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<p>I adore this article on why not to buy into the consumerist culture of Christmas and wanted to share.</p>
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<p><a href="http://zenhabits.net/bah/" target="_blank">http://zenhabits.net/bah/</a></p>
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<p>Thoughts?</p>
 

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<p>I like the article, but it does operate from a few flawed suppositions.</p>
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<p>1) Not everybody who buys gifts is doing so in a "frenzy" of consumerism, or without thought.</p>
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<p>2) Not every gift that's purchased, not made, is going to end up "forgotten" or sitting in a closet.</p>
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<p>3) Making, not buying, sounds (and is!) great. However, it's also not a solution to several of the issue addressed. If I make a photo album or scrapbook, I'm still driving to stores, and I'm still buying stuff...I'm just finishing up the processing myself. If I bake cookies (and I do), I'm still buying flour, sugar, butter, eggs, chocolate, etc. in greater quantities than usual, and still spending a fair chunk of change, and still driving to and from stores. Making still involves buying.</p>
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<p>4) People can buy gifts - even lots of gifts - and still have the focus be elsewhere. I'm buying gifts...and singing carols, attending family-oriented Christmas actvities, making crafts, baking, etc. (DS1 and dd1 both love getting gifts, but they also both say the best part of Christmas is celebrating with family, the lights, the songs, etc. DS2 is a little more focused on what he's going to get - mostly to eat - though.)</p>
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<p>I think that's it. I totally, 110% agree with the author on the ads, though. We don't watch them. I love shopping for Christmas (which is odd, because I generally hate shopping), and I'll even concede that I go overboard (especially on stockings - I have no self control about stockings, although I'm getting a little better)....but it's far from a frenzy.</p>
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<p>I do think it's food for thought for the culture as a whole, though.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Storm Bride</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285303/the-case-against-buying-christmas-presents#post_16114028"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><p> </p>
<p>3) Making, not buying, sounds (and is!) great. However, it's also not a solution to several of the issue addressed. If I make a photo album or scrapbook, I'm still driving to stores, and I'm still buying stuff...I'm just finishing up the processing myself. If I bake cookies (and I do), I'm still buying flour, sugar, butter, eggs, chocolate, etc. in greater quantities than usual, and still spending a fair chunk of change, and still driving to and from stores. Making still involves buying.</p>
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And then there are those people who are like me, with family living halfway across the country.  This year I finally made a fair amount of the presents for our families, even though I'd need to ship them.  I haven't mailed them all yet but the ones that I did mail has cost me just shy of $50 thus far.  Once I'm finished shipping everything it'll likely be close to $100.  For regular shipping, not next day or anything like that.  And it still involves driving to the shipping store.  Sure, I could forgo giving presents to our entire extended family (parents, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews) but since we hardly see them as it is I don't think it would be a good idea since opening the presents from them helps make the pain of not being together for the holidays a bit better since I know they took the time to select the item and put forth the effort to send it to us.  I don't have any regrets making the presents, especially since the kids and I have had fun and enjoyed the process but I sure do regret not being able to take advantage of ordering online and scoring free shipping.</p>
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<p>Personally, I don't go out like a ravenous vampire to do my shopping.  I spend time thinking of what I feel would be appropriate presents for each person on my list and then pick them up when I see them throughout the year.  We also spread the present opening out over two days and since my sons are still playing with and enjoying toys they received last Christmas or the Christmas before and my oldest still sleeps every day with the quilt his grandma made him for Christmas 4 years ago I also don't agree with the idea that everything is quickly forgotten. </p>
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<p>I need to buy extra ingredients to bake the goodies that I've given thus far this year.  I don't live close enough to anyone I want to give a present to to wash their car (and if I did, no way in hell would I be washing a car in WI in the middle of winter! LOL) nor can I babysit for anyone.  In order to create a photo album I need to buy the photos (which is an added expense since we have all digital pics on digital picture frames here so no paper photos floating around) along with the album.  Along with paying money to have it shipped.  Though I did make two albums for my brother this year.  And sent a memory card full of pics to my mom to update the photo frame we gave her a few Chistmas's ago. </p>
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<p>Yes, some of my presents were brought home in bags.  But a fair few were not and some that did come home in bags came home in reusable ones. </p>
