Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bah Humbug

I've started a little decorating for Christmas in my studio. I got this tree last year at a thrift shop and saw a similar one in the Pottery Barn catalogue for $149.  I think I paid $2 or $3 for it!

I've filled a bowl with red apple garlands and wooden beads.

Got out my favorite snow globe that plays Silent Night.

Put a red cloth on the table and gathered a few cardinals from another room.

I like making our home look festive for Christmas.  Like many of you, I enjoy fussing with the house all year round, so there's no presssure to make it look more special at Christmas.  It's starting to look festive, but really at Christmas I often don't feel festive.  I feel like Scrooge.
Do you have time for a cup of tea while I tell you my story?   . 

  I don't like shopping and am not good at it. So I get in a panic every Christmas. I don't have a clue what to buy and often when I ask, my kids don't have a suggestion because they are able to buy whatever they need!  I am great at shopping yard sales and thrift shops, but their tastes run more to Pottery Barn and Gap.  In the past I have given up trying to buy gifts and just give them money and I feel guilty because it is so impersonal. 
Now we have grandchildren and you'd think it would be a delight to shop for them, but I still wander around the stores , not knowing what to buy.  I really don't have to buy very many presents.  Even so, I get in a panic.   I want to avoid the whole present thing and then I feel like Scrooge.
We all have so much in this country and none of us need anything and our family is no exception.  This year with the economy being the way it is and jobs aren't secure I feel the pressure even more.  

Is there anyone else out there like me? 

This year  instead of presents under the tree for our adult children,  there will be some families in Africa getting some goats and chickens. Now that kind of shoppping I can do!

Happy birthday to our oldest son, John who is 34 today.  He is an amazing son, husband and dad and we are so proud of the man he has become.  Happy birthday John.  We love you.

Rhondi xo


  1. I am so like you this year! We are feeling the same...I hate to get in the crowds and then I don't know what to buy.
    I lost my 29 year old daughter in July and this Christmas is so hard for me without her. I made rememberance ornaments of her to give to family and friends and that is going to be about all I am doing this year.
    Blessings & Hugs

  2. Over here, Rhondi, I'm waving my hand and shouting 'yes, yes!'
    I've made a few things, but when it comes to choosing store bought gifts, I find it a real challenge.
    Love your Christmassy bits and pieces!

  3. Hi Rhondi, I love your red and white quilt-------cottonreel

  4. Hi Rhondi...

    I know what you mean...but Tom and I only exchange 1 gift with each other and send a small something to my sister, neice and my son. I love to fuss with decorations, but since I hurt my hand and wrist a couple of weeks ago, I have all I can do to even type on the puter!! So...I don't know how decorated we'll get!!

    For the past 3 years, it seems the Lord has put a family in need in front of us...and we've tried to help out as much as we can. Three years ago, it was a family of mom, dad and baby...who got burned out of their home. We read about the local fire in the paper on Christmas Eve day...and immediately, I remembered all of the baby clothes we'd picked up (FREE and in NEW condition) at a Garage Sale in the summer...plus other things. We were miraculously able to get in touch with them and took these needful things to them. It's been that way every Christmas since.

    Perhaps you could, as a family, find a needy family to help. I tell you...it does so much good...not only for them...but for us as well.

    ~Warm Regards,

  5. I think you just described me. And by the way, my oldest daughter turned 35 on Saturday. I hate shopping, unless it is at a junk shop or antique mall. Or a garden nursery. So my daughters, both grown, and I decided last year that hey, we buy what we want for ourselves when we want it normally, so why continue this. Trading money, is what I call it. So we don't do it anymore for Christmas or birthdays. As for the two little grandkids, I usually end up sending my daughter money. For they get so much from their grandparents next door, it seems ridiculous to add to the pile. So I send her money, she lets them choose one thing, and puts the rest in their savings accounts. Throughout the year, if I see something I think someone would really like, I'll be spontaneous and order it for them as a surprise. Christmas presents lack the surprise factor. I hate shopping malls with a passion, and avoid them like the plague. It depresses me actually. To see young kids with cell phones and gabbing away and not paying attention to the company they're with. Not for me. I want the solitude of my home and my gardens and pets. So that's my Christmas bah-humbug story. And I've vowed not to spend a penny on decorating my house for the holiday. If I don't already have it, it isn't getting made.

  6. Rhondi~~

    I get very confused at Christmas at all the ads and promotions being pushed at us. And I am feeling the same thing, we all have what we need. For my children, who are young adults, gift cards work well as they don't have items from me that need to be returned. And I like to pack 'care packages' for them, boxes of underwear, socks, toiletries and things they run out of last minute. I secretly think they love these packages the most!


  7. I'm with you - this year we are doing a thematic Christmas with the adults in our family - our theme is "A Warm and Fuzzy Christmas". Each adult buys one gift following the theme under $20 and we do a "naughty Santa" selection process on Christmas eve. This is our first attempt - if it doesn't work, we can always do something else. We are such consumers - we need to stop it! Our little kids will get gifts but it's not going to be "over the top" either. PAM

  8. You express so well what I feel! I understand completely. Giving to others in need, and focusing on the Baby Jesus and why He came and how that has impacted us and the world, are the important things for this time of year. I hope that all the pretties and lights just celebrate that and help us to slow down and focus a bit!

  9. Your studio is looking very festive Rhondi. I know what you mean. When my children were little and living at home, it was a joy to Christmas shop, because I knew they would love everything....

    Now as adults it is hard to buy for them. So last year we started not exchanging gifts with the adults. The grandchildren get gift certificates to their favorite stores. When the grandchildren turn 21, the gift certificates stop. We asked that our children not send us anything either and donate to their favorite charity instead.

    My husband and I don't exchange gifts...we plan trips or events to take later in the year.
    We do buy each other small stocking stuffers though - and they are always fun to shop for.

  10. I think our culture has turned gift giving into a chore. There is an expectation of being shown love through how much is spent. Luxury items that so many can't afford are the preferred gifts. This year I am stepping off that merry-go-round. It is hand made all the way. You aren't the only one who feels that we already have too much!

  11. Oh! So I'm not the only one who feels that way. And I might add that I feel so bad when the adult children buy gifts for me that just don't "fit." I know they love me without gifts. Being on opposite coasts, at some point along the way, they stopped sending gifts, and we began sending money. They were adding to their family and could use it, we reasoned. Now, however, they both have good jobs and lots of "stuff." We, on the other hand, are stressed and this year are not sending gits to the adults and only small gifts to the children. DH and I have not exchanged gifts for years... for the same reasons! :-) But I know he loves me! And he likewise! And I enjoy his bouquets fresh picked from our yard. :-)
    Today, I'm removing autumn from our decor. And re-thinking the holiday decor. Haven't put up our tree for several years. Maybe I'll do a scaled back tree this year. I have so many gorgeous antique and sentimental ornaments that I love, but it is tiring and time consuming to put them up. And. Take. Them. Down. I don't know. DH really loves a tree. I'm feeling like I should do it. We'll see. But most of all, I want time to savor the glad reason for all of the hoopla in the first place!
    Blessed Christmas to you!

  12. We always buy a goat or chicken for someone at Christmas. This year we are only buying for the grandkids, and the adults are doing a white elephant gift to pass around. My 34 year old son is single and one daughter is having a rough time with a husband unemployed for over 3 years now. The other daughter has a hubby with a good income but is a stay at home mom. so, we aren't spending any money this year, oh, and I was laid off in January and aren't working anymore....Christmas is a state of mind, not about presents....

  13. Rhondi, I think many of us feel the same way. I love to shop and buy gifts for friends, but I tend to do this when I see something that speaks of that person. I also like to shop when I travel is I see something that I think someone would like or appreciate. We don't give many gifts at Christmas, and the ones we give are simple. My husband and I fill each other's stockings. It makes it a bit like a game to find things that will fit in the stocking. I like the idea of sending a funds to provide animals for those in Africa. That is a wonderful program and we, too, have contributed to it.
    Thanks for the cup of tea. I always enjoy stopping by your blog.
    Hugs ~ Sarah

  14. We have simplified our giving---my kids put ideas on an Amazon gift list and it takes me ten minutes to do the shopping. We just get a couple of presents for the kids and grands. We have been supporting people in need here at home and abroad so I know what you are saying.

  15. Don't feel bad. You are anything but a Scrooge. You have such a warm and giving heart.

    I only have seven people to buy for, and even then we just don't buy too much.

    Our son always wants gift cards, and he helps me buy for our grandson.

    Things are beginning to look very festive at your home.

  16. Rhondi, I understand. I also have the same problem buying gifts for my parents, but we decided we would give gifts in honor of them like what you are talking about.
    I have thought about writing Christmas memories of my children in a journal for a gift. What do you think?
    Thank you for the cup of tea :)

  17. You have decked your halls beautifully.

    Great idea for a present, Rhondi. We give to a family member's charity of choice for birthdays.

    For Christmas, I like giving books. I found out my dad doesn't have a copy of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, so he's getting that this year.

  18. Rhondi, I hate the crowds at Christmas as well. I really do. I try to stay away from the shops as much as possible. I do buy gifts for each of my grandsons. I can't spend time with them during the year and so I like to do this for them if I can. Todd always grumbles abot posting them, but when I was a child I would have loved to get a package in the post and so I post away anyways!!! (despite the grumbles!) Love your holiday decorations. I don't have anything as lovely as that, but I do enjoy looking at yours!!

  19. Me too! I hate shopping and crowds and I'm so grinchy this year so we are only going to give to the grandkids and I hate the commercialism, it's about family for me. Last year we gave money to a foundation that gives the gift of sight in third world countries. $50 will give the gift of sight for each person. We asked the kids to do the same in lieu of a gift for us.
    I must say your decorating is full of the Christmas spirit and looks just lovely.

  20. My sweet mother in love told me Sunday that they really don't need anything for Christmas, but to make a donation somewhere. I think that is a great idea :-)


  21. Oh Rhondi, Don't feel alone. I am nearly always stressed at Christmas. I feel like there is a lot of pressure on me - expectations from others, but more likely myself. I like finding or making a perfect gift, but hate the legwork, the grumpy crowds, the traffic. The end of the semester is nearer to Christmas than every before. I knew this going in, so am trying to reshape how I look at it all. I am trying hard not to be stressed and trying to enjoy the holiday. Hang in there. The decorating looks beautiful. ~Kelly

    unDeniably Domestic

  22. Your Christmas decorating is very pretty - I love red. Your sentiments are right on and the goats and chickens gifting is a wonderful idea.

  23. I really know what you are talking about! I don't like to shop either (ok, shopping for fabric is differnt!). Our Christmas celebrations have become more about enjoying each other than opening presents. Since my grown children don't have extra money we don't exchange adult gifts. Now that the grandchildren are here we do buy them gifts but Mommy and Daddy have told us not to go overboard. I do love to decorate for the holidays and bake special things. Since that is what I enjoy, that is what I spend my energy on. I don't get bothered about the holidays now because I am doing the things I love. I really hate that Christmas has gotten so commercial with stores putting out their wares in October. I'm staying home and out of the stores. Your idea for money for charity is a wonderful idea.

  24. Hi, Rhondi,
    My feeling is, it's not MY birthday. Why should I get a present? :)



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