Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oh my heavens, people, there's nothing wrong with driving to Target and buying a present!

I spend WEEKS thinking about Christmas gifts...months even.

This year, I started-I kid you not- in JULY. July, evidently, is THE time for clearance toys. I filled up a cart and then some, packed the car, leaving no room for groceries, gave myself a nice pat on the back, and went on about my year.

And I have to say, *I* really like the movement to purchase something made by hand by a real person. I've shown you a couple of to-die-for vases on Etsy and I really love Aidan's Monsters, for a great cause.

But that's me. And evidently, it's a LOT of women. Right about now, all the trendy blogs are publishing bits and bangs and blogs about gift giving, responsibly, of course, and by responsibly, I don't mean, not over spending.

 No. There's nary a thought of budgeting among the group.

 No, evidently responsible gift giving means purchasing crap nobody wants because it's responsibly made crap.

Um. Okay.

There's a reason your husband/toddler/tweenager doesn't haunt Etsy.

They don't like flea market stuff. When given a choice between an Elmo doll that squeals like a stuck pig and a handmade fabric alphabet book in modernistic black and white, the Elmo wins.

Hands-freaking-down, people. Every. Single. Time. It doesn't say anything about your ability as a parent, your child is not materialistic, and I've got news for you: If you spend four million hours sourcing handmade hats with furry ear flaps knitted by adults paid a responsible wage in a foreign country plagued by disease, some relative is going to show up with Elmo and make you mad.
Now, I'm not saying you should go spend money on something you really have a moral objection to. But there are other ways to spend money responsibly, give to a good cause, and not force your flea market obsession onto your husband. 

You could start with Craigslist, perhaps. As we did for the middle child's jeep.  Christmas morning is going to be especially bright this year, when she sees that. She's wanted it for ages, and we kept within our budget AND spent locally. (Imagine that!)

Without sucking the fun out of Christmas morning.

Gift giving should be about the recipient, not the giver. And believe me, your husband will get more joy out of a newfangled cell phone or whichever Xbox game he's been wanting, then he will out a set of Ernie mittens.

So, here's my new rule of thumb- if you have to give a fifteen minute dissertation on the origin of the present in your recipients lap- something is wrong.

They should open the box and know it's for THEM. Just for them.

Then go reward YOURSELF with a piece of responsibly purchased, handmade-from-recycled-plastic-soda-bottles jewelry. It will make YOU happy.

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