Thoughts on Christmas giving

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by Cheryl in SD, Nov 27, 2006.

  1. Cheryl in SD

    Cheryl in SD Living in the Hills Supporter

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    I like giving gifts. I prefer giving to getting. It makes me happy to give to those I love. My dh never have been able to give gifts that cost much but we still enjoy giving to our friends and family. We have found a way to share with others even when we were broke, even when we were ill, even when we didn’t celebrate Christmas. The gifts we have given have never cost much money, they never will. But we enjoy taking time to find or make something special for those we care about. I am not talking going into debt, not paying bills or needing to spend lots of money to be happy giving, I just enjoy finding something little and special for those we care about. It isn’t that I feel you have to give a gift to show you love someone or that you are thankful they are in your life or appreciate what they do, but giving either a present, or some of your time or a note or offer of help is part of letting others know that you care about them and appreciate them.

    Ok, if you are still reading you are probably about to throw your coke through the screen and are yelling, and “YOUR POINT?????”

    My point or maybe my question is, “Are we just odd?”

    As I read here and other places, talk to people, or listen to things, I am hearing/reading that so many seem to view giving as a chore, a real hardship, even something people begrudge or avoid at all cost. I don’t give because it is required, I give because it feeds my soul to give to others. Maybe that is selfish of me, but giving is part of loving. I can’t complain about giving, I need to share. Until recently I thought this was a universal need, the need to give, sadly, I am beginning to think I am in the minority.

    Maybe I am just rambling here. What do you think? Does anyone else out there feel the same way?
     
  2. Pony

    Pony STILL not Alice Supporter

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    I love to give. I love to figure out what would be pleasing to someone, what would make her/him smile and know that I was thinking of him/her when I chose that gift.

    Over the past few years, however, I have noticed a bit of an attitude shift on the part of some of the people who USED to be on my gift list. These people would come up with a list of demands -- oh, excuse me, SUGGESTIONS -- and if those suggestions were not followed to the letter, my gifts were not appreciated.

    That left a nasty, sad, icky feeling in my heart.

    Now, I give gifts from the heart and from my kitchen. (Maybe they're the same?) I make food that I know will nourish the body, please the palate, and warm the heart; or, something that will pamper their bodies (soaps, salts, etc.); or a book that I know will be pleasing.

    Pony!
     

  3. Anita in NC

    Anita in NC Well-Known Member

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    The problem with Christmas is I feel that the whole gift giving ritual is forced upon us. That we buy things for people because we feel it is expected.

    I do like giving gifts but I don't feel like I should be expected to give gifts just because it is December 25th.

    I like to buy my DH or girlfriends little gifts throughout the year when I truely find something that I think they need or would appreciate. A book they've wanted, lunch out, some flowers, a nice bottle of wine, etc....
     
  4. belladulcinea

    belladulcinea Well-Known Member

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    My family uses lists for Christmas, in fact we demand a list, in June no less! :) It makes all of our lives easier! :p The lists include everything from new spatula's (me) to a trip to Yellowstone (my sis), a collie puppy (me again) and several other things. Lists of books we'd like to have, bought on sale or Half.com or in the used book store, games, the guys like golf balls. Last year my dsis hit a golfer's garage sale and bought this huge net bag of balls for dh for 3.00. She sorted out the good one and put them in a wrapping paper tube, dh was thrilled! She gave him the rest later, the cat and dog love them too. We are second hand/flea market/garage sale/ebay shoppers, we love to give gifts to each other. And we make things for each other too. I am doing pincushions for the sewers this year, my dsil is getting a recycled garden plant stand that dh and I have built new shelves for and repainted. I can hardly wait to give it to her. The guys will get baskets full of baked goods, summer sausage and general football watching snacks. All made by hand or bought with a coupon or ordered with gc's from mypoints. Cheryl I'm with you, I fill up inside giving a gift to someone, I especially love to get something for someone that I know they want and will use.

    A gift, for me, should be given according to what someone will use or want, find entertaining, something they will remember as having been given to them from me. I made the new sew blankets a couple of years ago and my dh's sis tells me whenever I talk to her it's like being wrapped up in love. She know's I'm a dingy artist type, she bought me a wonderful pink shawl that I love to were to church. I like to pick out a gift with the person in mind. I've also found that people know instinctively when a gift is given from obligation or with strings or some ulterior motive. Even when I picked gifts out for dh's dad, who I didn't really like much I made sure I picked his gift out and gave it to him, loving him that he was dh's dad if for no other reason.

    Anyway I love to give gifts too and enjoy the holidays alot!
     
  5. Speciallady

    Speciallady Well-Known Member

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    I love to give as well. I love Christmas, more for the decorations and the atmosphere, but giving warms my heart. I love to receive presents too. I'm kind of selfish that way. It's nice when people think of you by giving you something.
     
