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Stop Buying Christmas Gifts!

Photograph by Twenty20

It's official. I'm the Christmas curmudgeon. I'm the Grinch. I'm the mean mom suggesting we curb the gift-giving portion of the holidays. Somebody tell Scrooge he's been outdone.

You know it's serious when you don't even care about getting gifts for yourself.

Last week I looked at my husband and said, "Are you cool if we just decide to skip gifts for each other this year?" I almost thought he was going to bust out with a happy dance.

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It's no secret I have a love/hate relationship with the month of December. (Now I understand why my church-going, organ-playing, Christmas Eve dinner party-throwing mom of mine always said she "hated Christmas" every year.)

The parts about the holidays that involve love, hope, faith, kindness, spending quality family time together, giving to those who need it, singing carols with your church's Sunday School at the local home for elderly folks, decorating a tree with your kids? I adore them. They're the reasons for the season, no matter what you believe or don't believe in, religiously speaking.

The part involving stressing about what you could possibly get your husband (that he hasn't already gotten for himself with money you'd be using anyway) or searching and clicking and running around trying to figure out how to buy 15 gifts for cousins on a budget? ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS (especially when all the kids have everything they could possibly want, including mine). They're NOT the reason for the season.

I've had it. So why not flip out here with all of you?

Am I the only one who's overextended and honestly bothered that the true meaning of the holidays are being lost?

My fight against gift-giving seems to be gaining more and more momentum in my head as each year passes by. I've tried suggesting that each side of cousins draw one or two names out of a hat, to better focus on the "giving" (rather than dumping five to six gifts in front of each child in a big pile when no one knows who gave what and everyone misses the point of it all). My suggestions have not been well received.

Am I the only one who's overextended and honestly bothered that the true meaning of the holidays are being lost? I think not. I'm not quite full-on angry yet (how can you be totally angry on Christmas?!) but I am getting more and more peeved.

I want to bake more of those peppermint snowball cookies with my girls. I want to take some of those cookies to an elderly neighbor that still makes the effort to walk outside and drag her trash cans to the curb. I want to take my girls shopping to say, "Let's look and find something really, really special for so-and-so" rather than frantically rush into a store and yell at them to "keep up and move fast because we only have an hour right now to shop for eight gifts."

I know, I could shop online, but what's the point if I quickly look-and-click without making an effort to teach my girls about the spirit of quality (rather than quantity) giving?

Maybe it's my fault: I'm not starting the season early enough. Instead of scoffing at Christmas decorations being displayed in October, I should be shopping for gifts before Halloween. Or maybe I'm just having one of those days thinking about all the things I still haven't checked off of my list yet and am cranky. Or maybe I've just cleaned out my daughters' room and thought "There is no more room in here for anything new." Or maybe I just need a glass of wine to wash it all down.

Scratch that: I need a cranberry vodka a super-quick session of fast online shopping without kids looking over my shoulder. (You too?)

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We seem to do this to each other every single year. I guess it's now part of the season. I wish I had the courage to say, "One gift per person, no matter how young you are. Done!" But I don't. I just don't. So I should stop my complaining.

At least we're skipping the gifts for adults this year. (Bah Humbug! Ha.)

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