Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year....or is it?

That's what they say in a song. But I think it is a load. I hate the weather this time of year. So that is not wonderful by any means. I hate the crowds everywhere this time of that would be anti wonderful in my book.
I will tell you what I find wonderful this time of year. I get 2 weeks PAID Holiday Vacation from work. Hell Yes. I am so extra glad because I havent had a break from work since June. I also am happy with the fact that I helped my husbands aunt do about 98% of her Christmas shopping. She has been sick with cancer since May, and doing much better now, but still not herself. She has two teenage daughters and a huge extended family full of kids - so needless to say that Christmas is still very much a big deal to her. I was so glad to help. I got to shop for presents....with someone else's money. How cool is that. It especially was fun since this year Jeff and I are not really doing a huge Christmas when it comes to gifts for others. This is due to two main reasons.
The first being, we are trying to save our money as best we can for a house soon. Plus we have some bigger expenses in 2009 to look forward to and prepare for. So, instead of going over board like I do every year on gifts - I am practicing self control and not going over board. It is especially hard when it comes to my sisters. I usually spend 100 plus on both of them. I LOVE being an older sister and i LOVE to spoil my sisters. This year, we decided to draw names in my immediate family. Normally, we all get one another a present or two each. There are 7 people in my family. That sure adds up fast. So only buying for one is a HUGE cutback. But everyone liked the idea since it saves everyone money. Now my dad still gives us all money, but the rest of us just drew names. So now I have one name to shop for instead of 2(one from jeff and one from me) presents x 5 people. That roughly is about a 400+ savings right there. I drew my mother...easiest person to shop for. I got her some hippie fun shit from 3rd planet and then a 12 pack of beer. Trust me, its the best gift and she will LOVE it (esp. the beer). Now, this year Jeff and I opted out of our big extended family Christmases. That equals 4 presents @ approx 50$ a piece and then we save 200 bucks right there. And we also cut down on the random gifts we get for our closest friends or cousins. This brings me into the second part of why we scaled down this year. Since I could remember, I always spend a lot of time, money and thought into gifts for others. I am not a "gift card" giving person, unless it is for a couple with young kid or kids and they need a date....OR if its a way to get them out and we agree to go out as a group. But anyways, last year is the most recent to think of, we end up spending a lot of time, money and thought into gifts and usually receive a crap gift or nothing at all in return. This really irritates me. I mean, how crappy is it to receive a random gift from someone that was off the clearance rack when you spent time and thought and got them gifts that actually catered to that person. Not just a random purchase. I know I know "its the thought that counts" but that doesnt apply to every gift giving or receiving experience. And on that note, that doesnt have to be a way to put a positive spin on shit, because what if the thought was mindless, cheap, and inconsiderate....yep that counts...counts against them. But last night we had Christmas Eve with my family and it was a great time. Probably one of the best in awhile. One, becuase I had a whole bottle of champagne at my side and drank the majority of it and was tipsy. Two, becuase I opted out of the gift exchange, but still exchanged with my two closest cousins. It was very nice. Plus my aunt and uncle were extremely generous with their gift to us and so was my Grandfather (as usual he is the sweetest person I know). I think I had so much fun because I avoided my own disappointment and the hurt feelings PLUS the champagne was very nice. That is something I am very much looking forward to at our next family gathering on Saturday. I guess its something like "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me" and I will not be fooled least this year. I thought cutting back and not buying a lot of gifts for others would be hard. It was hard at first, but not as bad as I expected. But for the most part it was nice. Less stress and happier. Now I will take that any day. I better get going, it is time for Christmas Mass with mi familia and then presents and brunch. THEN off to Jeff's parents to open more gifts and eat more food. Merry Christmas to all!!

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