Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gift Lists

I debated over giving this post the title of "Sulfur Farts" since just before sitting down to write it, I was standing at the back door swinging the door back and forth to air out the family room since my dog Midge had a bad case of gas. I don't think I've ever smelled anything so rancid. All that fright over dynamite booms yesterday must have upset her digestive tract. Needless to say, she will remain outside until she gets it out of her system. Hopefully, the stench won't kill the horses.

Okay, now that I have lost half my readers (and kept the best half), let's talk gift lists. There are many awkward things about Christmas. For instance, there's always someone who gives you a gift at the last minute and you know that you can't run out to buy them a gift in return without making it obvious, so you just say thank you and make a mental note to remember the person next year. Some people are so organized that they simply buy extra gifts and wrap them for such embarrassing moments.

Then there are the teenagers who want nothing but money, not understanding that part of the joy of Christmas is watching others unwrap gifts. Many grandparents send money. That's the way they like it. Once you get to be in your senior years, you tire of fighting the crowds to search out gifts. In my family, it's considered polite to give suggestions of what you would like if asked. It makes the shopping easier, because people know what they are shopping for, as opposed to just searching for ideas on shelves in stores, which can be a bit time-consuming and aimless. However, the gift suggestions should always be inexpensive and easy to find. I tend to get frustrated when I ask for gift suggestions, and get the untruthful answer of "I don't want anything." Come Christmas morning a person would feel very left out if everyone was unwrapping gifts except for him.

Some parents and grandparents are adamant about getting the exact same number of gifts for the children. Some spend the exact same amount of money on each child. We've never worried too much about equality. Every Christmas someone makes out with way more gifts than others, and I don't think my kids have ever made comments such as, "Santa likes him/her better." It all evens out over the years, and honestly, I don't think anyone in my family notices nor cares. My kids seem to get the most joy out of watching us open gifts they made or bought for us.

Last year my daughter wanted us to donate to charities as a gift for her. She worries about people in unfortunate circumstances. I bought her some Tom's Shoes, which gave her a gift to open, but also donated a pair of shoes to a child who would otherwise be barefoot. Since Nevada has a 13% unemployment rate at the moment, we donate to the Food Bank and buy gifts for needy children in the community.

I did the second half of my Christmas shopping today. Everything went like clockwork. I actually had several traffic lights turn green as I approached them. When I reached the cash registers, there were no lines. The crowds were minimal since it was a Thursday with most kids still in school and most adults still at work. I was offered help from salespeople at every store I entered, and received some friendly, knowledgeable information from each person. It's nice to see the stores hiring extra help over the holidays. It certainly made my shopping experience go faster and be more enjoyable.

I think what astounded me the most was that I walked into In & Out Burger and could actually find a seat. I usually have to eat in my car. All in all, I spent six hours shopping. It was nice to get out after hearing power tools outside my window as early as 6:30 AM, and after running into my nosy neighbor every time I turned around. While I was getting into my truck to leave, she came out of her house to walk her dog in front of my house. I quickly checked to make sure the padlock was on my gate, as she's been known to make herself at home on my property. I can only imagine how she behaves when she knows no one is home.

Anyway, I knew I had to back out of my driveway quick before she walked behind my truck. Her dog has a knack to doing its business at the end of my driveway. I have to wait for it to finish and for her to clean it up before I can finish backing up. So, I looked both ways, started backing up, and got stuck in the snow. I was spinning my tires for about 5 seconds and then they grabbed and I flew out into the road. Somehow, in those 5 seconds that it took me to get unstuck, another one of my neighbors turned onto the drive and was right behind me. Fortunately, he spotted my problem and had the foresight to stop and pull off to the side of the road instead of trying to blast past me before I could back up, which is what most people do. I waved to him to thank him, and managed to be on my way before the neighbor's dog did its business. By the time I returned, the horses were begging for their late lunch and my dogs were whimpering to go outside, but everyone survived without me.

Now I've just got to wrap all those gifts and send out some belated Christmas cards, do a little baking, and I'm done. Oh, and I need to burn some vanilla candles too.


Anonymous said...

LOL, when I read your previous post I thought "My young dog ACTS brave during a thunderstorm but they must upset her as she gets awful gas AFTER." I didn't comment about it because I thought it might be TMI, but here it is.

