That's a nice way to look at gifts and could be extended through the year. In general, too many think of gifts as expensive items, stuff, when gifts really are simple, heart-felt and warm. Commercials go in one ear and out the other, I enjoy my shows but during the commercials I do stuff and return when the show is back on. The other difficulty I find is that when one gives to an organization once, it bombards you by mail and phone to keep giving especially this time of year. Thanks for sharing about the online organization 29 days, that's really nice.
Fortunately I don't work for a company that does any kind of gift exchange except on an informal basis. I don't have TV so I'm not bombarded with commercials. About the most pressure I get is from the bell ringer at the grocery store, and that's not a lot of pressure. I will say, however, that I recently joined 29 Gifts, an online organization that challenges people to give 29 gifts in 29 days. However, they count the word "gift" loosely. A gift can be a smile to a stranger or a word of encouragement. It's been nice viewing gifts this way.
I started SP at 138 lbs in October 2010. My goal weight was supposed to be 125, which I reached in January 2011. I have stayed at 125 (give or take a few pounds) ever since.
Phone calls for donations I have no issue hanging up. Too many in this area are scams, so I don't even listen to the speal. For me it's more the face-to-face pressures. In a span of 2 weeks for example - bring items for the shoebox donations (being sent overseas), bring food for the local christmas hamper and $2 for the turkey certificate. Bring food for the food drive. Purchase a gift of $15 for the work gift exchange and bring a plate of food. Bring food to the resident's Christmas party - which I don't mind, as I make my "famous" no-sugar fruit jello. Loads of requests for every charity out there and when I say NO, I get "you make good money, even a dollar will help out." I figured out if I give a dollar to all, I will spend around $100. That's crazy pressure. Like you I am super good at saying no and walking away.
Sounds good with the saving money for your children and giving $$ as gifts. Teens always appreciate that very much especially when raised knowing about money issues and budgets.
Gift giving for me is simple, always has been. My family of origin was and still is big on not spending tons on gifts. My brother and his wife go in with me for the folks - around $50 (total). Each one gets a gift of around $25 and I'm big on finding sales. My friends get small gifts of around $5-10 depending on what I get, and I'm creative. I've given my time as a gift - to two young mothers, I gave them babysitting certificates. When kids were small I told their parents to not have them buy me gifts, draw me a picture. Some made me different things that were inexpensive. It's the thought and time together that matter. Or the thought and intention of giving in the spirit of Christmas that matters....not that its a huge gift that one went into debt over. I told one of my very close friends to not worry - her gift list has exploded with grandchildren, to accept my small gifts and I will gladly accept the Christmas breakfast and lunch that she and her family share with me every Christmas morning. I love being creative with gifts, makes it really fun. :)
I have gotten good at saying "no". And when the person on the phone continues to push I am rude and just repeat "no" and then hang up. There is no point in arguing with them and they do not need to know my personal business. I feel bad about being rude but most just won't accept the initial "no".
My ex-husband's family does the gift exchange and most of them had much more $ than we did; the ex-h was also obsessed about looking like we could keep up so there was always that pressure. Fortunately it's not my problem any more and we don't do gift exchanges in my family. My kids are both teenagers now and gaining understanding about budgets and what things cost so they don't have a lot of expectations. This year I'm giving tjem both $ that they can use however they want. They've know most of the year how much I will give them; Icve been saving each month into a Christmas account to make sure I could do it.
This time of year is particularly tough on people - single or family. It's the time that charities do their big push for money, the time food banks call on "one and all" to dig deep and give lots of food, the time that you are bombarded with messages to "buy this" and "buy that."
Many folks through their social and work circles will be asked (and expected) to attend Christmas functions. Often one is asked to bring a plate of food and a "small gift for a gift exchange." There is lots of pressure during this time of year.
What are your biggest challenges this season? How do you deal with the pressures to give lots, buy lots and celebrate large? Do you even celebrate Christmas and if you don't, are you still being pressured to participate or give lots in donations? How do you deal with it.
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