Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

After participating in a few discussions lately, I've come to the conclusion that during the holidays, other people are raking in the presents. This isn't happening in our house.

I spoke with one woman who had a list of thirty people to purchase gifts for. Presumably, that means she is receiving thirty gifts back. Okay, let's exclude the kids... twenty gifts. The last time I received twenty gifts for any single occasion, I was getting married. Before that, I was twelve.

Our Christmas list is like a Cliff's Notes for present buying. Very short. We buy for the kid, our parents, our neice. If we're going to be in eyesight of our sisters and their respective spouses/significant others, we'll toss in a Gap sweater for them, too. Everyone else gets a Christmas card.

We send out a lot of Christmas cards.

I am beginning to wonder if we are missing the boat; if there are households of people out there who are snickering about the miserable Annapolady family and their bah humbug attitude toward the practice of giving presents. If they begrudge our decision to spend as little time as possible in overpacked malls, fighting over the last digital oven thermometer so we can bestow a gift on old Aunt Rose. If old Aunt Rose is kind of pissed that we've passed the first anniversary of her acquaintance years ago, but she is still receiving just a paper card on December 25th.

Or shortly after.

It's something to ponder. My Christmas shopping is generally completed on or about December 23rd, in under three hours. An alarming percentage of the presents we buy are available at TJMaxx. I spend more time obsessing over the selection of the perfect holiday card than I do presents for our parents (which, this year, will be gift cards to stores they need items from in 2007).

And our haul will be relatively small as well. My son, from his parents and  grandparents, could easily justify renting a storage facility to house the presents he receives, but we are quite content to write thank you notes for the small treasures given directly to us. The adults in our families don't typically exchange presents of much magnitude.

One year, my mother gave each of us exactly one towel. It was a big, soft, good quality towel, though. We were happy to enhance the set with more towels we purchased ourselves, but lately I am wondering if we should rethink our strategy. Buy more gifts for people this year, and then tally the results in next year's load. Why shop for ourselves when we can spend days agonizing over what to buy for someone whose tastes we know little about, in hopes that they, too, will attempt to buy us a present we'd remotely find attractive?

After all, that's what return receipts are for, right?

No comments: