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?