Anyone doing a giftless Christmas this year?


#21

Hello Centurian, I am so sorry to see that you and your Mom both have some serious medical problems. Your Chirstmas gift from God is that you still have eachother.

Gift giving is just a Santa Claus idea that has gotten out of hand. Just be happy that you both lived through another Christmas.

I always tell my Mother that she should be happy that she has her children, and grand-kids. Not getting a lot of presents are not important. Family is more important than things.

Our gifts for eachother at Christmas time should be just being happy that we still have family members. I have the money to buy gifts but I don’t because most of my family members are prosperous. I only buy things that my poor relatives really need.

Some people don’t have any relatives left so they have fun with friends and neighbors.

Please don’t feel bad about not being able to give gifts because everybody understands your financial and medical situation. Don’t feel you have to give a gift to someone who has given you a gift. Just acept the gift and enjoy the fact that person cared about you.
It is the thought that counts.

I have learned from this website members that people are more important than things/gifts at Christmas time. I am changing for the better this coming year.

Thank you all for teaching me what is really important and that is people in our lives.


#22

We came close, but ended up doing really well on our grocery budget and ended up with two weeks when we didn’t need to buy any groceries at all (partly due to visiting relatives who fed us for three days :smiley: and other free holiday meals). We had enough money to buy DH clothes without holes for work (he starts tomorrow!), and then still had some $$ left over. We’re also time-poor, so we couldn’t do anything time-intensive.

I had some trinkets and cheap ornaments left over from previous years, and bought some miniature candy canes, a huge container of biscotti, some shortbread cookies, and some Lindt truffles. I put the cookies into ziploc bags, and used the containers as packages for my parents, DH’s mom & SO, and DH’s dad and step-mother - the grandparents of our children. We threw in a few of all the other things I mentioned. I knew they would all be doing something nice for the girls, so we gave them the nicest gifts we could manage. Everyone else is getting a little stocking ornament with two truffles, a cheap ornament, and some miniature candy canes inside. We’ll be giving these to three families - parents and children. Two of the families are out visiting relatives right now and the other is a little far for us to drive to visit on a whim, so we’ll have to give them later in the Christmas season. Each of these families has really helped us during the last year, and will understand how much it means for us to give even these small gifts.

For my own family, we just spent the last of the grocery money on food we wanted but didn’t need - seedless clementine oranges, pie, sparkling blueberry juice, blueberries, and some fancy cheese.

I will say that after this year, I will never again take for granted the ability to give a gift. And that is, IMO, the best gift of all - not just to me, but hopefully for my children as well.


#23

Hello Light gal, You were very creative in your gift giving. I think next year I will start giving out my Christmas ornaments to my young relatives for Christmas. I don’t put up a tree anymore and the ornaments are just packed away. I just decorate my door and I have a small fake tree with small ornaments and lights. I plan to keep those items.

I am a senior now and need to downsize they things that I don’t use anymore. I also have lots of new things that I don’t use either.

I like to watch the “Hoarder” t.v. show and the “Clean House” t.v. show. It is helping me to start givings some of the things I don’t need anymore.

My gifts next year will be more like “WHO WANTS THIS”? I did that this Christmas and it was great to give it to a person who really wanted the item. LaLucia


#24

Hello LaLucia; I appreciate for the boost of inspiration. What you have said here is very true. Indeed it is the thought that counts.
Hope your enjoying a Blessed Christmas Season
Sincerely Chris


#25

**Years ago I read this short story from a priest who wrote about: “What was the real meaning of our practice of giving gifts at Christmas”? Traditionally I myself thought it was borrowed from the story of Three Wise Men bearing gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh before the Christ-Child.
..................................................................................................................................
Christmas presents however; are not given universally by every nation and culture in the world. Why is it, then, that, unlike other people, we have since time immemorial, made Christmas the feast of giving? Many different answers could be given to this question by those who specialize in social history or the philosophy of religion, many of them very helpful and edifying. But I would like to ignore scholarship for the moment and suggest that we just question our hearts.

