Never Catch Up | Giftie Etcetera: Never Catch Up

Monday, November 12, 2007

Never Catch Up

You ever feel as if you will never catch up. Not with anything specific, but just in general. Good thing this is Alan's last week of overtime, especially with Christmas shopping season ahead.

We've done a great job in the past of limiting our Christmas list and focusing instead on enjoying the holiday with our friends and families. But it's harder this year, because Ander has so many "kid" friends. Some of their parents will no doubt surprise Ander with a Christmas present. And not having a reciprocal present for a little kid is unacceptable, because the little kid does not understand such things. Then again, I don't want to be that parent, showing up unexpectedly with a gift and making the other person uncomfortable because they have nothing for Ander.

Do I get stuff for his playgroup? I think no, but who knows?

What about my friends' kids? Again, I think no, but who knows?

The kids he goes to daycare with? I'm guessing yes, because in the past, that group has traditionally exhanged. But their were different people last time.

There should be a written list of rules. I like written rules. (Oh, I understand the rule among adults, in which you receive and unexpected gift and politely say "thank you," but that does not work for a one year old.)


'Tis the season for sighing.



Beorn said...

I'll grant that I'm not a parent, so I may not understand, but here's my vote: No pwesents. Refuse to give in to the urge to conform and consume. No, kids don't understand this, but then, you're not the kids' parents either. When gifts become an expectation, the entire purpose of the holiday, and indeed the purpose giving the gift, has been utterly defeated.
For you and for anyone else of relevance who reads this: Please don't feel it necessary to even send cards. I may do so in the future if I find a way to do it without it feeling like an obligation and a chore (i.e., in my retirement). In the meantime, I'm sincerely happy and grateful to think about all of my friends spending Christmas with their families. It's a wonderful thought, and it's enough.

Giftie Etcetera said...

I personally find presents fun (even the shopping part), but not the "present pressure" part. For example, I get something for certain friends *every now and then*, if I find something that really fits them. I don't feel pressured, and since they don't know if they are getting something or not, I hope they don't either. But I see what you are saying.

The real reason I am answering your comment, though, is to say that I think the only thing I didn't understand as a nonparent that I do now is the lack of sleep for new parents. My perspective on things like gift-giving hasn't really changed since becoming a parent; it's just become an "issue."

Beorn said...

That makes sense. Not that you needed any validation from the peanut gallery. Sigh. I really miss interacting with intelligent people about things not related to rhetorical theory, interpersonal communication theory, performance studies, and the like. And now, back to late-night lesson plan writing...

Brien Louque said...

Take it from someone who probably goes a little overboard each Christmas - you don't have to buy for everybody. You can buy little things though and keep them wrapped up in case somebody does give you or A (or A) something. Kids don't really care so much most of the time for Christmas anyway - they get so many presents. I think they just like unwrapping stuff and seeing something they didn't expect.

Anonymous said...

I was going to suggest the same thing as Brien. The great thing about kids is that you can go to the Dollar Store and buy packs of bubbles and wrap them up and they are ecstatic! What I've done in the past is make up Christmas "goody bags" with cheap toys and candy and stuff and have them on hand for the occassions where you want to reciprocate gift giving.

I'm like you--I enjoy seeing the look on a kids face when they are handed a gift! I know that gift giving isn't the reason for season, but it makes me feel good to make someone else happy!

Beorn said...

Maybe I should clarify my comment so I don't sound like a Scrooge. I didn't mean no presents, period--just no present purchasing to exchange with the kids of folks at daycare and the playgroup and friends' kids. To me, it's not only about remembering the real purpose of Christmas gift giving; it's about drawing a sane, firm line so you don't end up buying gifts for half the kids in a given metropolitan area. If I had a kid and someone I'd only ever shared small talk with gave my kid a present for Christmas, I'd say thank you and leave it at that rather than spread the virus any further. I love buying meaningful gifts for kids I know, and my overall gifting philosophy is the same as Queen Giftie's--in theory that is. In practice, it'll have to wait till I have a real salary once more.