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Does Christmas shopping = being too materialistic??

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 

So, I was just lamenting (on Facebook) that I haven't finished my Christmas shopping. I'd intended to knock it out in the first couple of weeks of November, but I've been sick pretty much straight through (started with a bad bout of stomach flu or Norovirus or something, and moved on to a nasty head/chest cold) since late October. We do a lot of stuff over the month of December - activity advent calendar full of crafts, baking, etc. - and I wanted December to be clear of shopping, except for food. So, I'm a bit frustrated.

 

One of my friends came back with "this is why I hate Christmas" and "too materialistic for me". I mean...really? I get that consumerism runs rampant this time of year, but I don't think that Christmas shopping, in and of itself, means someone is "too materialistic".

 

Thoughts?

post #2 of 48
I agree with you. You could be buying one small thing for each family member for all she knows. I think her reply to your comment is quite rude.
post #3 of 48
Thread Starter 

Thanks. This particular woman is an old friend (from...5th grade, I think) and she's kind of...odd. She's super nice in a lot of ways - let us use her vacation cabin as a stopping over spot on our vacation this year, even though we've only spoken to each other in person 2-3 times in the last 10 years, and not much more than that in the preceeding 10 - but she's also kind of...snooty.

The whole thing made me laugh, after I got over my stunned first reaction. She has no kids, and spends (based on what she says herself about her lifestyle) on herself at least what my husband and I do for a family of six. Now that I've had a chance to reflect a little, I just have to laugh. I mean...really some art supplies, books, play food, ice skates, etc. are "too materialistic"? My oldest is getting blacksmithing lessons, for crying out loud!

 

Sorry. I'm just kind of stunned. I've been called a lot of things in my life, but 'materialistic' usually isn't on the list...

post #4 of 48
I don't think Christmas is too materialistic. In our family it is a time we think of each others happiness and spend time being a family. We do buy gifts but I don't think buying something special that will bring joy to someone once a year as a materialistic act.
post #5 of 48
Thread Starter 

I also pointed out that when I say "Christmas shopping", I'm not just talking about gifts. I'm also talking about HH and/or hamper contributions, baking supplies, underwear for the drive at choir (donations for homeless men downtown), etc.

post #6 of 48
For some it is and other's it's not. My sister's family will spend more on one of their kids than we will on the whole family and it's a big year for us. I would just laugh it off. I am the same way about my timeline though. I want to be done by the first!
post #7 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 34me View Post

For some it is and other's it's not.
Yeah - this is my feeling. My friend basically just went "oh - you're shopping - soooo materialistic". It was kind of weird.
My sister's family will spend more on one of their kids than we will on the whole family and it's a big year for us.
That tends to be us, too. I remember some friends covering half their living room with gifts for only three kids, and another friend who had 18 presents for one kid. We don't have 18 gifts for all four kids combined! The differences from one family to another are amazing.
I would just laugh it off.
Oh, I am. I wasn't at first, but I am now. :)
I am the same way about my timeline though. I want to be done by the first!
smile.gif
I may still pull it off...I have my ideas pulled together now, at least.
post #8 of 48
Quote:

Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

One of my friends came back with "this is why I hate Christmas" and "too materialistic for me". I mean...really? I get that consumerism runs rampant this time of year, but I don't think that Christmas shopping, in and of itself, means someone is "too materialistic".

 

Thoughts?

 

I think she is entitled to hate Christmas, not celebrate, not buy stuff or exchange gifts. I think it is rude to dismiss someone else's holiday tradition as too materialistic just because they choose to buy and exchange some gifts.

 

I would ignore it.

post #9 of 48

Storm Bride - do you think she was making a general statement about christmas. not really aimed at you - but that she finds Christmas materialistic. 

 

i mean after all these years and her oddness are you sure you are not misreading what the unsaid words are?

post #10 of 48

.... i think it was just a reflexion ....on herself in fact = she thaught she was talking about you, but in fact ... she's assuming you are like her (maybe because it's difficult for her to imagine that you might be different ?)