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<p>I also don't like, nor agree with, the blanket assertion that people get so much they can't appreciate anything.  Blanket assertions are never a good idea because all they serve to do is irritate those who it doesn't apply to.</p>
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<p>Ya know?  Not one thing on my gift list this year came from the mall.</p>
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<p>If you're not subjected to ads then why complain about the ads?  Because it's the sexy dead horse to beat this time of year?</p>
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<p>I have never shipped presents overnight and if you look you can find some places that purchase carbon credits to help offset the carbon footprint that is caused by your shipment.  If we're not supposed to burn fuel then I guess we're also not supposed to visit family and friends during the holiday season as well.  When I was a kid we'd visit a lot of houses that we hardly went to during the rest of the year, thus creating more fuel consumption. </p>
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<p>I do donate to other organizations that help feed the hungry, gives toys to needy kids, etc.  And, GASP, I still can buy presents for others!</p>
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<p>How do I handle the added clutter?  I donate unused toys from the playroom along with too small or hardly worn any longer clothes.  Along with the new toys that we purchased and donated.</p>
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<p>Yes, my kids are being taught to shop.  They're being taught to shop for gifts for those who don't have anything and they're being taught to shop for gifts for those we love who live far away as well as with us.  I fail to see how going to the store is any worse during the month of Dec. than the other 11 months of the year.  Yes, we're buying more than those other months but since I feel learning to be generous and giving is equally as important as learning to meet your basic needs I'm not really all that fussed about it personally.</p>
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<p>Some of his alternate suggestions are fun ideas and many are things that we do in addition to purchasing presents.  But going to the beach or the lake, or in our case the mountains, costs money in the extra gas that you need to get there and back.  And since one of her arguments against buying presents was the extra gas needed to go to the stores or to ship something it leads to a certain level of hypocrisy that leads me to disregard some of what she's saying. </p>
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<p>What do I think about the article?  I think that it's great that this works for his family.  But I also think that there are many, many areas of gray in between her no present outlook on Christmas and those who are focused solely on gimme, gimme, gimme and articles like this have more of a chance of alienating those people who are somewhere in the gray areas instead of fostering true discussion about others values and traditions.</p>
 
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<p>Well said, jeanine.</p>
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<p>I was thinking about this while I made shortbread a few minutes ago, and it occurred to me that this article just misses the mark for me. I'm not so much about "The Case against Buying Christmas Presents" as about "The Case <em>for</em> Thoughtful Giving". I totally agree that just buying huge piles of stuff on Christmas makes no sense, and doesn't promote values I'm crazy about. But, there's a huge, huge gray area between that and just not giving any bought gifts at all.</p>
 
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<p>This article also misses the mark for me. I do see where the author is going--My in laws are very into buying my kids loads of plastic crap that does end up stuffed in a closet and forgotten about. I couldn't even tell you what DD got for Christmas last year, although that could be because I had a month old infant at the time. ;) DD and DS get very very spoiled at Christmas, and almost all their gifts are store bought. I'd love it if it wasn't like that. I'd love to see a little more effort put into it beyond walking down the toy aisle at the store and picking out the hot new baby item or girliest horse thing. It doesn't help that DH gets worried about offending his family if we get rid of something they got our kids (though truth be told, they probably would if they ever found out). I'm looking forward to the time I can get rid of a bunch of this stuff because we no longer have kids young enough for it.  </p>
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<p>That said: Just because it comes from a store doesn't mean that it isn't thought about. Sometimes buying someone something you know they'll love is the best way to go! DH is buying DD an EasyBake Oven because she loves to help us bake. This will be her very own bakery. She's not old enough to work the real oven, but she'll have her own that she can use by herself (well, under adult supervision of course!). Yeah, he bought it, but it will be a home run.</p>
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<p>I think the article overlooks one group of people DH and I fit into. This is the only time of the year we have cash to go out and buy toys for our kids. We save all year long to blow what's really a very small amount on our kiddos. This is important to us. Normally we don't buy them anything beyond necessities because we can't. Its a special time for us to be able to give our kids fun things and its a lot of fun to be able to go out with a little cash to spend, esp when we picture our kids' faces lighting up Christmas morning. I can see where someone would think we are just doing presents for ourselves then, and in a way I guess we are. But when it comes down to it, its about making our kids happy, which in turn makes us happy. So I guess I feel put off by the arguement to not do presents on Christmas because I don't get to do presents any other time of the year.</p>
