Am I The Only One


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Who Has Started Christmas Shopping? And Planning?

I have had a bit of extra money lately. And we have run into some unusual sales. So I have started to do my shopping. I am excited!! The last couple of years I haven't been physically up to doing much shopping, so this is fun.

So far we have been stocking up on mason jars to turn into gifts, chosen some great books for those on our lists who are book lovers, and a few smaller things. I am gradually getting some gift cards and exotic ingredients that will go with a book on cooking exotic foods from Eastern countries like India, Pakistan, Korea, etc... for my brother. I have a book on guns that changed the history of the modern world for my dad along with another book for him. I am working on a dragon stitching project for Wiz as he is very hard to buy for. I have zero clue what to get for Tylerious. Probably cash for his spring break trip (his choir is going to Disney!). I have several cooking things for Jess but I won't mention them because if any of my kids would find this it would be her.

We are also going to do a gift basket for secretaries, etc.. this year (hubby's work, etc.). I just got some stainless steel water bottles on sale and thought I could combine them with homemade treats to make a nice gift. They were clearing out the summer water bottles for $2-$3 each. I might make a spiced ice tea mix (instant iced tea, spices?) or homemade lemonade mix to go with them. Or I might just see if Trader Joes has anything that would be good with them. OK only has one Trader Joes and it is fairly new and about 90 minutes away. Anything from there would be a novelty and interesting. Their prices are great, so that would be easy.

What are you all thinking of as you start to think of the holidays? Have you started to think of shopping? Done any yet? I had one woman tell me that I was running late and she could not believe I wasn't done yet. I just laughed at her!!


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
I am just not there. It is only the 3 of us and I can't think that far ahead.
I love the mason jar idea. We did those one year with a cookie and a soup mix inside. Cheep and cheerful is the way I like my holidays to be.


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All our grandkids are between 17 and 29. It is no longer fun. The ones that we aren't raising, gets cash, and a small gift sack that contains a "chocolate orange" a chocolate ball that separates in to wedges of milk chocolate that has a mild orange flavor. And a few themed items, like kitchen tools or dish clothes. Or lotions, shower gel, etc.

For our two, I usually buy some basic clothing items, and fill up a stocking with make up, teen stuff, etc. then I make a home made "gift card" for shopping at one of the stores they like, like Platos Closet.

I have stopped giving cash or real gift cards, as it disappears and they have nothing to show for it...

husband and I don't really exchange gifts. As at this age, we get what we need...and if we don't need it, we don't want excess stuff in the house.

I usually try to get our two grands that we adopted a special ornament for the tree.

Someday, I would just like to book a vacation for husband and I and not mess with the meal and gist exchange. It seems too expected and unappreciated... Ksm


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Staff member
ksm, I gave up ever having a Norman Rockwell Christmas a couple of years ago. So we decided to start taking trips instead. Last year, we (husband and both daughters) went to Disney World for Christmas. Two of our nieces joined us for one of the days. The holiday decorations were beautiful and the fireworks on Christmas Eve were magical. We had a wonderful time . . . the best Christmas in years.

This year we are going to Universal Studios for Christmas. I think we have a new tradition that makes everyone happy.



Roll With It
Even though I don't have little ones, we still have a great time buying gifts. Probably 20 years ago, we started setting a limit on the cost of gifts from adult to adult. We were spending ridiculous amounts of money on the holidays (maybe not to the rest of you, but we are frugal people). So we set the amount at $10. I think now we let it go to $20 if you don't talk about it, but we try not to go that high. Gifts must be meaningful. It makes it a real CHALLENGE and that is fun. We don't care if the gifts are brand new or if they are used. They can be something we have made. Gifts to the children don't count, although now that the kids are adults (thank you will be 18 a week before Christmas! Where did the years go?!?!?!!!) that may change. Or not, seeing that my parents will probably have a hissy fit if I try to change that.

If you really enjoy buying for children, and don't have any, why not do it anyway? In my community we have a Christmas Store for those who meet certain income limits. There are gifts for kids and for parents (so the kids can give gifts to the parents). They have new and very gently used items available. My mom and I would go to garage sales all year long looking for items. She had a huge closet we would fill and then in August we would clean and sort the items. My mom is a truly gifted seamstress and clothing designer, so she would make repairs and update anything that needed it to be really nice (items that had good quality fabric and with a little work could be the latest fashion) and I often would add a little holiday design in embroidery or cross stitch to little kid clothing that was a bit boring. Then we would take several car loads to the Christmas Store when they opened. We had an absolutely wonderful time buying the items, fixing them up, sorting them, etc... and then it was great to get rid of them and not have to figure out what to do with them or dust them in perpetuity!

Why not find a group in your area that does something like our Christmas Store? Or adopt a Head Start class and take in gifts for all the kids? They are low income and would probably LOVE each getting a small gift. You could buy them throughout the year, or even make them. It is a great way to keep the holiday spirit without accumulating more and to keep enjoying buying for little kids if you don't have any in your family at that time.

