OH i USED TO, have huge list, ohmidawg, it was getting crazy!
And the size of the gifts, too, was increasing, year by year.
both my and my sweetie both have huge families, and we TRIED a gift-exchange, the year before,
most of the relatives and inlaws have kids,
so, the parents who had 4 kids, still had to come up with 6 gifts, see, (cuz the kids names were all put into the hat, too, so the kids all had to give a gift, too)
while the single person, only had to cough up money for one gift.
it was kinda lopsided, imo.
A few years ago, i sat everyone down, and announced, "I can not financially afford to give gifts this year. I love you, i love the holidays, but, i can't be making payments til April to prove my love to you. I also can't accept gifts FROM you, since i would feel terrible, being unable to reciprocate, so this year, i am not doing gifts, period. I still plan to throw my annual "Lasagne Party", and still hope everyone comes to it,
but, THAT will be all i am spending money on. I am so sorry, but, we are broke. This doesn't mean i love you any less, at all."
(i still buy gifts for my sweetie, and my very very best friends, but, that is it. and even those gifts, have been turned way way down, from tons of gifts, to just one gift, and 2 or 3 gifts for my adult kids)
some were relieved,
cuz they were like me.
some were upset,
cuz they are really really into shopping, gifts, etc, said "it wont' really be christmas without gift sharing." I pointed out, that THEY could all still shop for each other, just scratch ME off the list.
one or two, didn't go along with it, not that first year. but, they all 'get it' now.
I still bake and pass plates of treats to relatives and outer-circle pals, neighbors, etc, but, that's all, just baked goods. Takes me one (1) afternoon to do the baking, (less time than shopping
) and it's a tradition, we make same exact cookies every year for decades, and play same holiday movie while we do. We always decorate up the dollar-store baskets, or red&green plates, trim them with candy canes or bows, trim the containers up very nicely, looks so so pretty when we are done.
so, that's what i did. AHhhhh, so so much nicer,
this removed 85% of the stress outa the holiday. NOW i can focus on what i really want to focus on this time of year-------enjoying family, finding ways to show love, being together and having FUN, enjoying the scenes of the season and our own family traditions that we've always done, making memories, just being together, and strengthening the bonds we have. To ME, that is what the season is all about,
but, i'm an atheist, so maybe that's why the $hopping was easier to let go of, who knows. But i love most of the traditions that we do year after year, the family times, the Festivus for the Rest of Us, the partying, the merry-making, the memories, the whole thing, love it. I am the one in my huge family,
that throws a big open house holiday party in my home, for all relatives and pals,
to come and party together. If i didn't throw it, some relatives wouldn't even see each other all year long! People travel pretty far to get to this party, which is never right on Dec 25th,
but instead, some other weekend, so more ppl CAN get to it.
oh yeah, i love holidays!!
just can't afford to go into hock over it anymore, but, still kept the parts i DO like.
PS----anyone who feels it is hypocritical for an atheist to celebrate the winter holiday, feel free to private msg me, and i'll explain the origins of the holiday to you, and what i am actually celebrating. Peace out!