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<p>The whole article is also very black and white exteme. If you buy gifts, you can't possible be donating or working at shelters. If you shop, your kids are learning to shop and nothing more. There are way too many shades of gray in this world to be so one sided.</p>
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<p>I'm also turned off at how the author advocates not wasting extra gas and resources on buying gifts, but then wants you, the reader, to head out on a mini vaca to the beach. Uhhh...no. I do realize that its going to matter where you live how much a day at the beach costs, but even for us to go and stay at a B&B an hour from here would utilize all the money and then some we have saved for Christmas presents. That's just not practical to me and rings of hypocrisy.</p>
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<p>I agree with Storm Bride that a call to thoughtful gift giving is what's needed. Not so much this black and white no gift version.</p>
 

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<p>It's way off for me. I'm rather offended by the generalizations made, here is a point by point rebuttal:</p>
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<p>- my focus is on giving, I don't exactly enjoy the buying part of it, I don't rush out in a mad frenzy to spend, spend, spend. I make a list in October and begin looking for deals online, 90% of my shopping is done calmly on the computer</p>
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<p>- yes, we need to buy to give in most cases. unless you collect driftwood and rocks to turn into gifts you have to spend something to give gifts. I agree that it doesn't have to be much to be a great gift.</p>
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<p>- some gifts are packaged wastefully but many are not, if you avoid toy store plastic you avoid a lot of the waste</p>
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<p>- not everyone goes into debt for gifts and I take offense that she states that everyone is doing so. my husband and I spent just shy of three thousand dollars on gifts this year but we are able to do so and pay cash or use a debit card for everything. all gifts are not 'needless' as she claims, people need some belongings and if they get them wrapped under the tree what's wrong with that</p>
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<p>- advertising is a fact of life in 2010, you're not going to stop it by not giving gifts. just ignore the ads.</p>
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<p>- it takes fuel to produce everything, it takes fuel to power the computer he is writing that article on and I bet it was made overseas. I choose to buy as many made in the usa items as I can,  I don't use overnight shipping, and I try my best to place a few big orders rather than lots of small ones. he moved here from guam - I wonder how much fossil fuel it took for the plane ride and to get his stuff here?</p>
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<p>- yes, there are hungry people in the world. I donate food and do my part to help them. I wonder if he donates every penny of his profits from his books to the hungry of the world?</p>
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<p>- some people live cluttered lives but my family is not one of them. visitors to our home often comment on how little we have. I don't feel the dozen or so gifts that come into our home each Christmas are adding a closet filling clutter as he says it is. it bothers me that he states 'we' have too much clutter - he doesn't know me, my family, or how much we have in our closets.</p>
 

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<p>Christmas presents aren't all bad, and you can work in teaching about morals and generosity when buying presents.  My older dd loves to help find just the right thing for someone when Christmas shopping, and has learned to be caring and generous and really think about what someone else would like.  Part of Christmas shopping is generosity and thoughtfulness and showing appreciation to people.  Certainly parents can (and I know some do) make it all about a toy grab for the kids, but that's a decision they're making (though perhaps not consciously) and not a necessary part of it.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #8
<p>Thanks for the responses everyone!  I agree with a lot of the points you all have made, and especially like the suggestion that the article could have been more "The Case <em>for</em> Thoughtful Giving" instead of totally against buying presents at all.  I think since we're dealing with "overpurchasing plastic-toy that immediately breaks and goes right in the trash with all it's packaging" grandparent issues, this article really hit home for me.</p>
 

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<p>Ya know-I kind of liked it. It fits in with who he is as a person-I clicked around his blog and he is living his life by these principles. I am not surprised that he is so passionate about this topic. When I am ranting about something I tend to get a little black and white as well.</p>
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<p>Thanks for introducing me to his blog-I have bookmarked it and plan to read it often.</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>oaktreemama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285303/the-case-against-buying-christmas-presents#post_16115593"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a>
