Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Least Favorite Things

I love this idea for a blog carnival! There are so many sites out there with (great) gift ideas and tips for buying the perfect item for every person on your list. I think Sarah came up with a unique, wonderful way to help with our shopping experiences though - because I know I've certainly gotten some gifts that weren't exactly, um, appreciated. And although I always know that it's "the thought that counts", sometimes that's just not quite enough.

At my previous job, part of the annual Christmas party was a gift exchange. Everyone brought a wrapped gift and then drew numbers - you know the deal. Presents could be 'stolen' from someone else a total of 3 times (after they were unwrapped). Generally most people brought some type of alcohol. Not being drinkers, Ron and I always tried our best to avoid those - at least the obvious ones. The first year that we went, I opened up a $25 gift card to Starbucks. Awesome gift - for someone else, since I don't happen to drink coffee. I was lucky - someone did take it. So back up to the tree again and this time I came away with - a page-a-day calendar that well let's just say wasn't dealing with my favorite topic. I couldn't get anyone to steal that from me no matter how hard I tried. But - thankfully, someone who'd already gone earlier in the evening did want it, so after the gift frenzy was over, we quietly traded and I went home with the item that I had actually brought - a 3-pack of holiday photo frame ornaments that I'd been tempted to keep anyway. :)

Other gifts I've gotten (and I'm not saying from who!) that have definitely been 'least' favorites include cheap kitchenware, tacky or overstated Christmas decorations, and pretty much every single gift that my former step-mother ever gave me. For 10 years, she bought what she thought a young, single woman would like - and she and I had completely opposite tastes. She didn't have much better luck buying for my brother (even when he dropped not-so-subtle hints about what he wanted/needed). During those years, our holiday traditions included the annual 'returning' trip to the store to return or exchange some or all of what we'd gotten from her. If she'd even made an effort to get to know us better or find out what we wanted, I would have maybe at least felt a little guilty. I figured though that if she was going to spend the money, we may as well end up with something that we were at least going to use and like, even if it wasn't exactly what she'd picked out and bought.

Nowadays, I don't worry as much about what I get for Christmas. This year I won't get anything from Ron or my mom and that's fine. I got more than enough for my birthday from Ron and we can't afford to buy for each other for Christmas anyway. And my mom's finances are tight, which is mostly our fault, so I feel horrible about that. As long as the kids' faces are lit up on Christmas morning - that's the best gift I could ever ask for. :)

Head over to Real Life and check out other 'least favorite' things!

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6 wonderful people said...:

Sarah said...

It's neat how just seeing your kids getting gifts is way better than getting them used to be!

Most of the time, when I play those Christmas gift games, I'd rather just leave with what I brought!

Mommy Cracked said...

I totally agree. I think Christmas is more for the kids anyway and I wish our family would do away with gift-swapping. And yeah...the tacky Christmas decorations ain't on the top of my list, either! LOL!

Karen (Pediascribe) said...

It's sort of funny, over the 16 yrs of marriage we've grown MUCH closer to Mike's dad's side of the family and have grown farther apart (both in distance and general) from his mom. So now the presents we get from his dad's side are perfect and they actually ASK what we want. And his mom buys us things we do not want or even care for.

missbecky75 said...

I couldn't agree more! Christmas smiles from kids are what makes it the best. You might like to check out www.unplugyourkids.blogspot.com - Mom Unplugged is doing a Christmas series and part of it is "What Christmas Means to You". It sounds like in the last paragraph you were going there. The series has really made me think about what I want to teach my children about Christmas (that it isn't just about presents and such). Anyway, just thought I'd mention it! :)

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life

lynnae @ from under the clutter said...

Yep, there's nothing like seeing your children's faces light up on Christmas morning!

And I hate those white elephant gift exchanges. I always end up with the worst stuff!

soleil said...

It really pays to buy something you like, you might end up getting it. You are right, Christmas is for kids, I'd also do anything to see my child happy on Christmas Day.