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Renee’s Ideas on Holiday Gifts and Stress

Hulton Archive, Getty Images

After overdosing on magazines and girly TV this weekend I have a few holiday ideas. I read a lot of stuff and I watch a lot of TV, and well, I am a store house of so many things. I just have to let this stuff out of my brain before I explode.

Last year I swore that I was not going to do Christmas gifts for anyone. No one I know really needs anything. Everyone I would have bought a gift for is okay. We have jobs and homes and such. But as I see the holiday displays in stores and everywhere else, I had to rethink it. As much as I have checked out of the “holiday machine,” there are parts of it that I like!

I learned a few years ago, if I did not make such a big deal out of the holidays, I enjoyed them more. For me, not having a big family, I let go my desire to create the perfect holiday with food, decorations, and gifts. It never worked out how I imagined and it made me sad. So I changed direction. I have done many non-conventional things like go to the movies, go out for Chinese food or hang out in my jammies and watch DVDs all day. Sometimes alone and sometimes I did these things with another person or two. Know what? I had a great time. It was because I just make the day about relaxing and enjoying whatever I was doing.

One of the big frustrations for me has always been gifts. I hate to buy a gift just for the sake of buying a gift. I would prefer to get a nice card and a few thoughtful words from most people. I don’t need anything and what I do need I get for myself. Nothing would make me happier than to know someone who did not have the money to buy me a gift took time to go ring a bell for the Salvation Army and shared that they did it as my gift. Donating time to the local food pantry, soup kitchen, or shelter and saying you did it thinking of me would be the best gift ever. Or if there is a budget for gifts, I would love to get a card saying that money was donated to this group or that group in my name. How cool is that? During the holidays you can give a gift to strangers in need by donating blood. Donations drop during the holidays and it is another great way to give back to the community.

I have another idea on gifts. I have a co-worker who years ago shared a little thing she did with her daughter for Christmas. The girl would get three gifts from her parents, just like baby Jesus. Not being an over religious person myself I thought this was a great way to meld the religious aspect of Christmas and the more cultural aspect of Christmas. Yes, the girl ended up with more gifts from others as well, but she knew that there were three coming from her parents.

What I learned I do like about the holidays, others lights and decorations. I don’t have much interest in doing it myself. But I am glad others love to decorate. I like wandering around and looking at the stores all decked out for the holidays. I just don’t buy much for others. Buying for myself, well, that is a different story. I always end up with a few treats that somehow Santa knew I needed.

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