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<p>Thanks for introducing me to his blog-I have bookmarked it and plan to read it often.</p>
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Oaktreemama - you might like his family blog then too - <a href="http://www.zenfamilyhabits.net/" target="_blank">http://www.zenfamilyhabits.net/</a></p>
 

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DH and I are also tired of the crass commercialism surrounding Christmas; to me it detracts from the real reason for the celebration (Christ's birth), and to DH it seems to cheapen the "magic" of the season when everywhere you look are ads screaming at you to BUY BUY BUY! We don't want to raise our children with those values. So this year we're getting people one small-ish thing we know they want, and I'm making them something by hand. I knit and crochet and am fairly crafty, and being postpartum I've had some time to sit around and make stuff while the baby is napping and the toddler is amusing himself or out with his papa. But...I still had to buy a lot of yarn. We still have to package and ship the gifts. Unless you live on a completely self-sustaining homestead and make every single thing you use (impossible, if you live a modern lifestyle with computers and such), there's no escaping the fact that you (collective you) are to some extent dependent on commerce. This isn't some recent change; people have been trading with one another since time began.<br><br>
I understand the author's points but I think the article is pretty heavy-handed and sanctimonious. Seriously, there will <i>always</i> be hungry people in the world. Should we never celebrate anything ever again? I donate a large amount of food to our local food bank every single week. Does the author do anything all year 'round to address hunger, or is it just a convenient talking point? Waste from shopping bags...why waste them? I reuse shopping bags until they're falling apart. Shopping does not have to equal waste if you're smart about it.<br><br>
I'm all about reducing the amount of sheer junk we generate and receive at Christmastime, and in fact we've taken steps to do that. But it's not an all-or-nothing proposition. There's a happy medium in there somewhere...
 

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<p>I didn't read the article, but I am already sold (har har) on the idea of not buying anything for Christmas.</p>
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<p>I only buy for extended family because I "have" to. DH gets DD a gift from "Santa" every year as well. I strongly resent the cultural pressure to purchase crap for others, and it's kind of ruined my ability to enjoy gifting at all (in a different world, I would enjoy buying DD "a" gift for Christmas, but I don't bother since she gets tons and tons of crap, and my gift would just be lost in the avalanche and only add to the clutter).</p>
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<p>Yup, I'm a grinch of an unusual level not often found even here on MDC.</p>
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<p>Part of it is a childhood thing. My mother showered me with gifts all my life. It's not her fault, it's more like a clash. I never felt "loved" because I had "stuff" - I always wondered why she had the need to buy me off. (I feel my mother's love very well without the gifts). So I got pretty immune to getting stuff and I learned that stuff doesn't make you happy. Now that I'm married and we have our own home, we feel like it's fighting a battle to keep our home the way we like it. Enormous effort and guilt and decisions go into trying to maintain our home, and we still lose (we have so much crap it's disheartening). So I literally resent gifts. And yes, I resent the dictation that we give our hard earned money to large corporations which sell us stuff we don't need. Yes, I know, you can give thoughtful gifts, but in my experience people rarely manage to get you what you need no matter how hard they try. (And I'm hugely sympathetic - I've given plenty of gifts where I tried so hard to please someone to realize that I managed to gift more clutter myself). And everyone has so many different expectations of gifts. Some people really just want useful stuff. Others are offended by practical gifts. It's all such a losing game in my experience.</p>
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<p>Thankfully the inlaws have instituted a wish list system recently (Christmas 2009 was the first year of that) so we actually do get gifts we want now. And it's interesting to see how specific people are. FIL wanted a light he could strap to his head. There is no way in heck any of us could have possibly guessed that, you know? But it's what he wanted more than any book, CD, DVD, necktie, game, gloves, tin of nuts or whatever any of us could have possibly given that would have just been more useless junk for him. Still, it all seems like a farce to my grinchy little heart.</p>
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<p>I feel like instead of sending each other shopping (even for wanted items) we should be getting the things from each other that we can't get in a store. Good times. Family. A lovely dinner. Games. Conversation by the fire. A walk in the snow. Memories. Hot chocolate. Book readings. And frankly, since I'm already giving my unpopular opinion, this is a Christian holiday. Christian rituals should be performed and reflected upon. Everybody else who wants a winter holiday is welcome to it, but don't call it Christmas!</p>
