Let’s just say that I knew this “No Unnecessary Spending” challenge would prove to be most difficult during the season of unnecessary spending, ie Christmas. I did not think ahead and make a plan. I have no plan.

I have swung back and forth and forth and back regarding what might be considered “necessary” when it comes to presents.

Can I just say that I LOVE giving gifts. Yes, even if it gets stressful, I LOVE giving gifts. It can get out of hand. In recent years though, I have chosen to make something for the women folk in the family, and then the men folk get some sort of sweet treat and socks or something ( I know, not inspired, but they never want the cowls or market bags I knit and crochet up). This type of gifting does not take much money. What it does take is time, and when I have it or manage to carve it out, it feels meaningful- I set aside time to knit something carefully for a specific person, taking into account what I think they might like in color choice and design.

How I managed to hand make stuff these past few years, with young kid, is a little beyond me now that I look at it. It meant that I started making stuff all the way back during the summer time.

This year, I am not that organized. I did attempt to knit a few things but now that I have two mobile curiosity units, having yarn around is more trying than one might imagine it would be if you set a kitten in the midst of wool basket. It just doesn’t work.

Last year, in an attempt to curb what seemed like a lot of out of hand adult gift giving, I suggested an alternative, like a gift exchange. It ended up being more stressful, because I still wanted to give my meaningful, personalized token gifts (ie calendars featuring the kids and the crocheted items I’d been working on for months). Not only then did I give individual gifts, I also then bought an extra for the exchange. So I broke the rule I set in the first place. Silly me. I was so confused.

I think…having given it more thought this year…what I was driving at was that the focus has shifted to the kids. Though I love to feel like a kid and get gifts, I don’t actually need anything. I also don’t feel like I can really reciprocate with my more generous family members. And it sometimes feels silly to be stressing, wondering what to get for each and every adult who will be at our gathering. Really it’s about not getting stressed but just enjoying everyone’s company.

What I do want to keep is the right to give if it feels right, with no expectations. What I want to keep is the specialness of giving something to someone because the item would mean something to that specific person (which can’t be satisfied by a gift exchange).

I also could have just decided this year that, since I am doing this challenge, I will not be giving or receiving gifts. But when I started this challenging, it wasn’t about giving up joy. It brings me joy to give and receive, it really does. And also, this year I realized that I should not limit or try to control what gets given to the kids, because then I am just taking the joy of gift giving away from family. In other words, I am just stepping back and letting it all happen. I will not be excessive, but I will most definitely be giving gifts.

Okay, I don’t know why it is so hard to get these posts done on the day I intend ( Sunday ). It keeps getting farther and farther away from the intended post date. Ah well.

In other news, I am starting to feel like maybe, just maybe I might start working on developing a business on the side, start to use the photography skills I worked (and paid so much) for. It’s been what…2004…twelve years since I graduated! Gargh. It’s about time I at least attempted to use my education to develop a career! Wish me luck.



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