Today I will be making the Christmas gift list for my husband's family. We used to draw names, but then the family started to get so large and people weren't always in the same place at one time that I was elected to do this because I mentioned that you could just throw the names in Excel and use the random number generator and create a list of givers and recipients.
I don't know if my husband's family really believes I do this random number deal and that it's all legit. Some have complained that they got the same person as last year. Well, there are only about 15 people in the list and there are restrictions placed on who can buy for who (parents can't get their own kids, kids their own parents, so with only four different families, the actual number of people any one person can get is very limited.)
Parents still buy gifts for their kids and kids for the parents, but back before the family got sooooo large (sarcasm folks, this is a very small family compared to mine) everyone bought gifts for everyone else. Huge expenditure. Finally, practicality and reason set in and the name drawing scenario reared its ugly head. We now get a name and have to buy that person a $35 gift. In some families, they have a limit of $10 and it has to be a NON-practical gift. The limit had been $25, but people complained they couldn't buy a nice gift for such a measly amount.
However, everyone was still expected to by my nephews gifts. The amount of presents they received at Christmas (from everyone!) was obscene. Literally, a mound of presents sat in the middle of the room just for my nephews to devour.
It is happening with my own kids. I have put limits on things and asked that people buy the kids books and other items we need for homeschooling, but still this materialism is rampant. Actually, in this family materialism substitutes for love in many ways. The grandparents want to show everyone they are loved by buying everyone gifts they cannot afford, gifts that are charged on their credit card and don't get paid off for years.
As much as it irritates me that they do this, it would irritate me if they didn't. What an odd Catch-22. I don't expect big expensive presents for my kids, but I do expect a present. When did this happen to me? It's a case of they bought my nephews huge, massive, expensive and obscene presents and they better at least get my kids something. Not a big something, but something. Maybe I do sense that their giving is a form of love because they are kind of emotionally distant and disconnected otherwise.
For Christmas I want this idea to disappear. I was raised in a big family. Our grandparents (mom's side) were wonderful and showered us with love, but they didn't buy us gifts outside of one at Christmas. I used to have to thank my grandmother on my dad's side for the two dollars she sent me at Christmas, one for my birthday and one for my Christmas gift. I don't want my kids to become materialistic OR to have any expectations of others that I seem to have been infected with lately.
Maybe, this year, I should find an old antique copy of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, my most all-time favorite book, and give that as my present to whomever I am expected to buy a present for.
Hopefully, they will read it and regift it to someone, and gradually less materialism will surround Christmas.
I need some serious mid-week input from you...
4 hours ago