Christmas Shopping, Christmas Gifts...What Do You Do?

We've passed Remembrance Day and American Thanksgiving so my thoughts turn to Christmas shopping. My extended family does not exchange many gifts these days. All of our family members are able to buy almost anything that they want. It seems a waste to buy items that are opened under the Christmas tree to be quickly forgotten or  to remain unused.

It has not always been this way. I remember, thirty years ago, when I had my first teaching job. I was a single mother of a 13 year old. I was paid on the 15th and the 30th of the month and wrote my cheques (!!!) accordingly. Imagine my surprise when the 15th of December came and I had no money in the bank. No one had told me that in December, there was only one pay cheque on the last day of school (December 22!!!) I remember phoning the school board office from a pay phone and crying. I felt so alone.

I enjoy buying gifts for friends when I travel. I chose three different coloured scarves from a vendor in Paris for some friends. I'll often buy a regional cookbook for my "foodie friend." I didn't have extra money when my daughter was a teen but now I love to contribute a bit of cash to buy her a special item of clothing or jewelry. She's coming with Monsieur and me for a sunny Christmas vacation.
Monsieur really doesn't ever want anything. He usually buys musical or audio equipment. I buy him clothes but it's more for me than it is for him. I buy socks and underwear to donate at church for the Downtown Eastside people. I always wonder how homeless and shelter people wash their clothes.

I dusted and changed my coffee table vignette to winter bird and candles. In December, I'll put out the nativity scene and change my door wreath. I've passed on a lot of decorations to my daughter who invites a friend over to decorate and to watch the Grey Cup.

Do you exchange gifts? Draw names? Hang stockings? Make donations?


  1. In our family we give each other gift lists so that one can give something that is wanted or needed. But this year we are doing something different. Gifts are to be handmade. I am thrilled with this as it eliminates most of the shopping. I've been working on things for a couple of months and am seeing lots of progress. For the son and son-in-laws, my husband smoked salmon and is making serving boards to go along with it. I'm sewing rag quilts for the grandchildren and we're making marshmallow shooters for them. For the daughters/daughter-in-law I'm making kimono cardigans. I'll buy for my parents and my husband, but that's about it.
    Our church offers opportunities to help those less fortunate, so I'm filling a bag for a homeless youth, and some other things.
    Going to a sunny locale with Monsieur and your daughter sounds lovely.

    1. The handmade or personal service option is a way of avoiding unwanted/unneeded gifts. We fill bags with toiletries and underwear for the homeless and for the women's transition house.

  2. How I can relate to your story of the one paycheck in December. My school district paid us once a month. We got our December check on the last day before our Christmas holiday began and then didn't get paid again until the last day of January. Oh, those were lean days for this single mama. This year, my two daughters and I have agreed to give only to the babies in the family...each daughter has a daughter of her own, so my granddaughters will be the our focus.

    I am doing another Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone post on 11.30.2018 and would love to have you link up with me. I send out emails with the link-up codes, if you are interested in joining me, please plan to link-up and if you like, email me and I will send you the link-up codes to add to your post. My email address is: Thanks! Leslie @


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