Sydney said...

Haha I am soooo done I get extra presents this year because last year indeed I did forget people. I've never had my bank account in the - since I have had it (since I was 11!) but this year it is, unfortunately.

Shirley said...

Speaking of gifts, I have one for one of my blog readers- come on by and enter to win $30 worth of stuff from The Wife at Gizzards and Calf Fries- love her photography!
I did 99% of my shopping in our little town, one more item to get that isn't available here!

Breathe said...

My sister usually does a list for the holidays, and this year I bought gifts for the kids to use the money that comes from grandparents.

Money for the holidays just gets absorbed into the household budget if we're not careful.

My grandmother keeps sending me fruit cake. I'm thinking I should send it to you for traction in the driveway...

allhorsestuff said...

You are busy woman...!
I loved the link for Tom's Shoes!!! Thanks for that~
Hope the Sulfa is abating!

RiverBend Farm said...

Whoa, you are way ahead of me! Here it is a week before Christmas and I have not bought one gift. This year we're buying for the grandkids only. I know what I'm getting but haven't quite gotten it done yet. At my age, each year seems to get closer to Christmas that I get anything done.

Leah Fry said...

Poor Midgie. Our Dobie is afraid of electrical storms and we have to tranq her and crate her. There's no comforting her, even if we're right next to her.

I'm glad to say that I'm done, too. Thankfully, we had only a few gifts to buy. Our finances are so slim, Mr. Fry and I are not exchanging gifts, nor are we exchanging with the kids. They don't have any money either. This economy has got to start climbing its way up soon.

Hope the vanilla candles helped.

Cheryl Ann said...

Our family isn't buying gifts for each other, except for the baby. Both kids just bought their own homes and don't have any extra $$$! Since we are the grandparents to baby Ben, everyone agreed just to buy HIM presents! HA! No shopping for me. I already bought his presents, long ago.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

There have been several years in which relatives have told us not to give them any gifts, because they couldn't afford to get us gifts. We really don't care if they don't get us gifts, but if we see something we want to get for them, we do. That causes a bit of a disturbance in the family, because then they feel guilty. I wish they could just say thank you and enjoy the gifts instead of worrying about it. However, I've learned that it is better to respect their wishes when they ask us not to get gifts.

A lot of people also make the decision to just buy gifts for the kids in the family. That works if you have a lot of relatives. Unless you are close, it is hard to shop for adults. I find that kids will appreciate anything you pick out for them while adults always have to voice some kind of complaint. My brother has made it clear that he wants nothing but money. Considering that he's living on disability, I totally understand. Most months he can't even pay the rent. My mother is a clothes hound, so she's easy. I let my husband handle his side of the family, because they've never liked any of the gifts I've chosen for them.

Cheryl -- It is amazing how buying a new home can suck every penny out of you. Now you know why I'm not jumping on the idea of moving into a new home right away. Our family bought the home we're living in now for just $186,000. You couldn't get a trailer home for that price now. Our payments are low. If we bought anything comparable now, it would be half a million dollars and we wouldn't get the money from the sale of this house, because my husband and I don't own it. My mother does.

Lulu said...

I think I am probaby pretty hard to buy for, so I am sure to give my family and my husband's family wish lists. I tend to only want practical things, mostly horse related, and there is no way for anyone but me to know what I need for my horse. So far this keeps evveryone happy since they have options of what to get me, and I won't end up with useless things. I don't want knick-knacks....I'd rather have a heated bucket or a fly sheet for my horse. Ha ha!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lulu -- That's another good topic I meant to bring up. Back when people didn't give me suggestions on what to get them, I ended up buying knick-knacks. Even though I bought most of them, I hate them because they just sit around the house collecting dust and creating more work for me to clean.

You know those TV shows in which designers take over someone's house and "make improvements"? Every time they start buying vases, big honking candles, statues, and whatnot, I want to scream, because all they do is clutter up a nice space. We have so much junk and no place to put it. I can totally appreciate finding out what people NEED, and providing them with it. One of the best gifts I have received was a gift certificate to a feed store!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Anonymous - I am the Master of TMI. Giving way too much information is a big part of my sense of humor. I've got some good stories about that. I may post them some day.