We may be poor or well off, but most of us will have spent time before Christmas looking for and buying something to give to those we love. We may have spent hours thinking about an unusual gift for someone. Or we may have wanted to surprise the person who receives our present. It may have cost us more money than we could really afford. And one of the happiest experiences in the world is when we look forward with eager expectation seeing a new infant child born into the world as a Christmas present.

Or the surprise that perhaps some parents might feel, or pretend, with a rather painful smile, to feel when the packages lying under the Christmas tree are all unwrapped. What is revealed in all this is a deep human longing.

In everyone of us, there is hidden, somewhere in the depths of our being, a poet or an artist who is prevented from expressing himself or herself by the everyday tasks of life.
As the great poet "Baudelaire" once said; our heart is like a captive albatross on the deck of the ship of life...you see people, an albatross is an awkward, incongruous, ridiculous bird when not in the sky, because it is made for flight and it's huge wingspan prevent it from walking.

We are men and women and we have many very ordinary tasks and duties to do in the hustle and bustle of our lives. On gray days we very often think of them as "wretched and hateful jobs". But our human experience ought really to be different from this. This hustle and bustle ought to be more loving and touch our hearts more closely; but it only leaves us time and money for those ordinary tasks and duties and for what is strictly necessary.

It does not touch our hearts at all, but leaves them poor and empty. Goodness withers away in us and so does love, which can only flourish in a unique situation, when everything is in abundance, or in a word, when there is a Feast.
What happens in the weeks before Christmas? They are weeks of thinking, planning and preparation. A little girl may begin in secret to knit or sew something for her parents. A young man tries to find out, without asking, what kind of gift will really please the girl he loves. A mother may be using all her ingenuity to conjure up happiness from nothing, and a father my become a boy again and try to put the old model railway in running order or even make some toys himself. And the children, those people who are still wise and not yet disappointed by life’s experiences; they feel safe and happy in the care of their parents.

Every parent is, after all, the representative of the infinitely rich Christ child. This is also where we find the deeper metaphysical meaning of the long established tradition of giving special presents at Christmas, the practice of wanting to give much more than we are able to give or afford to give. When we go beyond are resources and ability in this way, we become aware that there is something that transcends our ordinary everyday tasks and duties, something that gives us an insight into the nature of the kingdom of God, in which all of us are rich and capable of being generous in giving.
Every gift is…a symbol of our love. Every present is like a sacramental, a making visible of an invisible good that goes further than our calculations, has no boundaries and recognizes no frontiers.

And however poor we may be, so poor that we have, in weeks before Christmas; to go past the shop windows and their glorious displays of gifts perhaps with a troubled, hurt and even envious heart.

We can still say on Christmas Day to those we love:
I give you my heart. My heart, my loving heart, is like a carefully locked Christmas present. It contains treasures that have still not been discovered. My love is new and full of surprises. It looks forward to receiving a gift in return. And it is renewed and made young again when it hears the only possible answer: I love you too.

Hugo Rahner
(1900-1968)
**


#26

[quote="sheilathebard, post:8, topic:180794"]

But there are always non-physical gifts: write a card promising to offer up your next Mass for them (if they are Catholic) or offering an afternoon to help out around the house. I always did those as a kid, because I never had the money to buy anyone anything. They were surprisingly appreciated!

Remember that Christmas isn't really about the presents, anyway. If you're celebrating the Incarnation with those you love, you're doing everything important already.

[/quote]

I agree with Sheila. A purchased gift isn't necessary...your presence is the real present. When my elderly grandma was alive my husband and I would go over in mid December and put up her artificial Christmas tree for her and decorate it, playing some Christmas music and having some cookies. Mid-January we'd go over and take it down for her. She said it was a most wonderful gift each year!