 

am saying that because .... with some ILs, i've now realised, .... they don't talk to me really, they talk/react to what they fear i might be .... if i were like them-or if i were like what they think i am ( which i now realise .... is rather far from "my reality" ....)

 

so .... these kind of exchanges ... are not really what i call "dialogues" .... rather a juxtaposition of monologues .....

post #11 of 48

Blacksmithing lessons? Cool. 

 

Christmas shopping may indicate too much materialism. It probably often does for some folks. Not necessarily though.

 

I'd imagine that if she's known you for your entire life, she knows your values and doesn't really think that you are too materialistic. I'd give the benefit of the doubt here. I'd try to believe that her statement was more about her and her dislike of Christmas shopping and whatever obligations she's struggling with and not so much a judgement about you. It would be the Christmas-like thing to do! smile.gif

post #12 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

Blacksmithing lessons? Cool. 

 

Yeah. He's been wanting to learn how to do smithing for a long time. I found a couple of four hour classes. He's going to make a dinner triangle and...something else, but I can't remember what at the first class, and a fireplace poker at the second one. It's ended up being a huge gift, cost wise, because he needs steel toed boots to attend the classes, so we're buying those, too. Oh, well - guess it doesn't hurt to have a pair of safety footwear, anyway.

 

Christmas shopping may indicate too much materialism. It probably often does for some folks. Not necessarily though.

 

That was my take. It was the instant "too materialistic" response that boggled me.

 

I'd imagine that if she's known you for your entire life, she knows your values and doesn't really think that you are too materialistic. I'd give the benefit of the doubt here. I'd try to believe that her statement was more about her and her dislike of Christmas shopping and whatever obligations she's struggling with and not so much a judgement about you. It would be the Christmas-like thing to do! smile.gif

 

Oh, I tend to cut her a lot of slack. I'm not sure she really does know my values. When we were younger, she didn't have many and seemed to assume everyone else was the same way. I'm actually not always sure I even like this particular friend, but I have huge respect for her, and emotionally, she's a bit like a sibling I don't see much, anymore, if that makes sense. She's accomplished more in her life than I ever even thought of - or wanted to, to be honest. And, she's evolved into someone with a really well developed sense of ethics, which I honestly never saw coming. I think the real thing is that she climbed several steps on the socioeconomic ladder through sheer hard work, and she tends to look at anyone who hasn't done that as being lesser human beings, in some ways. I don't think she's ever realized that I didn't climb that ladder, because I didn't have any interest in doing so, not because I couldn't.

post #13 of 48

I don't know if it's a side-effect of super high self-esteem or what, but some people seem to have a tendency to process any ambiguous messages with whichever possible interpretation makes someone else look the stupidest. And even people without this tendency will do it occasionally, of course.

 

As a single childless person with a small amount of extended family, my Christmas shopping takes about one day plus sporadic internet purchases. So when you said you wanted to get yours done in November, I originally pictured something more lavish than what you ended up describing. Maybe she had a similar thought process but worse--thinking you were doing really overblown shopping.

post #14 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlyzombiecat View Post

 

I think she is entitled to hate Christmas, not celebrate, not buy stuff or exchange gifts. I think it is rude to dismiss someone else's holiday tradition as too materialistic just because they choose to buy and exchange some gifts.

 

I would ignore it.

 

This is my feeling, too. I absolutely love Christmas, but I don't expect everybody else to love it, just because I do, yk? I've noticed this with her before - she gets a bit...Grinchy, I guess, at this time of year.  I'm not really taking it personally - was just kind of surprised to see such a response. Mind you, I just re-read my initial FB post, and I said I wanted to cry. I just meant that now I'm going to have to do my shopping in crowded malls, which I hate, and make great efforts to avoid doing. I think she took it more as a "I still have sooooo many things to buy" kind of comment.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

Storm Bride - do you think she was making a general statement about christmas. not really aimed at you - but that she finds Christmas materialistic. 

 

i mean after all these years and her oddness are you sure you are not misreading what the unsaid words are?

