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Is It Really All About The Benjamins?


What the…? Holy wha..?


Holy pajamas, Internet, it completely snuck up on me. Which is exceptionally odd considering the vast amount of work I’ve personally had to put into preparing for it each and every damned day.

My own personal goal that I set many, many years ago was to have most of my Christmas shopping completed by the beginning of December so that I don’t have to brave all of the tin-foil hatted folks trapsing about town. Then I can shop leisurely and without being bumped from behind and/or getting dirty looks from people who want me to move the fcuk over.

I may be competitive in some aspects of my life (read: most) but shopping is not one of those aspects. Every year in my hometown, one of the hugemongeous Catholic churches puts on a barn sale, where you can get awesome stuff at cheap assed prices (gotta love living in a rich town). I used to go, until I got sick and tired of women with three teeth who think that fanny packs are still a great accessory trying to mow me down to get to the vinyl warm-up jackets (trust me, I have NO interest in these).

This year was the start of attempting to start Christmas shopping prior to Christmas Eve, and I will say that we were moderately successful, in some regards. My uncle (who I promise, you wish were YOUR uncle) has a history of giving extremely bizarre gifts (one year my sister-in-law got a real disco ball. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH AUNT BECKY WAS DRIPPING WITH ENVY, INTERNET? AUNT BECKY WOULD *LOVE* A DISCO BALL OF HER OWN. *ahem*), so over the summer we picked him up a book called “Outhouses: Pictures and Contemplations.” Comedy fcuking gold, that one is.

By the beginning of December, we had most of our shopping done. We rejoyced, sang a song, danced a jig, until it dawned upon us: Alex had almost nothing to open that he could actually play with. Ditto with Ben. We had picked up some toys on clearance to be played with outside, like a slip-n-slide, which, since there is about a foot of snow on the ground, is obviously going to have to wait. So reluctantly, I trudged out last weekend and blew some more cash on the kids (before you tell me that it’s stupid to buy a baby toys, let me remind you that he may very well be my last baby, so I intend to spoil him in the ways I see fit.).

I came home, wrapped them the following day, when Dave mentioned that he felt sorry for his parents, who had very little to open.

(backstory here: Dave’s parents began joining into my families Christmas celebration three years ago. For some odd reason, the gift exchanging never progressed past my immediate family and his parents. My family doesn’t buy them anything, nor do they buy my family anything. Obviously, this needs to change if Dave’s parents are going to continue to come celebrate with us, but I have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER how to broach that subject politely.)

As an unspoken rule, the greatest part of our Christmas budget goes towards our children and each other. My parents have literally everything in the world that they would want or need, and when pressed for gift ideas for them, they typically shrug, gesture modestly at their house, and say “You know. Whatever.” If I am judgemental (I am, no doubts here), my mother is more so. If I got her something she 1) wouldn’t want or 2) wouldn’t need, like a glass figurine or something, she’d likely mock me. This is how my family rolls: we all mock each other mercilessly, anything is fair game. I ended up buying her a travel coffee mug with a picture of the caffiene molecule on it. Try to hold onto your pants, Internet, as I know just how exciting that must be to read. Not nearly as exciting as it was to buy.

Dave’s parents are equally challenging to buy for. Like my parents, they have pretty much anything they’ll ever want or need (and anything they want but do not have is far too rich for my budget), and they’re old enough that there is nothing to buy for them that is any fun whatsoever. I ended up buying my mother-in-law an ugly candle set: three different colored purple and orange candles (hate, hate, HATE orange) with a bag of beads to be placed in a large-ish plate. It’s decoration, no doubt, but nowhere NEAR as awesome as what I had initally picked out for her (Dave eschewed it as “too modern” and “funky” for her. My feelings, they were hurt.). Dave’s father got a video card for his computer.

It was as boring for me to type this (my fingers were so bored that they nearly fell asleep) as it was to buy it.

But now, since we have all this time to look over our significant pile ‘o’ gifts we’ve both realized that we’ve spent way, way, way more time and money in selecting gifts for ourselves and our children. We’re not greedy people, by any stretch of the imagination, but this is the one time of year that we really spoil ourselves. Last year, just for comparison’s sake, we asked for baby stuff. You know, the highchair, the swing, etc, etc, so we didn’t get much that was strictly FOR US.

However, now I feel ashamed.

(note to the reader: some of the gifts that are under the tree were bought with AmEx points, which we here at Casa de la Sauage call “funny money.” It’s good stuff, no doubt, but it’s the sort of things that we would not actually buy for ourselves had it not been “free.” The other portion is bought with Bonus Money (Dave’s Annual Bonus coincides neatly with Christmas) and although we could just give each other these gifts outside of Christmas, I HAVE ALREADY WRAPPED THEM LOVINGLY AND WILL NOT BE DISSUADED TO OPEN THEM AT ANOTHER TIME.)

It’s mainly because we have all of this time to examine our gifts that we’ve noticed this discrepency. So I suppose that the answer IS NOT to start shopping early, because it only tends to make us want to buy more stuff for everyone as the date approaches.

Today, I am debating. Should I go out and pick up a couple more things for my in-laws and my mother (I got my dad a DVD that I know he’ll dig. I can always shop for him, because it’s like shopping for myself. My dad and I are very much alike), or should I just go with the “they’re older and don’t want anything” route?

I mean, it’s not like these people are my children or someone else’s children that I am shortchanging (my kids are the only kids in the family. I am honestly NOT Aunt Becky, and it KILLS me. I WANT TO BEEEE AUNT BECKY!), because I feel like Christmas IS about the kids more than the adults.

What do you think I should do? Am I an asshole for not going balls to the wall and crazy with the cheese-whiz for these people (my mother included)? What would you do if you were me (keep in mind that I have zero desire to go out this weekend and try to do any last minute shopping)?

posted under Cheaper Than Rehab
6 Comments to

“Is It Really All About The Benjamins?”

  1. On December 21st, 2007 at 1:31 pm Stefanie Says:

    I added you to my sidebar for the fannypack diss.

  2. On December 21st, 2007 at 1:31 pm Melissa C Says:

    Child labour. Seriously! Kidlets need to make Grandma & Gramps some funky Christmas art!

    Then… get to the grocery store and get some hot chocolate/tea/coffee stuff, perhaps visit the liquor store for a little bottle of something fun to put in their drink of choice. Stuff it all in a Christmas cookie tin and call it a day! Cheap, practical, easy with minimal shopping required (& added bonus… they don’t have a pile of knick-knacky crap to have to store!)

  3. On December 21st, 2007 at 3:01 pm Gail Says:

    I’m in agreement on the food gifts. Hot chocolate and some cut-out cookies decorated by the Benner. Also, give the kid some construction paper, glitter and assorted crap like that, and have him make them something.

    PS – I have a disco ball. When Gabriel is in the mood to “Dance with the Stars” (since he just hears those words on the radio and is not permitted to watch television, so he doesn’t actually know what it means) we hang it in his room, turn off the lights, and get it spinning. Then I train a highpowered flashlight on it and we dance like fools. I used to have one of those coolrageous color-changing rotating lights that I picked up at a garage sale, but sadly, it caught fire.

  4. On December 21st, 2007 at 3:02 pm Emily R Says:

    OK, if I am laughing this hard, you DEFINITELY need to be added to my Google reader…

    Get them a charitable donation. It is another “gift” without worrying about having to find something they like.

  5. On December 21st, 2007 at 5:27 pm Jenn Says:

    We buy a lot more for ourselves and for our kids than we do for my mom or my in-laws. We’re pretty much in the same boat – they have anything they need and if they ever want anything, then they just go buy it. If a person isn’t going to give me ideas or they are picky or something, then I cannot be blamed if I can’t buy for them easily!

    BUT if you do want to get them something more than anything with the kids’ photo on it is usual as good as pure gold in the grandparents’ eyes. Or anything the kids have made themselves – things with handprints or whatever.

  6. On December 22nd, 2007 at 3:04 am Lindz Says:

    I would do some last minute shopping, I am the bigh last minute shopper,I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, walgreens 24 hrs, this time of year, and also when my son is severely sick and we need to get a prescription filled..etc..
    I would say go for a nice photo album, or even mini brag books for gram, and gramps, so they can have more than just one picture in there wallets to show the friends, neighbors, etc.

    shit IM cheap, but SENTIMENTAL.

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