Archive for December, 2008

posted by VJ on Dec 4

I seem to be on a roll with holiday themes here.

As of this writing, Christmas is 21 days away.  I’m curious:  what’s the status of your Christmas shopping?

I remember back in the “old days” when I was in my twenties (I think?), and I liked to get all my gift shopping done by August.  If I hadn’t taken care of everyone by August, I felt like I was already behind and would never catch up. :-(

Of course, the irony was that I always ended up doing *more* shopping when Christmas got closer, either buying extra presents, or trying to manufacture Advent calendars, or choosing a little stocking stuffer or token gift for everyone I ever met in my entire life.  Crazy!

Those days are long gone.  Last year I restricted myself to online shopping and did it all at the last minute.

I think that’s partly based on my husband’s INTJ preferences.  Worrying about Christmas is very LOW on his list of priorities, and I just go along with that.  Sometimes that works well, sometimes it’s a disaster.

We do have an agreement:  we agreed early on not to buy each other Christmas presents.  That’s Not Allowed.

We save our gifting for Valentine’s Day instead — which is much more satisfying.

It’s amazing how much stress that relieves.  After all, like any INFJ worth their salt, I can really get invested and grail-questing in buying the Love Of My Life the Perfect Gift.  Talk about pressure!

Instead, we *might* buy something for ourselves throughout the year, and excuse it to our spouse as a “late” or “early” Christmas gift.  (Such as taking a trip to Chicago in October, or taking a cruise in April, for instance.)  It’s kind of like a “Get Out of Jail Free” card in Monopoly.  It can occur at any moment on the gameboard, and it trumps any negative consequences. We love those!

So once the Love Of My Life gift has been eliminated from the Christmas equation, it’s easier to get way practical about gifts.

Of course, that’s me speaking on the other side of 50.  I suspect I might still be idealistic and invested were I way over on the other side of [say] 30.  In other words, I think I’ve changed over the years.

There was a time in my life when I was guaranteed not to get any sleep on Christmas Eve, because I was up all night sewing or crocheting something.  Oh yes!  I thought homemade gifts were the best, and I would go to great lengths to create something by hand: the filet crochet curtains (yes, really); the monogrammed plush bathrobe (no kidding); the padded covered photo albums (no lie).  This compared with the people who on Christmas morn passed everyone a day ticket to Disneyland!  (Talk about one-stop shopping and no wrapping paper.)

In fact, my boyfriend back in those days once told me that I changed Christmas at his house.  He said everyone used to just go through the motions of giving, but I was so inspired in my Christmas approach that other family members actually started getting into the swing of things.  They began to invest a little more time and consideration into their gift-giving as well.

Those were the days — back when I had an annual “theme” for Christmas.  One year it was penguins.  Another year it was snowflakes.  Still another year it was Oriental — the gifts in takeout boxes wrapped with Chinese newspapers and embellished with chopsticks and tiny folding fans.  Move over, Martha Stewart!

I don’t work that hard anymore.

I’ve been through the entire spectrum of Christmas commitment.  These days I’m settling for laidback and casual.  Don’t sweat it.  Instead, I celebrate Christmas throughout the year:  when I see something I like for someone, I buy it, give it to them right away, and call it a Christmas present.

I like that spirit of Christmas better. Much less stressful. Much more joyful.

But I want to hear from you:  what’s your approach to Christmas; and what’s your status as we count down the remaining days? And what’s the coolest gift around?

While we’re on the topic, here’s a two-minute YouTube about Christmas from my INFJ friend Margaret. I found it inspiring. Enjoy!