This week one of our foxes asked, “How early do you start shopping/decorating for the holidays?”
I’ve never been one to spend much time decorating our house. I suppose it’s because I probably spend less time in my home than I should. Between my teaching schedule, my music rehearsals, other hobbies, and family needs, I’m usually more worried about whether or not guests have a clear place to sit than what’s adorning the walls. I guess paid a little more attention to it when I started using social media to promote my writing, but other than Christmas time the house looks the same for most of the year. Still, there have been times when I’m putting up our tree and other decorations on the morning of our family party.
As for gifts, I guess I don’t really stress much about that either. I suppose that’s because we really don’t have what most people would call a large family. We have five kids, nine grandkids, and two great-granddaughters. Between hubby and me, we have three brothers, six nieces, and one living parent. We don’t exchange gifts with everyone, and that’s fine with me. On my family’s side, we play a game in which we as a family bring one gift to exchange. If our family gathering is at someone else’s home, I’ll take a hostess gift. Since I’m always sewing and crafting, I can usually wrap up something I’ve made, like a set of greeting cards, a set of coasters, napkins, or a small quilt.
Thirty years ago, I did a lot of shopping and wrapping, but most of the time I’d do most of it in one marathon shopping session after my school vacation started. But now that most of the grandkids are legal adults, their needs have changed. Of the nine grandkids, only two are at the age where they want to open gifts. Now, I purchase and wrap gifts for the two elementary aged grandkids as well as two great-granddaughters. I’ll often start asking for gift ideas in November, although I’ve already picked up one or two small stocking-stuffer items. The seven older grandkids have repeatedly said that they prefer gift cards. So I’ll text them all in late November and ask for their favorite stores.
Shopping for our adult children (they range in age from 32 to 50) is easy. We play a game that involves a gift exchange. On my side I pick a letter, and everyone brings a $10 to $15 gift that begins with that letter. Last year, the letter was B, and people brought bonbons, beaded necklaces, a Battleship game, a six-pack of Budweiser, and gift cards for businesses that started with a B. Since I only needed two gifts (one for me and one for my husband), this was easily done while taking care of other errands.
I suppose it seems odd that while Christmas is my favorite holiday, decorating and gift-purchasing aren’t high on my list of priorities. For me, it’s about spending time with people, listening to and performing music. I read many of the holiday books that my fellow authors write, and I try to complete a holiday story each year. I do appreciate a well-appointed home, but not enough to spend time making MY house worthy of a magazine spread. And I enjoy giving gifts, but they’re more of a token of appreciation for being part of my life.
How important do you consider holiday decorations and gifts?