 2007