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<p>OK, there. Boot me off MDC.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>KLM99</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285303/the-case-against-buying-christmas-presents#post_16115408"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I think since we're dealing with "overpurchasing plastic-toy that immediately breaks and goes right in the trash with all it's packaging" grandparent issues, this article really hit home for me.</p>
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I can understand that. The more I read posts on MDC, the more I appreciate my friends and family. None of them go overboard, and they all think about what they're getting, yk? My kids will get about 8 presents each, total...and that includes two sets of clothes (my mom and my in-laws both do two gifts per kid - a "toy" and clothes). I feel as though we're hovering around the "too many" mark with that, so when I read the stories here about people not being able to fit all the gifts in their vehicle, I just want to cry. I would end up sobbing in a corner if I were in that position. (I have some tendency to hoard, and am very easily overwhelmed by decluttering, sorting, etc. Receiving so much stuff would just do me in.)</p>
 

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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>laohaire</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285303/the-case-against-buying-christmas-presents#post_16115872"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>I feel like instead of sending each other shopping (even for wanted items) we should be getting the things from each other that we can't get in a store. Good times. Family. A lovely dinner. Games. Conversation by the fire. A walk in the snow. Memories. Hot chocolate. Book readings. And frankly, since I'm already giving my unpopular opinion, this is a Christian holiday. Christian rituals should be performed and reflected upon. Everybody else who wants a winter holiday is welcome to it, but don't call it Christmas!</p>
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<p>OK, there. Boot me off MDC.</p>
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<br><br><p>That would be lovely but since we live over 2,000 miles from family it's not realistic by any means.  At least not without purchasing plane tickets, winter clothes, car rental, etc. </p>
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<p>And the Christians usurped this holiday from the pagans all those many years ago just like they usurped many of the other holidays.</p>
 

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<p>We've used a wish list in my family of origin for years. It's not a rule book, and people do buy offlist, but it gives people ideas. We also get very specific about some things (eg. I read a lot of SF and fantasy, and my family loved to buy me new books...but once I moved out of the house, they were never sure which ones I already had, so I'd put down a few books/series that I was interested in reading), and very general about others. I don't always use the lists, but I do like them.</p>
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<p>I guess I just don't get the "instead" part. That was one of the things that bugged me about the original article. It's not a matter of shopping for gifts <strong><em>or</em></strong> spending time together/singing/walking in the snow/whatever. Lots of people shop and do other things.</p>
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<p>I get where you're comgin from on the Christmas holiday aspect, but I don't really agree. Christmas has evolved to where it's also a secular holiday. And, I don't want to call Christmas a "winter festival". My mom's family of origin were deeply religious, and she grew up celebrating a Christian Christmas. When she left the church, she continued with those aspects of the holiday that she still treasured from her childhood. For my family - and many others - Christmas is a traditional/cultural holiday, not a religious one, even though it has religious roots.</p>
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<p>And, why on earth would we boot you off MDC - or even want to?? I'm not a Grinch, but I have no issue with people who are Grinches. I love, love, love, love, love Christmas - the time with family, choosing gifts, singing, the lights, the food, filling stockings, seeing my kids light up the same way I did on Christmas morning, etc. etc. etc. I love everything about the season (except the crazy drivers). But, I don't suffer from the bizarre delusion that everybody has to love everything that I love. There's no freaking requirement for people to enjoy Christmas or to even celebrate Christmas, if they don't want to. People who get like that about Christmas are kind of missing the point, imo. (And, fwiw, I love your posts, and I'm glad you're here - Grinch or no.)</p>
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<p><span>Quote:</span></p>
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<p>Originally Posted by <strong>laohaire</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285303/the-case-against-buying-christmas-presents#post_16115872"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></p>
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<p>Thankfully the inlaws have instituted a wish list system recently (Christmas 2009 was the first year of that) so we actually do get gifts we want now. And it's interesting to see how specific people are. FIL wanted a light he could strap to his head. There is no way in heck any of us could have possibly guessed that, you know? But it's what he wanted more than any book, CD, DVD, necktie, game, gloves, tin of nuts or whatever any of us could have possibly given that would have just been more useless junk for him. Still, it all seems like a farce to my grinchy little heart.</p>