 

It was a general statement about Christmas, but it was also aimed at me - basically, she was saying that Christmas has become too materialistic, and anybody who shops at all is buying into that. She didn't use those exact words, but said she "refuses to buy into all that" (all what?), and a nice dinner with loved ones is what she likes and that's it. And, that's fine. If people don't want to exchange gifts at Christmas, I have no problem with that at all. (I also don't really have a problem with people putting huge stacks under the tree - I often find it obnoxious, but not always - there are a lot of factors involved there, yk?) I just don't even see why someone would say anything. I talk about my Christmas shopping and celebrations, and she says "this is why I loathe Christmas" - why, exactly? Because people shop for gifts? That seems like a throwing the baby out with the bathwater approach, is all.

 

I was actually pretty upset when she first posted it (that's when I came here), but I'm over it. It's just that I actually put a lot of time into thinking up just the right gifts for each of my kids (and anyone else I may have shopped for in the past), so getting a "this is why I loathe Christmas" response felt like a bit of a slap in the face.

 

I feel for her, though. If she hates Christmas that much, all the stuff I love at this time of year (the carols, lights, decorations, etc.) must drive her nuts, and it's pretty hard to get away from it!

post #15 of 48

stormbride i apologize for my wording. it is rather rude and pontificating. sometimes i am the most tactless of persons. 

 

you are absolutely right. if she looks at the world too much in black and white then yes she must be missing out the other moving aspect of life. makes me wonder if this is a coping skill, her being mean. you said she doesnt have children and perhaps her family doesnt do any of this, so christmas might be very lonely for her - just like the media makes vanlentines day very lonely for singles. 

 

but yeah being friends for so long you would not expect the dig. 

 

i have found people who do a lot at christmas and birthdays - dont do much during the rest of the year. so i dont see the materialism esp. when you have other family. i could not imagine my father NOT drowning my dd in presents. unfortunately he never met her :(

post #16 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

stormbride i apologize for my wording. it is rather rude and pontificating. sometimes i am the most tactless of persons. 

 

I didn't think you were rude at all!

 

you are absolutely right. if she looks at the world too much in black and white then yes she must be missing out the other moving aspect of life. makes me wonder if this is a coping skill, her being mean. you said she doesnt have children and perhaps her family doesnt do any of this, so christmas might be very lonely for her - just like the media makes vanlentines day very lonely for singles. 

 

I think she really doesn't realize how often she puts people down - it's usually very subtle, but both my husband and sister have also commented on it. (She was actually one of my sister's best friends when we were younger - my relationship with her wasn't distant, but it was more...peripheral, I guess? She and my sister were at their closest after I started dating my ex, so I spent most of my time with a different group of friends.)

 

She grew up in poverty - and not "we're doing our best, but things aren't working out" poverty, but "we're spending our grocery money - what little there is of that - on drugs, not food" dysfunctional poverty. Her dad was a drug dealer. The first time my mom met her, her first tought was "oh, god - I want to give her a bath and wash her hair". I honestly don't know if she even got Christmas presents as a kid, and it wouldn't surprise me if there was no attempt at a good meal. I also know she wanted kids, but had a deep need to establish some financial security first (understandable - it's not the way my mind works, but I totally get why she felt that way)...and now she's given up on kids, as she's in her 40s, and has back issues which would make pregnancy pretty overwhelming. Anyway - that's all really not that relevant, except that I know she had a really rough time as a kid, and I'm sure she has a lot of coping mechanisms...and I'm sure the "I'm so much better than the rest of you" vibe is one of them.

 

It gets to me sometimes, but I try to look at what she's like underneath...and freely offering my whole family the use of her cabin (she doesn't even know my kids - has met them once - and had no idea if they were the type to trash the place) says a lot about her, yk?

 

but yeah being friends for so long you would not expect the dig. 

 

I just have to keep saying "hey - this is K" to myself.