#27

[quote="centurionguard, post:25, topic:180794"]
**Years ago I read this short story from a priest who wrote about: “What was the real meaning of our practice of giving gifts at Christmas”? Traditionally I myself thought it was borrowed from the story of Three Wise Men bearing gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh before the Christ-Child.
..................................................................................................................................
Christmas presents however; are not given universally by every nation and culture in the world. Why is it, then, that, unlike other people, we have since time immemorial, made Christmas the feast of giving? Many different answers could be given to this question by those who specialize in social history or the philosophy of religion, many of them very helpful and edifying. But I would like to ignore scholarship for the moment and suggest that we just question our hearts.

We may be poor or well off, but most of us will have spent time before Christmas looking for and buying something to give to those we love. We may have spent hours thinking about an unusual gift for someone. Or we may have wanted to surprise the person who receives our present. It may have cost us more money than we could really afford. And one of the happiest experiences in the world is when we look forward with eager expectation seeing a new infant child born into the world as a Christmas present.

Or the surprise that perhaps some parents might feel, or pretend, with a rather painful smile, to feel when the packages lying under the Christmas tree are all unwrapped. What is revealed in all this is a deep human longing.

In everyone of us, there is hidden, somewhere in the depths of our being, a poet or an artist who is prevented from expressing himself or herself by the everyday tasks of life.
As the great poet "Baudelaire" once said; our heart is like a captive albatross on the deck of the ship of life...you see people, an albatross is an awkward, incongruous, ridiculous bird when not in the sky, because it is made for flight and it's huge wingspan prevent it from walking.

We are men and women and we have many very ordinary tasks and duties to do in the hustle and bustle of our lives. On gray days we very often think of them as "wretched and hateful jobs". But our human experience ought really to be different from this. This hustle and bustle ought to be more loving and touch our hearts more closely; but it only leaves us time and money for those ordinary tasks and duties and for what is strictly necessary.

It does not touch our hearts at all, but leaves them poor and empty. Goodness withers away in us and so does love, which can only flourish in a unique situation, when everything is in abundance, or in a word, when there is a Feast.
What happens in the weeks before Christmas? They are weeks of thinking, planning and preparation. A little girl may begin in secret to knit or sew something for her parents. A young man tries to find out, without asking, what kind of gift will really please the girl he loves. A mother may be using all her ingenuity to conjure up happiness from nothing, and a father my become a boy again and try to put the old model railway in running order or even make some toys himself. And the children, those people who are still wise and not yet disappointed by life’s experiences; they feel safe and happy in the care of their parents.

Every parent is, after all, the representative of the infinitely rich Christ child. This is also where we find the deeper metaphysical meaning of the long established tradition of giving special presents at Christmas, the practice of wanting to give much more than we are able to give or afford to give. When we go beyond are resources and ability in this way, we become aware that there is something that transcends our ordinary everyday tasks and duties, something that gives us an insight into the nature of the kingdom of God, in which all of us are rich and capable of being generous in giving.
Every gift is…a symbol of our love. Every present is like a sacramental, a making visible of an invisible good that goes further than our calculations, has no boundaries and recognizes no frontiers.

And however poor we may be, so poor that we have, in weeks before Christmas; to go past the shop windows and their glorious displays of gifts perhaps with a troubled, hurt and even envious heart.

We can still say on Christmas Day to those we love:
I give you my heart. My heart, my loving heart, is like a carefully locked Christmas present. It contains treasures that have still not been discovered. My love is new and full of surprises. It looks forward to receiving a gift in return. And it is renewed and made young again when it hears the only possible answer: I love you too.