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<p>I feel like instead of sending each other shopping (even for wanted items) we should be getting the things from each other that we can't get in a store. Good times. Family. A lovely dinner. Games. Conversation by the fire. A walk in the snow. Memories. Hot chocolate. Book readings. And frankly, since I'm already giving my unpopular opinion, this is a Christian holiday. Christian rituals should be performed and reflected upon. Everybody else who wants a winter holiday is welcome to it, but don't call it Christmas!</p>
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<p>OK, there. Boot me off MDC.</p>
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<p>I get where he's coming from.  He's addressing the mainstream, so it doesn't surprise me that so many of us on MDC already have healthy and heart-happy alternatives in place. He's not talking about us, per se.  He's talking about the vast majority that do everything that he made points about.</p>
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<p>For fear of getting flamed, here's my story:</p>
<p>For many years, I did the "make it or make it meaningful" gift giving.  I started in August, spent lots of time, energy and money making or acquiring beautiful crafts for my loved ones.  And they did likewise.  I have some beautiful treasured gifts from friends from that time.  However, the costs added up and time became a premium, and there was a compounding expectation for these gifts each year, which ended up creating pressure.</p>
<p>One year, we all decided not to give anything. Nothing at all.  It was the best Christmas!  We played boardgames, played in the snow, sang carols, went to see Christmas lights, and had a beautiful Christmas feast with spectacular company.</p>
<p>And that's what became our new tradition.  Not giving.  It makes for the most enjoyable, stress-free holiday season! </p>
<p>With a child who's turning two, there hasn't been any issue with the way we do (or don't do) things yet.  And she does have grandparents who buy her gifts.  But we won't be buying anything for anyone, including her. </p>
<p>It works for us, for now.  As she gets older, we hope to offer alternatives (a family trip, memberships to the aquarium, etc) to the presents-under-the-tree norm.</p>
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<p> </p>
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<p>I get where he's coming from.  He's addressing the mainstream, so it doesn't surprise me that so many of us on MDC already have healthy and heart-happy alternatives in place. He's not talking about us, per se.  He's talking about the vast majority that do everything that he made points about.</p>
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<p>And that's what became our new tradition.  Not giving.  It makes for the most enjoyable, stress-free holiday season! </p>
<p> </p>
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<p>Yup. And this year the older kids (us adults <span><img alt="wink1.gif" height="15" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/wink1.gif" width="15"></span>) decided to only buy gifts for the kids (there are only three under 18). And we agreed on a very reasonable amount. We have all enjoyed Christmas this year so much more. So even though there is still some gift buying, it feels more fun and less obligatory.</p>
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<p>I have purchased a few things for my hubby-he really needed some new work clothes. He is taking me out to eat on Thursday to my favorite (and expensive) restaurant for my Christmas gift and I could not be happier. I don't need anymore clothes, but I sure can use a date night with my awesome and amazing man. I got my son a butterfly kit and we will be able to grow and enjoy live butterflies in our house. We are having our friend with no family over for Christmas dinner of homemade spaghetti and garlic bread. That is our gift to him. His to us are two bottle of nice wine to drink with our dinner.</p>
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<p>The only person who does not buy into this is my MIL. And she is the worst gift giver ever. Se asks for a list and than ignores the list in favor of a gift I will never use. Sigh. I wish I could send her the blog post but she wouldn't even get it.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>starling&diesel</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285303/the-case-against-buying-christmas-presents#post_16116060"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I get where he's coming from.  He's addressing the mainstream, so it doesn't surprise me that so many of us on MDC already have healthy and heart-happy alternatives in place. He's not talking about us, per se.  He's talking about the vast majority that do everything that he made points about.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>For fear of getting flamed, here's my story:</p>
<p>For many years, I did the "make it or make it meaningful" gift giving.  I started in August, spent lots of time, energy and money making or acquiring beautiful crafts for my loved ones.  And they did likewise.  I have some beautiful treasured gifts from friends from that time.  However, the costs added up and time became a premium, and there was a compounding expectation for these gifts each year, which ended up creating pressure.</p>
<p>One year, we all decided not to give anything. Nothing at all.  It was the best Christmas!  We played boardgames, played in the snow, sang carols, went to see Christmas lights, and had a beautiful Christmas feast with spectacular company.</p>
<p>And that's what became our new tradition.  Not giving.  It makes for the most enjoyable, stress-free holiday season! </p>
<p>With a child who's turning two, there hasn't been any issue with the way we do (or don't do) things yet.  And she does have grandparents who buy her gifts.  But we won't be buying anything for anyone, including her. </p>
