Monday, July 28, 2008

The Wal-Mart Trap

I went shopping today for Christmas presents.

Yep - you read that right. It's eighty degrees and high summer, but I've got snowflakes and fir trees on my mind. I leave for Canada two weeks from today and when I do I want to leave behind me a nice stack of presents for all my east coast kin.

I liking giving people gifts, but most years I get frustrated with Christmas. I try very hard to give meaningful things. I make lists ahead of time and try not to repeat past gifts, but what I'd really like to do is not give any "thing" at all - I'd like to give experiences.

Sometimes I pull this off - with gift certificates to movies or restaurants, but often I succumb to the idea that a card or envelope isn't fun to unwrap come Christmas morning, and I end up getting the "thing", anyway.

I succumbed again this year - at least in terms of my neice and nephews. I have some hope of doing better with their parents, at least.

I'm starting to make up my own Christmas list now, so at least I won't get caught with too many packages under the tree. I really do want those cards and envelopes, instead - a semester of dance classes, or a monthly pass to the gym. Maybe a trip to see friends or a fancy dinner I can share with my husband.

I hope this experiment will cure me of the need to load family and friends down with packages next Christmas. I can't be the only one that wants a gift that provides more to look forward to than just that "ah!" moment on December 25th.

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