It’s the holiday season, which apparently means we’re supposed to run around the stores acting like people possessed, if I’m to believe the non-stop news coverage of Black Friday. We also had to contend with Cyber Monday this week, as we pulled ourselves out of our post-Thanksgiving depression, induced by obligatory family time and the crushing realization that the year is almost over. I don’t know about you, but I’m already feeling like an utter failure this season. My artificial tree is up, but the lights aren’t working, so forget ornaments just yet. I updated my Amazon Wish List, but it’s only got three things on it now that I don’t even really want. I’ve started my shopping, but at the rate I’m going I won’t be done until Saint Patrick’s Day.
I don’t have answers to everything, but I do think I’ve cracked the code on ‘how to do you during the holidays.’ Time, money, and energy are a precious commodity, so you have to set boundaries. Like most people, I am not immune to parental guilt trips, which is why I’ll be spending 7-9 days driving the length of California this Christmas. Okay, maybe I still have work to do on drawing better boundaries, but I’m finally confident in saying NO to buying gifts and spending money on things that don’t inspire me.
Last night my partner’s step-dad sent us a picture and a link to a turtle tea set that my mother in-law likes or that he wants to buy her (it’s unclear to me which of the two it is).
My immediate reaction was, “Excuse me, I have to call everyone I have ever met.” Thank you, Cordelia Chase. My next thought was more practical, how much is this turtle tea set going to set me back? It turns out that the going rate for this puppy is more than I want to spend. A younger, more easily influenced Christina, probably would have caved and just bought a teacup and saucer and deeply resented the dent in her checking account. But the older I get, the more thoughtful I am about how I spend my hard earned money. At the very least, I need to be excited by what I’m buying as gifts in order for them to have any meaning. I hope my mother in-law gets her tea set if that’s what she wants, but she won’t be getting it from me.
Over the years I’ve picked out thoughtful things like a leather handbag and wallet when she went into real estate, and Christmas Fiestaware to add to her regular collection of colorful dishes. This year we’re going the local food and handmade goods route, and I couldn’t be more excited. I have faith that even if it does take me a little longer to cross everyone off my list, their gifts will be perfect for them and perfectly me.
So, what is on your shopping list and wish list this year?