<p>It works for us, for now.  As she gets older, we hope to offer alternatives (a family trip, memberships to the aquarium, etc) to the presents-under-the-tree norm.</p>
<p> </p>
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Great post, Starling & Diesel, and I concur with your first paragraph about the article not being about us, specifically, but about the larger mainstream.  Talking about that stuff here is like preaching to the choir.  I live in a very large city which toots itself as the shopping capital of the world.  This past weekend, our relatives were visiting and we took them out and about.  The mass consumerism and accompanying rudeness was more than I could handle.  Berate me if you want, but we went into a restaurant and the first thing I ordered was a double vodka. <span><img alt="orngtongue.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="width:15px;height:15px;"></span>  It was literally overwhelming to the point of depressing.  The buying of stuff didn't bother me so much as just the general attitude and tone in the air.  I think if you're not exposed to this sort of consumerism, it is a little hard to understand that it is so prevelant.  The pushing, the shoving, the general lack of "holiday spirit" really, really turns me off to the whole thing.  Now granted, people may change when they are home and exchanging with friends and family, but the getting there appears to be so unattractive.  Honestly, I do believe there is a major portion of the population out there that buys into the madness.  It is a shame but it does exist.  I agree with others that the author's blog post was a little black and white, but I do think that people get passionate about stuff and address things in broad brush strokes.  Perhaps he hasn't been exposed to the large group of people who don't buy into consumerism. </p>
<p> </p>
 

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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>starling&diesel</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285303/the-case-against-buying-christmas-presents#post_16116060"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br>
As she gets older, we hope to offer alternatives (a family trip, memberships to the aquarium, etc) to the presents-under-the-tree norm.
<p> </p>
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I'd just like to mention that an aquarium membership can be a present-under-the-tree. In my family, it is, actually...that's what mom will give us this year. I do know what it is, because she checked in advance if we wanted that, or the local science museum (and I'm already a member there).</p>
<p> </p>
<p>But, this is exactly what I don't like about the article. An aquarium membership is still buying a Christmas present, yk?</p>
 

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 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>oaktreemama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285303/the-case-against-buying-christmas-presents#post_16116097"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-right:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-bottom:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p> </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">
<div> 
<p>I get where he's coming from.  He's addressing the mainstream, so it doesn't surprise me that so many of us on MDC already have healthy and heart-happy alternatives in place. He's not talking about us, per se.  He's talking about the vast majority that do everything that he made points about.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>And that's what became our new tradition.  Not giving.  It makes for the most enjoyable, stress-free holiday season! </p>
<p> </p>
</div>
</div>
</div>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Yup. And this year the older kids (us adults <span><img alt="wink1.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="width:15px;height:15px;"></span>) decided to only buy gifts for the kids (there are only three under 18). And we agreed on a very reasonable amount. We have all enjoyed Christmas this year so much more. So even though there is still some gift buying, it feels more fun and less obligatory.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I have purchased a few things for my hubby-he really needed some new work clothes. He is taking me out to eat on Thursday to my favorite (and expensive) restaurant for my Christmas gift and I could not be happier. I don't need anymore clothes, but I sure can use a date night with my awesome and amazing man. I got my son a butterfly kit and we will be able to grow and enjoy live butterflies in our house. We are having our friend with no family over for Christmas dinner of homemade spaghetti and garlic bread. That is our gift to him. His to us are two bottle of nice wine to drink with our dinner.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>The only person who does not buy into this is my MIL. And she is the worst gift giver ever. Se asks for a list and than ignores the list in favor of a gift I will never use. Sigh. I wish I could send her the blog post but she wouldn't even get it.</p>
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<br><br><p> </p>
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>CatsCradle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285303/the-case-against-buying-christmas-presents#post_16116110"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-right:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-bottom:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><br>
