You know, I really like Christmas. I love the way I feel when this time of year finally rolls around. I finally decided a few years back that I was NOT going to let the "rush" of Christmas get me stressed. I don't buy anyone a gift except my kids and my nieces and nephew - it's all about the kids anyway, right? My husband and I don't give each other gifts either. We have too much "stuff" anyway. Most of it will end up in the land fill one day and why bother adding to that problem.
Toys, toys, toys. My mother-in-law shows up at my house with toys and junk all the time (she shops at the goodwill so it's all used). My basement is an embarrassment from all the junky toys. I am overwhelmed by all the junk!
My husband lost his job a little over three years ago - I was three months pregnant with my daughter (yes, I'm on another thought but it does relate to the rest of the story - try to keep up now). When that happened, we got rid of cell phones, cable and satellite and sold a car. We have no credit debt except our house. The only other bills we have are utilities. This is the only reason we survived a 6 month layoff - that and what little we had in savings which is now gone. The only way we bought things was if we had the cash. You learn to "wait" and "save" and "do without". Something not many people in our country do very well - us included. We've learned though. We don't come home every week with a bag from Walmart or Home Depot. Luckily I hate to shop.
Now, while my husband does have a job right now, it pays about $20,000 less than what he was making when we bought our house - that's a lot. Luckily, he has a company vehicle. While he was layed off we had one car - that wasn't easy. While we are surviving, we don't have the luxury of "buying". It makes life easier anyway - the less we have, the less we have to deal with. It makes for a less stressful life.
So, back to earlier, there's no sense in having all the junk we have. I spend all day just trying to find a home for what I have already. We don't need more (for Christmas) that we have to find a place for. Yes, I know - give the old stuff to goodwill or someone else. I do. I give a lot of the kid's old stuff to a few friends of mine with younger children and their kids get our old stuff for Christmas. My kids have gotten plenty of used toys for Christmas - they are new to them.
Moral of the story, don't get stressed. People don't need a bunch of fancy gifts - the joy is in another year of life and love and sharing our time with eachother. Think about it. Time is a most precious thing. We don't give enough of it.
So, give the gift of your time to someone and give it all year.