Friday, April 8, 2011

Taking back Christmas

Summer is just about upon us (at least here in SoCal) and to me that usually means it's time to start thinking about making Christmas gifts. Well, for a couple of years now I have been making myself nuts thinking about who I want to knit for and what I want to make them, and I think it's time to change the paradigm a little.

There is this blog I've recently come to love called Zen Habits and the author makes his Case Against Buying Christmas Presents here, and I think it's full of a lot of good thoughts. I totally agree that Christmas has become so commercialized that it takes away our attention from what really matters and instead leaves us with a severe hangover, physically and in our bank accounts. And worse, we know it too. How many articles and blog posts pop up about "reclaiming the holiday season" every fall/winter? A lot. Everyone's got their spin on how to put the Christmas back into Christmas.

Not to mention, the concept of "supposed to" gifting makes everyone a little batty. A few years ago my ex-boyfriend-now-best-friend Tim got a new mattress. My mom decided to get him a set of sheets for the new bed, and while nice sheets are not exactly inexpensive, she and I were able to find a set for $40 with some coupons. But $40 was more than my mom had wanted to spend on Tim's present. My mom is very conservative with her money, which is not a bad thing. It turned into a bad thing when she experienced so much buyer's remorse that she tried to bully me into doing housework to "pay off" part of the cost of the sheets. This wouldn't be a problem if that was what we originally agreed upon, but it wasn't, this was her gift to him and suddenly it was a source of major contention. I told her that if she does not have money to get gifts for my friends, then don't do it. This is just one incident where tons of drama has occurred because someone felt they "had to" give a present. We give ourselves such stress over what we're "supposed to" do, and often spend more money than we'd planned on trying to meet some crazy standard.

I want my friends and family to know that I love them, and not just at the end of the year, but all year round too. So I'm not going to do Christmas gifts anymore. Instead I want to spend more quality time with my friends, really jump in and give a hand where it's needed, and really show my friends just how much they mean to me on a daily basis. I still want to knit them presents, but instead of focusing on one time of year, I want my gifts to be more spontaneous, more surprising, given out of a moment of love, not as a semi-forced tradition. Just the other day I when I gave Kay the bag I had made for her, the smile on her face because someone had done something for her for no particular reason was the best thing of my whole day.

So instead of making a Christmas list this year, I'm going to make a Love List - all the people I love in my life and ideas for how to shower love on them year-round. And I think when it actually gets to be Christmas time, instead of stressing over gifts, I'll keep it simple; something like home-made cookies and cards to celebrate the season. And I'll be encouraging everyone, my friends, my family, and any readers here to do the same; to stop worrying about all the "supposed to's" of the holiday season and gift giving, and to instead focus on giving love all year.


  1. I think cookies are very nice. I would love to get cookies for christmas.

  2. That's a good idea altho, I have to say I've cut down on the expenses of Christmas gifts starting last year. Christmas was so stressful for me b/c I wanted to knit everyone something and at the same time, someone a b-day gift or a baby gift. I would be knitting down to the wire and end up feeling it was a job and not fun.