'Tis (almost) the Season

By: Melanie 

I have been thinking about Christmas a lot these past few weeks. Mostly since the budget came down. I mean, there's just not much room under the new regime for an all out cash-throwing splurge in a couple of months. Sure, we're saving a bit each month, but I think the point of that is to actually keep it in the bank and let it pile up a little for, you know, emergencies or something. And even if I save up the weekly allotment for Clothing & Gifts for the whole month of December, we're barely stuffing stockings.

Hmm. Time to get creative.

Every year I say that I'm going to spend less and be creative for Christmas. I say that we're going to focus on the meaning and spirit of Christmas and not be swayed by the pull of stores that are open until midnight offering pre-boxing-week blowouts and by the dreamy magazine ads showcasing the latest and greatest must-have baubles. The main problems I run into each year are as follows:

1. Everyone has received that "homemade" gift that just stunk to high heaven of tacky and couldn't be tossed in fear of the inevitable gift-giver's visit and inquiry into its current location. I don't want to be that gift-giver.

2. Not everyone will share my lofty ideals, and may feel disappointed or jilted by my meager offerings. Now I realize that most of the people I consort with do not tend to be the overly materialistic type, but one likes to feel generous, especially at this time of year.

3. I'm just not very crafty. And when a not-very-crafty person tries to get crafty for Christmas, well, that just leads back into #1.

And, of course, you can't skimp on the kid. The pictures will serve as proof that you deprived your baby on the grandest of holidays, and they can hold that over your head for years. So, I have a plan. At least the start of a plan.

I am selling all of the toys that Elle no longer uses. Brooklyn is a hotbed on the secondhand market, and this morning I listed my wares on my local parents online group. Whatever I make from the sale I will use to buy Elle's Christmas gifts. So far I've made $15 and it has only been two hours. I'm shooting for $100. She's still young enough that, while she understands the concept of gifts, she doesn't really have any great demands yet. Plus, there are always grandparents and other generous benefactors. I'm sure she'll make out like a bandit.

As for the rest of my recipients this year, I hope that you all realize how genuinely I appreciate you and how much I wish that I could take each and every one of you to Tiffany's and say "Pick one!" But, until that happens, how do you feel about painted acorn ornaments???

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