  6. kitaye

    kitaye Well-Known Member

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    I love to give, especially anonymously, and watch the look on people's faces. Sometimes it is fun to see the "guessing" that goes on with people trying to find the giver. I love doing it so much that I do it throughout the year if given the opportunity.
     
  7. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

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    When my kids were little, I was the one jumping up and down with excitement for days (weeks) beforehand. On Christmas morning, I got such a buzz out of watching their delight as they opened their presents, and for many years they weren't much to write home about (and I'm back at that point now, decades later!).

    I can't honestly say I like giving better than receiving - but there isn't much in it, if it's a race between the two.

    If your heart isn't in the gift, don't give at all.

    If there's one particular person you don't like, then give a gift to the entire family - something they can all use (magazine subscription, music, Christmas hamper, whatever.) That way no feelings are offended - including your own.
     
  8. jimandpj

    jimandpj Well-Known Member

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    Have you ever read the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman? In it, the author explains that there are 5 different ways that people express (and receive) their love. They are:

    - words of affirmation
    - quality time
    - receiving gifts
    - acts of service
    - physical touch

    For some people, it takes a dozen roses to feel loved, for some it takes an hour of conversation, for others only physical intimacy makes them feel loved. The trick is that you can't just show love to people the way you want to be loved. You need to figure out what makes them feel loved and communicate in their love language.

    So for you, it sounds like giving may be your dominant love language. For many others, giving is not their way of showing love. So for them, giving is a burden. It doesn't make them any less loving. It also may explain why some people don't respond to our gifts the way we hope.

    The book is very interesting. The general concept has helped me a lot in dealing with how I make each of my 7 children feel individually loved - the same thing doesn't work for each of them. I also know that my dominant love language is acts of service. I could care less about someone giving me a gift of any type. But wash my dishes for me (just once) and I'll love you forever! :)

    PJ
     
  9. belladulcinea

    belladulcinea Well-Known Member

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    My love language is gifts, that's why I take so much care in giving them and find the joy in the even the smallest gifts. I just retired from my preschool job and I received so many small wonderful gifts from the kids and their parents. My favorites are the ones the little guys made on their own. Gift giving also is a learned lesson for alot of people. I took my dniece and nephew shopping and taught them how to give gifts to their mom or how to make something for her. My dad taught us how. When we were little my mom would drop one of us off downtown at the bank where dad worked a week or 2 before Christmas and he would take us shopping. Later on we would earn our money and save it in a Christmas club account. I know that gift giving for some can be a burden, especially those who have decided that Christmas is too commercial. But I celebrate the day by acknowledging the greatest Gift ever given to mankind. I certainly can't match that gift but I can celebrate it in a wonderful way with my family and friends. Had I been around ALLLLL those many years ago when the reasons changed and this season became what it is now it might make a difference to me. It doesn't, I know December 25th isn't His birthday but has become a day, for me anyway, to remember His birth. And we remember his birth with gifts and a celebration.

    We are church goers and believers, we serve in the church and participate in the worship services with as much gusto as possibel! We celebrate his coming at church for the whole month of December to help people bump up their passion for Christ. In the spring we celebrate the why of Christmas which is Easter.
     
  10. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I love to give too and I love Christmas! Giving makes me happy. I do not believe in giving and expecting something in return. The act of giving is return enough for me.
     
  11. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

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    What a timely post for me.

    My BIL and his wife declared several years ago that they no longer wished to give gifts to their siblings' families. We were fine with that. We still continue to get them gifts because it's something we enjoy doing. We expect nothing in return. We haven't gotten any gifts from them in years. Fine and good.

    Yesterday I get an email from BIL's wife telling me how they "dread the holidays" because they want it to be more about visiting than gifts. Now they are outright telling us that they don't want gifts from us. They have a child. How are we supposed to give gifts to her cousins and not her? It's like they're trying to stop everyone from giving gifts.

    Frustrated,

    RedTartan
     
  12. Marialys

    Marialys Proud to be a Troll!

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    I love giving gifts. I also love being creative about it.

    For instance:

    Months ago my one sister in law declared that she loved the curtains in my bedroom. She painted her bedroom an unusual shade of purple and couldn't find curtains to match the room and one day I was in the store and noticed some material that had her EXACT shade of purple in it. I'm using that material along with some bleached cotton to create curtains and pillows for her for Christmas.

    At the sme time that I spotted the purple material, I spotted some fleece that was being clearanced that had wetlands scenes all over it. One of my brothers is an avid duck hunter so I bought enough of the fleece to make he and his 7 year old son matching jackets.

    Another of my nephews expressed a desire for a bathrobe. I have a TON of material sitting here so I am making him a bathrobe for Christmas.

    The list goes on and on and NONE of the projects cost a whole lot to put together BUT I know that the people receiving them will be thrilled with them.
     