 

i have found people who do a lot at christmas and birthdays - dont do much during the rest of the year. so i dont see the materialism esp. when you have other family. i could not imagine my father NOT drowning my dd in presents. unfortunately he never met her :(

 

That's my thing. There are just so many different ways people do the whole Christmas thing. I do think people can go overboard - soem of the stories about excess that pop up here actually make me feel vaguely ill. But, there are other factors, too. Some of those stories have very little kids actually crying from the over-stimulation and just opening one gift after another after another, while the grandparents, other parent, or whatever insist that they have to open every one. I can't even wrap my mind around doing that to a little kid. (DD1 was really sensitive about stuff like that when she was little, so she's just slip off to the den at my mom's when she'd had enough. Nobody hassled her about it, and she took whatever gifts were still wrapped back home afterwards.)

 

I actually even agree with my friend, to some degree, about how over-commercialized Christmas has become. It was just the kind of blanket "oh, you Christmas shop - how materialistic" thing that blew my mind. If I were making candles for everyone (I did that one year), I'd still have to Christmas shop...for wicks, wax, dyes, etc.

 

Oh, well - in retrospect, it wasn't that big a deal - just an odd comment. I let it bother me too much, initially.

post #17 of 48
I had an ex who hated Christmas for the same reason. I don't think it had anything to do with her dislike of materialism. I think she was scarred in some way around Christmas, perhaps her childhood holidays were really bad and traumatic. It sounds like your friend is in a similar situation. Sometimes comments are more about the person saying them and not about you at all. Plus, I don't think buying gifts in materialistic. Some people truly enjoy giving. Giving is good. During the holidays, I always enjoy buying gifts for people in need because the shopping in fun, and I imagine how happy the gift will make them. I don't expect anything in return. It just feels good to do.
post #18 of 48

Blacksmithing lessons? So cool! 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyllya View Post

I don't know if it's a side-effect of super high self-esteem or what, but some people seem to have a tendency to process any ambiguous messages with whichever possible interpretation makes someone else look the stupidest.

 

The opposite of high self-esteem, I think.  More like, people compensate for some insecurity by making put-downs that put themselves in the best light, even if it means putting someone else down in the process.

post #19 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

Blacksmithing lessons? So cool! 

 

I know. I'm so glad I found them. My first choice of date was full, but the following weekend still had space. There are apparently only four students in each class, but I guess it's not a hugely popular activity. He wants to learn to blow glass, too...that's much more expensive.

 

The opposite of high self-esteem, I think.  More like, people compensate for some insecurity by making put-downs that put themselves in the best light, even if it means putting someone else down in the process.


This is my experience, too. I don't think it's always true, but it does seem to be the rule.

post #20 of 48

For some reason this year more than ever I have heard and seen (on facebook or other sites) people complaining about Christmas. It starts too early, you can't wrap presents or shop before Dec 1, the music is driving them mad...

 

Ok I too hate to see Christmas decorations in Costco in Aug and Crafts in Michaels in July, but it's not THAT bad. And I do find most stores *try* and wait until after Halloween. 

I get the people who say that Christmas decor shouldn't get up until after Rememberance/Veterns day, but I don't believe that the two are in any way similar. People decorate for Halloween, they decorate for Christmas, decor has nothing do to do with remembering and honoring... But to each their own.

 

But my issue is that I shop early. I start in September and I aim to be done all the relative and kid shopping by Dec 1. It's not much but it still adds up. In December I like to focus on wrapping, holiday parties, last minute forgot about gifts and gifts for my husband and the stockings for our family. I hate to be stressed out, I enjoy shopping and picking out/making meaningful gifts for our family and trying to surprise my "doesn't care about stuff but loves really cool surprises" husband. 

So to me it's also annoying when people say "Shopping now, you are crazy/too organized/too early" or whatever... I realize it there's issue but usually it's not that bad. This year though? It seems to be HORRIBLE! 

 

Too me shopping early is a frugal and budgeting thing to do. I can buy gifts spread out over a handful of paycheques and not have that "dreaded Christmas credit card" bill everyone else complains about in Jan. 

Ok end of my rant tangent to your rant lol.gif it's their issue for whatever reason. I'm going to enjoy getting and giving gifts to our family (which is my favorite part of christmas) and my husband will enjoy his decorations (his favorite part) and hopefully it'll be as stress free as possible considering the Inlaws are coming and staying for Christmas... I think it's time to hop over to THAT thread 2whistle.gif

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