If gifts are expected and are not fun to give, shake it up. I like giving gifts to my family because we all enjoy and appreciate them so much. But if they were not appreciated, they would be far less fun. I only get involved with one gift to my husband's family. I stitch a nativity for stepmother in law each year. I have for over 20 years. She collects them and she LOVES handmade items. It is just a bonus for me that my father in law is driven nuts by her nativity collection!

Instead of giving the adults gift cards, pick a charity and give a gift in their name. I have been known to pick a different charity for each person on a gift list if I am not up to shopping in a given year. I try to make it a charity that the person would like or support, and then the gift is meaningful to them. Your family may not especially like the idea rather than a gift, but I bet they would appreciate a gift a lot more the next year. Or they may really like it. Sometimes people surprise you.


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Susiestar, I wish had a family that would adapt to changes. The first 10 years I tried so hard to buy things for my step daughter, and later when she married, the grand kids. One year, when she started talking about what she wanted for Christmas, I told her we had already selected something. Her reply? "How could you buy something when I haven't told you what I want?" Then for a few years, I was the nice step mom, who looked over her list, complete with catalogue name, page number, item number and price. When I suggested we do cash or gift cards, she pouted and said it wouldn't be fun not to have gifts to open. So, I Used the list for a while...but then she would ask which things I had bought, so she could tell her mom or mother in law so they could get it for her if I didn't.

I just gave up and told husband he had to do Christmas for her and her family. It sucked all the fun and joy out of it. Esp when she would drop hints how much others spent on her.

After 34 years of marriage... This is just how it evolved. Step D is now 51.



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We have to get through the Birthday Zone of November. We have my brother's wife, Son #2, daughter-in-law, my husband's sister, my mom, my brother, and me. Then comes Thanksgiving!

I have started planning, and getting creative, because Mom says she doesn't want any presents she'll have to dust, and Miss KT and her hubby live 800 miles away, so shipping could be a concern. Hubby and I usually go shopping together and get what we like that way.


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Little known fact: If a person puts up Christmas decorations or plays carols before October 31st, you are legally entitled to kill that person and use their corpse as a Halloween decoration.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
I too like to get an early start. I love to decorate for Christmas and purchased a very large wreath in July. It was a "Christmas in July" sale online. It's a wreath I can hang outside and use year after year. 2 weeks ago I went to Hobby Lobby to purchase items I will use to decorate it. Yes, Hobby Lobby has quite a bit of Christmas stuff out.
As for shopping, I haven't started yet but have been thinking about it. I like to get it done early that way when the holidays roll around I'm not stressed trying to get the shopping done. My grand kids are in another state so I also have to make sure I get things shipped out in time.
Each year I bake 20 plus loaves of a quick bread. Last year was cranberry orange - not sure what kind it will be this year. My husband helps. I have to make such large batches so my husband purchased a paint paddle that he hooks up to his drill to mix everything. That paint paddle is the largest "beater" in my kitchen. I like to bake the bread because everyone else makes cookies.
I do wait to put up decorations until after Thanksgiving. :lights:


Roll With It
Lil- I LOVE it! But does it count that we still have our tree up from last year or the year before? Captain had a fit when we put it away. He likes to look at the lights as he goes to sleep.

Yes, my cat is THAT spoiled. Deal with it.

We do decorate the tree for different holidays, not just Christmas. It has white lights.

I especially like Halloween ornaments on it. I think we still had them on it in February last year. Jess put them on after she took the Christmas ornaments off. She likes Halloween better.

ksm- I don't do anything for my hubby's family but the nativity. I will wrap, maybe, and give hubby ideas. My mom got stuck with all the holiday stuff for my father's huge family. I decided that wasn't fair and my hubby was going to be involved. Plus, honestly, I don't really understand his family. They are sportsball people. I am absolutely not. I couldn't buy them a gift they liked if I tried. They made that clear early on. So I don't.

My dad HATES Christmas decorations. He gripes and gritches about them every single year. It really makes my mom upset. She LOVES to decorate and has a lot of decorations. I cannot remember a year that my dad did not have a fit about us putting up the Christmas tree. You would have thought we were putting spikes through his hands the way he carried on when I was little. As we got older we gave him such a hard time about being a baby pitching a fit that he toned it down. A little.

This year my mother is doing something different. She is getting a nice hotel room. Maybe even a suite. She is going to take a day and decorate. She will have food there for all who want to help. My father is NOT invited that day. At. All. Then we will have Christmas there. And then a day to clean up and for her to unwind. My dad can be there for Christmas, but if he gripes about decorations, he may get tossed out. She has already warned him.

He thinks it is stupid. She does not care. This way he doesn't have to deal with the decorations "making a mess" and she can have all the Christmas she wants.

I think my dad will miss the decorations and the tree. The griping is part of his holiday tradition and he enjoys it as much as he enjoys the rest of it. I just don't think he realizes how much it wrecks the holiday for my mom. A holiday somewhere else will probably remind him of how much he misses having all of us fussing around him. There is a reason my daughter always called him "Grumpa" and not "Grandpa". But a holiday in a hotel will be an interesting new change, and if my mom likes it, maybe it will be a new tradition.