Hugo Rahner
(1900-1968)
**

[/quote]

Thank you, centurion guard. That is beautiful and made my day.You are a precious gift to your mother and she to you. May God richly bless you and fill you with His Peace during this holy time of the year and in the months to come.

udoc89 :)


#28

[quote="puzzleannie, post:19, topic:180794"]
the thing that needs liberation is the attitude behind gift giving, namely regarding them as tit for tat, as an obligation that requires some return, as one-upmanship (grandparents excel at this game with the other set of grandparents), as manipulation--you send somebody a gift that dictates their behavior in some way, ie a bible to an atheist, a football to a boy who is into art. We do this in very subtle ways--and CS Lewis does the best job of illustrating this in his books like Screwtape and Great Divorce--letting people know even non-verbally we demand gratitude for every gift we give, and we demand some return for our generosity, some appreciation, some little material token of esteem from those we claim to love.

Gift giving can be a real joy when it springs from a genuine desire to do a thoughtful act of kindness for another. I still remember the fun we had shopping for our first Christmas as newlyweds (well engaged, we married the day after). We did it all at Pier 1 which was then a new store, and much less expensive, and more unique, than it is today. Except for the pet turtle for BIL. We were totally broke and still managed to find something for everyone, selected with that individual in mind, and probably spent $20 total.

Other lean Christmases we have "good deed-doers day"--wash someone's car, shovel their walk, clean windows, done household repairs, repaired bicycles, all kinds of things. For DS we restock his apartment with staples, paper products, things to bulky and heavy to carry on the bus, and also do this for an elderly relative. We have passed that task on to a grandchild who is also in a tight financial situation. He goes in and totally cleans the homes of the elderly relatives who live in his town. A neighbor in our trailer park cuts grass for those who can't do it themselves.

[/quote]

This is an older post but it appears to be the most insightful thing I've read about Christmas and gift-giving in a long time. I have both been guilty of this behavior (giving things with strings attached) and been the recipient of it, and neither time it felt good.

There are times when I've wanted to - not just encourage an interest in someone that I think they will like, but give based on what I want them to do or b/c I want them to think well of me. And I've had other people do that to me and not just about Christmas, but in terms of gift-giving in general. And that includes non-material gifts, such as expectations for the other person in a relationship, not just romantic ones. Everyone has expectations of the other person and sometimes they are reasonable and other times, not.

Sometimes the gift (of money, things, time, or approval) has come with so many strings attached that I've felt worse taking advantage of it than I did without it, b/c I worried about not living up to what I felt was expected. I have tried not to do this with other people but I can't say I've always succeeded.

Sometimes it's been easier to refuse the gift if it seems like taking it will cause strain. I was offered money for medical care at one point and the offer was genuine but the other person, who was not a close family member, seemed to have a need to see me a certain way and approve of me. I got the impression that although he really meant what he said, he would rather I not need the money, b/c he had a hard time with the idea that I might not be doing well, although he knew I was going to have a lot of medical expenses.

I could be wrong about what I remember, but I've chosen to keep the memory of this person's limited support of me, which was emotional and not financial, and not ask for money which might lower his opinion of me, b/c the memory of his approval has been important.

I think people do this to each other all the time and Christmas is a major time when this happens, not for everyone, but to a lot of people. The idea is that the gift-giver is trying to live out his or her dreams through you, rather than accepting the life you have yourself. This can range from gifts that are a bit out of touch to things that are really inappropriate, like giving a kitten to someone who hates cats, b/c you think cats are cute and the person should get over their dislike.

I like the suggestions for giving when people don't have much money.


#29

Ours will be giftless, at least on our end, same as last year. We agreed that only the kids, under 18 get gifts.
We’ve substituted by having more religious things during Christmas, such as farolitos (paper lanterns with lights inside) lining our walkway so that Jesus could find our house on Christmas eve as well as other things such as lighting of the Christmas Candle, use of nativities(only put baby Jesus in on Christmas day, introduce piece by piece throughout advent and Christmas).


#30

Find a killer recipe, and cook/bake something really great. People always love food, and the thought that you put into the meal at Christmas.


#31

I am going to send everyone email cards on this great Catholic greetings site I found that is free. It is absolutely wonderful. I have nothing so I hope they understand.


#32

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