  13. Madame

    Madame Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I like getting, I LOVE giving. I always give myself a gift (wrapped up in advance so I semi forget about it) and love finding different things to give people. It's fun! One year when I was particularly solvent (a rare and wondrous thing), I gave 'The Tightwad Gazette' to a woman and put ten $10 bills throughout the book. The gift was anonymous, so I never heard anything back, but I still smile at the thought of her finding the cash..I can just imagine the look on her face! I haven't been able to do anything like that for quite a long time, but I can still make things and have fun doing it.
     
  14. Bink

    Bink Well-Known Member

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    Years when it's under control and I've found or made things I felt the recipient would like, I enjoy it. Other years, Christmas or birthdays come up way too fast for me, and I feel stressed and don't enjoy it.
     
  15. LvDemWings

    LvDemWings Well-Known Member

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    I love giving to the ones that appreciate it. I am stressed with the ones who turn their nose up at what you gave. I always try and give from the heart, looking for that perfect something that is matched uniquely to them, and because of that I sometimes get hurt feelings. With the selfish people I just give things and not a piece of myself. That seems to be all they want anyway.
     
  16. Josephine

    Josephine Well-Known Member

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    This year the commercialism of Christmas has really been bugging me. I love to give gifts but it seems this country is out of whack with priorities. Watching the news the Friday after Thanksgiving really frustrated me. Some people lined up on Thanksgiving so they could be at the stores first thing on Friday! One guy said "I missed dinner but it was worth it"...is saving a few bucks really worth missing family time? Anyone else see people trampled or those fights while waiting in like for Wii? It really bothers me.

    The other day my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas. The only thing that came to mind was a Calendar. I honestly couldnt think of anything else I wanted. I live a simple life but I have what I need.

    When S/O asked me what I wanted I only said a day to myself-a spa day. Who needs a flat screen TV? :)

    I also like giving gifts from the heart-and receiving them from the heart. Its nice to know that someone knows you enough to think of what YOU might really like and I enjoy thinking of the people in my life and giving gifts.
     
  17. Cheryl in SD

    Cheryl in SD Living in the Hills Supporter

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    Good discussion! Almost as soon as I hit send I wondered if someone would chime in who read the languages of love book. I haven't read it but it sounds like I should.

    I wonder if someone did a poll, how many people answering honestly would prefer a simple Christmas with one or two thoughtful gifts and would for go the commercialism. I wonder if many are caught up in the hype and would love to get off the merry go round.

    I guess, doing more thinking, that I am a happy middle person here. I do like giving gifts, I dislike the idea of gift lists. We have friends that ask for a list for each child. Every year the list gets bigger and more expensive and they try really hard to get it all. The kids are invariably unhappy and dissatisified with the presents. Last year the mom told me they spent $500-$1000 per child. The kids were mad that things weren't the right brand or kind & half of it was being exhanged. She was shocked that we spent $20 per child, + a dress I made or shirt. My kids LOVED their gifts, and couldn't wait to show them off.

    Still thinking aloud here....

    Could it be that the attitude of the giver has something to do with it or the general attitude of most homesteaders that things aren't what's important in life? I do love giving, but if I had to, if it was forced on me, if my children/family presented me with a list or else, would I grow to hate it too? I just might.

    Still processing, good thing you all are patient!
     
  18. MoonShine

    MoonShine Fire On The Mountain

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    Yes,I love to give gifts...I LOVE it...I get so excited,it's unbelieveable. I thought I would be smart this year and buy my gifts early. Well,I've already given my parents one each of their gifts and I've given my Grandma three of her gifts already. LOL..I just couldn't wait!
    The cool thing about my family is that we're all happy to received used items. I buy alot of books and movies on ebay and through Amazon's used section.
     
  19. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    When I give a gift, I would rather give something that I know the person will like and use. I feel like it is a waste of money to give something they won't like. I know as a preschool teacher for many years, I have received some things that I truly did not need, want, or should I say it, even like! Sounds bad, but I am not a collector of stuff, so having lots of odds and ends around does not make me happy.

    That is one reason why I don't mind a list or some suggestions.
     
  20. Cheryl in SD

    Cheryl in SD Living in the Hills Supporter

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    My sister's best friend is a teacher. Every year she gets 20 gifts for every occasion. At first she tried to keep it all. Now she uses a lot of it in class (will ask for special stickers or things she can give as rewards). But she has also become a world class regifter. I barely know her and have recieved many nice things for our homeschool that she couldn't use.

    You do make a good point on lists. I guess it depends on the list. I now tell my dh very carefully 3-4 things he can get me, otherwise I get a candle. For YEARS every occasion was a candle. I had so many candles I couldn't use them all! We finally talked and he started asking me for ideas. Last year he asked for a couple of ideas and the only thing I could think of was candles! I had finally used up all the ones he had given me (we had a week long power outage that year & it took a toll on my candle supply!). I may never live that down! :rolleyes: