I think giveaways are so fun. But I get all CAUGHT UP in the excitement of doing one, and then afterward I think, "Yes, but I could have kept that for MYSELF." I'm doing a giveaway at Milk and Cookies for a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card. That would be a nice teacher gift. If someone named "Thistle" wins it, you'll know I had a change of heart about giving it away.
Would you indulge me in a brief panicky rant? I'm getting stressed/excited about gift season. There are so many DEALS to wade through. There are so many DECISIONS to make. I think, "YES, I'll do THAT!" and I get halfway through the order process---and oh, if I spend another $10 I'll get a $20 gift card for free. Well, that's worth it. Except I can't find anything that's about $10. Well, okay, so here's something that's $15: it's still like saving $5 and getting the $15 item for free. Well, if I can find a use for the gift card. Then: oh, if I add another $5 I'll get free shipping, and shipping is $11.95 so that's definitely worth it. Except I can't find anything that's about $5. ACK.
I am trying to COOL DOWN and not stress so much. I've read a few articles lately that advise spending more time with family and friends instead of spending money, but time is in short supply as well. And when those articles say "time," they often seem to be selling accessories: special popcorn bowls, special DVDs, special household decorations, special dishes, special recipes with brand ingredients. I mistrust their motivations, even if their message is a good one.
We tried to lower the stress by getting a Wii as a family gift (I can't believe Amazon still has them in stock, but as Paul said, Nintendo would be pretty dim if they continued their fake shortage into the holiday season), so technically the kids' gifts are all taken care of, but Paul and I keep seeing things that would be SO GREAT for one kid or another kid, so that adds stress after all: do we buy more, or do we stick to our plan? What if one of us is more worried about money than the other of us? What if one of us thought the arrangement was that the Wii would also be OUR gifts, and the other of us didn't think that was part of the arrangement at all and is completely dismissive of that idea?
Plus, the stockings! Last year, three-fifths of the kids were still too young to care, so it was no big deal. This year only one-fifth is too young to care, so if I find a good stocking stuffer for $1, that's suddenly $4 for only one teeny thing in the toe of each stocking. This could add up.
And the in-laws. GEEZ, the in-laws. Every year I decide I'm NOT buying my father-in-law ANYTHING, that's IT, forGET it! He never sends us anything or even acknowledges receiving our gifts, so why keep doing it? But then I relent: I think that just because HE'S an ass doesn't mean I need to change MY behavior, and I think it's right to get my children's grandfather a present at the holidays. This year, though, I might seriously be done. I look at our finances, and it seems to me that "present for absentee ingrate" might rank lower than "braces for eldest child" or "heating bill." Or even lower than "games for the Wii."
I think I'm just going to do gift cards for my sister-in-law and mother-in-law. I get the feeling I miss the mark every year with their gifts, and it's getting less important to me for them to think I spent time and thought on them, so I'm thinking gift cards would make us all happier.
Thank you for allowing this panicky interlude. Feel free to do a little panic-commenting if you want: it really does make a person feel better.
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