Great post, Starling & Diesel, and I concur with your first paragraph about the article not being about us, specifically, but about the larger mainstream.  Talking about that stuff here is like preaching to the choir.  I live in a very large city which toots itself as the shopping capital of the world.  This past weekend, our relatives were visiting and we took them out and about.  The mass consumerism and accompanying rudeness was more than I could handle.  Berate me if you want, but we went into a restaurant and the first thing I ordered was a double vodka. <span><img alt="orngtongue.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="width:15px;height:15px;"></span>  It was literally overwhelming to the point of depressing.  The buying of stuff didn't bother me so much as just the general attitude and tone in the air.  I think if you're not exposed to this sort of consumerism, it is a little hard to understand that it is so prevelant.  The pushing, the shoving, the general lack of "holiday spirit" really, really turns me off to the whole thing.  Now granted, people may change when they are home and exchanging with friends and family, but the getting there appears to be so unattractive.  Honestly, I do believe there is a major portion of the population out there that buys into the madness.  It is a shame but it does exist.  I agree with others that the author's blog post was a little black and white, but I do think that people get passionate about stuff and address things in broad brush strokes.  Perhaps he hasn't been exposed to the large group of people who don't buy into consumerism. </div>
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Now I'll give you this-people do get very nasty while out shopping. I do enjoy being a part of a large crowd with all the decorations up, but in limited amounts and I definately don't like having to interact with a lot of the other people, kwim? People can get very nasty. There was a shooting here at a toy store over a Justin Bieber doll. Seriously. Someone shot someone else over a DOLL. <span><img alt="jaw.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/jaw.gif" style="width:15px;height:68px;"></span>  I can see where the author was passionate and got too black and white over the issue. But that's also where I start to become turned off by the article. Extremeism doesn't really appeal to me. There is just so much gray in the world that to rant about something without even glancing at other ideas and preach that yours is the only correct way just bugs me. I guess I'd at least appreciate a nod to the fact that there are other ways that work.<br>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Storm Bride</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285303/the-case-against-buying-christmas-presents#post_16116549"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-right:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-bottom:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>starling&diesel</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285303/the-case-against-buying-christmas-presents#post_16116060"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-right:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-bottom:0px solid;"></a><br>
As she gets older, we hope to offer alternatives (a family trip, memberships to the aquarium, etc) to the presents-under-the-tree norm.
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
</div>
</div>
<p><br>
I'd just like to mention that an aquarium membership can be a present-under-the-tree. In my family, it is, actually...that's what mom will give us this year. I do know what it is, because she checked in advance if we wanted that, or the local science museum (and I'm already a member there).</p>
<p> </p>
<p><strong>But, this is exactly what I don't like about the article. An aquarium membership is still buying a Christmas present, yk?</strong></p>
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Addressing the top quote and the bottom quote: I totally agree with the bolded! The idea of just *not* giving gifts I guess to me makes Christmas just like any other day of the year. Doing things like having friends over for a nice dinner is still a gift, esp if its not something that is the norm. An aquarium membership is a gift that keeps on giving, all year long. I'd love it if someone got DD a membership to the Childrens Museum! I get the push against so much consumerism, but to just cut out gift giving seems counter productive. Maybe my idea of gift giving is more inclusive than the author's-ie dinner with family can still be a gift, memberships are still a gift, being with family and friends can still be a gift. My BIL is flying in from across the country. That's basically his gift to the family-his presence. And that's a fabulous gift! It doesn't have to be a physical item to be a gift.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I think part of what's bothering me so much about the article is the idea that even if you *like* to give presents, you shouldn't. Because giving presents is automatically buying into giving out garbage no one wants or uses and gives a ton of money to big corporations. Don't we love to watch kids give away their toys (which someone had to buy them in the first place) to someone else just to be nice and call it generosity?  Why is it that as an adult, if I go out and buy something (or buy the materials to make something) that I know someone is going to love and appreciate just because I like to, why is that no longer generosity? Why is that bad? Why does doing that specifically at Christmastime make it bad? Isn't Christmastime supposed to be a reminder to everyone to think about others and not themselves? Why should we only think about those who are less fortunate this one time of year and not family and friends? Surely we should think about those less fortunate year round and take this one special day to give gifts to family and friends just because we like to.</p>
 
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