Naughty or Nice, What’s The Price?

The holidays are upon us. That time for good will and cheer is finally here! For me, it usually starts in the summer. I get really revved up. By September, I’m just itching to throw on my Jessica Simpson Christmas album, but I contain myself until Halloween.

As of November 1st, it’s full-fledged. Songs, decorations and celebrations, you name it. I look forward to the Christmas specials on TV and yearn for the holiday songs on the radio.

With the excitement and joy that this time of year brings, comes stress, deep pocket spending and weight gain in my past experiences. The stress is brought on by funds needed to find a suitable gift for the growing list of recipients [which leads to the eating].

Finding the perfect gift is something I pride myself on. Careful consideration goes into it.

How to keep the gifts interesting, you might ask? It definitely comes as a challenge.

After nearly seven years with my beau, all the good ideas have been used up over the holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. There is only so much clothing, cologne, jewellery, and books a gal can buy.

It’s inevitable, ideas will run thin. One year I got my boyfriend a microwave. Seriously. I wasn’t  too creative that year. In my defence, it was for practicality purposes! He was living in a basement in Queens for crying out loud.

That was a year or two after he surprised me with a spa getaway. Clearly, he is the better gift giver of the two. We took a drive, and as we were approaching our destination, he had me put a blindfold on. Once, the car was parked he revealed the gorgeous location: up high in the mountains, the evergreens capped with snow across a canvas of blue crisp skies. We were then scheduled to get massaged. He had arranged for an over-night bag to be packed without my knowledge. We had a romantic dinner at the resort followed by a fabulous night up North.

This year, I’m opting for a non-gift exchange. It may appear Grinch, or even Scrooge like but for the past few years I have been bothered by the gift giving tradition. The real beauty of Christmas is to spend time with your loved ones, not spend money on them.

Regardless of your beliefs or lack thereof, it’s generally a time for togetherness, not racking up credit card debt.

Not everyone is on board with my parcel-less giving. I shall be making many a trip to the mall. Alas, let me help with your list, as well.

Things to consider:

-Think of his or her hobbies.

-What do they enjoy? Center a gift around that.

I’m a sucker for a mix-tape, well, a mix-CD. Yes, remember that ancient mode of listening to music? A friend’s former flame had made her a CD of every duet recorded of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. Not your style? Well the point is, you do not have to spend a lot on a present. That is not what the season of giving is about. It’s giving of yourself that counts.

COUPONS!

All it takes is a piece of paper, a pair of scissors, a pen, and a few good ideas.

Can’t afford the spa getaway? Then offer a massage from your own hands. (Results may vary.)

Don’t have the cash to dish out at a fancy-shmancy restaurant? No problem. Prepare a home cooked meal. (I make a pretty good tortellini rosée.)

For those with a thicker billfold:

An E-Reader is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

iPads are going to be found under many a tree this Yuletide.

Cameras are a classic. Perfect for documenting the festivities.

Tickets to a show. (Dinner beforehand or afterwards is always a nice way to make the evening last just a little bit longer.)

Movies & television series make for good gifts. You can spend time cozying up on the couch with the best of company, thus maximizing the gift’s possibilities.

I recently helped my grandmother, known to all, as Nanny, decorate her Christmas tree. I helped wrap her Christmas gifts as we listened to Christmas albums. She regaled about years past. It was delightful.

A good deed will far surpass anything purchased at a store. The memory will last longer than the time it takes for the cellophane from your new gift to be recycled.

Another thing to keep in mind:

The more thoughtful you are, the more likely you are to get lucky under the mistletoe.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to one and all!

Spread some cheer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6BSKQ8MjmE

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