Saturday, December 15, 2007

Perfecting My Perfectionism

It's the holiday season as you all know. For Mrs F this can be a stressful and anxiety provoking time.. but hey what time isn't?! I feel compelled to have everything done perfectly. But when your house looks like a cyclone just came through it.. at all times... it can be hard to ever achieve the perfection I strive for. I mean does it really matter that the tree is up and decorated if the floor is covered in toys and shredded Kleenex (thank you Canine & Baby for that) or mushed up crackers and cut in half raisins (or poop... can't always tell at first glance)?

Our house is out of control and a low level of stress and tension festers between Mr F and I because of it. My perfectionism can paralyze me, just as his ADD and MAN can paralyze him. I long to live in a house where everything has a home.. and for those of you who do it I commend you! I don't know how you do. Obviously it doesn't help that we have a smaller old home with no storage space... that our older daughter cannot throw out anything and that her collections of special rocks and McDonald's toys and paper scraps are overflowing the playroom... or that the baby loves to drag these collections around the house. This constant mess and overgrowth is legitimately stressful. Now it is the holidays and I am even more driven to want things to be *perfect*.... and at this point in our lives it just can't be done. And that is a hard pill for me to swallow.

So I am trying to just do what I can. To appreciate the damn china hutch and not bemoan that everything else looks so shitty. To accept that we can't morph into a different family.. a clean and organized one.... just because my idea of the holidays was taken out of a magazine. To make cookies with Kid and not put it off until everything else is done first. Maybe I'll put a bow on top of the pile of mail that will constant sit on my desk no matter how many times I try to clear it off.

We all know that the holidays are not about perfect, that the decorating isn't about decorating, that the gift buying, and the cookie baking are not supposed to be stressful. That this is a time when you should turn to your family and celebrate what you have and share it with others. Sometimes that is just a little hard to remember, and even harder to do. I for one struggle to have good enough actually be good enough... and to remember that no one will ever look back and judge me for not having done a picture perfect decorating scheme... or even if my house was clean... and that if I am lucky my kids will look back at the holidays as a magical time... and that comes from love and not lights!

36 comments:

Aaron said...

OH Mrs. Furious.
I feel rather strongly about this one. I could go on and on and on about perfection (total crock).

I'll just leave it at this: We've been married for 8 years. For 6 of those years we were students (no income) and didn't live in anything larger than a 900 sq. foot apartment. I remember one Christmas we actually got stockings from the dollar store and were thrilled. I look back at those times (uh, they weren't that long ago) and have tons of warm fun "magical" Christmas memories.

I'm always cutting back. Presents, decorations, stuff. (And let me just say. this is NOT my personality. I LOVE to decorate, love to shop, love Christmas, love good design, etc.) I just think the commercialization has just gotten a little out of hand. Even if one doesn't celebrate Christmas for the religious reasons, it does usually mean getting together with friends, family (even just your own little family), and reaching out to others. There is SO much to take our attention away from enjoying the season that I just say to hell with it!

Now, Chris and Michelline, I know you guys are Christmas fanatics and love to decorate and EARLY! lol, and I don't think there is a single thing wrong with that...IF it brings you satisfaction and joy, and adds to the "magic." My kids are so young and need so much from me right now, that I think I'd just freak out about it. Re-prioritization happens on a daily basis here. Once something starts to really stress me out, I usually cut it out. I want my boys to be around a happy, relaxed, fun mom (Even if that means Christmas cards don't get out this year.)

This time of year really brings out my Amish side. I'm all about simplification. I seriously could write another 5 paragraphs, but will refrain.

from writing 5 more. haha, Just one more thought. The mess: I HEAR YA. our house is constantly being torn up by our baby. He loves the "kids cups and plates" drawer in the kitchen, so of course we find sippy cups and plastic forks in our bedroom, bathrooms, etc. We usually do a big cleanup at night. (Well, more like we make the boys cleanup all their crap while we supervise) Our house gets "all the way clean" like 5 times a year. ANd the stress level increases the messier it stays. The only thing I can say is I try my best and then let it go. Some day s I just try to pat myself on the back for accomplishing something like cleaning my desk, or mopping the floor.I keep telling myself when they get older it won't be this bad, they'll eventually be tall enough to reach the sink to do dishes, and laundry, etc.

Ok, I'll REALLY stop now.

katieo said...

AAAH! Why do I always do that!

Sorry, Mrs. F. Not Aaron. Katieo.

Mrs. Furious said...

Katieo,

yes Mr F and I often get our identities switched.. fortunately I have the power to delete those and re-post.

also no worries on the Chris & Michelline front they are enjoying their cruise! But I can say that from our brief meeting it did seem that they really do enjoy Christmas.. the decorating, the shopping, the annual party. I think it does help tht their girls are older than our kiddos.. that and they are very clean people ;) And they didn't seem like anxious stress-y people like some people I know.. okay like me :)

as for perfectionism... Oh it is hard, hard, hard. I definitely worked hard to be *perfect* as a way to get some attention and feel loved as a kid. This is a hard habit to break but I feel really strongly that I do not want my girls to grow up with that as their model! Because of course you can never reach that lofty of an ideal.. and you never enjoy the process of getting there (or I don't).

When we were first married I wanted very badly to have the kind of feeling I of course didn't have growing up. It was easy to do this with no kids... and slightly more difficult when Kid was a baby.. and then of course every year it has gotten harder and harder...

But to my own personal triumph after Kid got sick and Baby was born... I have had a much easier time letting these type of things go. My perspective has changed.. and a lot of that is because I don't do all the stuff with Baby that I was able to do with Kid.. and she's fine.. she's great.. she's happy.. if not happier.. and I have real tangible proof that it doesn't all go to crap when you ease up a bit. In fact we are all happier.

Christy said...

Wow. What a wonderful lovely post. This is my second Christmas with my son (he wasn't even 3 weeks old for the first one). Just tonight I was complaining about what a mess our house was, but then I looked around and there was a pile of unsent Christmas cards (but at least I wrote them and included a picture of Carson). The basement is a disaster - but I can look at each "thing" and remember exactly when Carson played with it today. The front hall was filthy, but it's because we went as a family and got our Christmas tree! So really, the mess was worth it and well deserved. We are really trying to cut back on the stuff (especially the plastic!), not shopping as much (rather spending time together) and enjoying the holidays for what they are supposed to be, unfortunately not what they have become.

Thank you - have a happy Christmas and enjoy the holidays to the fullest!

Christy

Deb said...

wait... did i sign in as a guest writer today and write this entry? no... if i had, it would have also mentioned the moving boxes everywhere. it's also impossible to keep up with the flood of boxes and packing material coming from the gifts our family is sending (many thanks to old dog for peeing on the pile the other day, btw).

i actually looked at the tree this afternoon and thought, "what is the point?" hellooooo, mrs. grinch.

katieo said...

fortunately I have the power to delete those and re-post.

lol, oh yeah. So do I...ok next time it happens...

michelline said...

Long one here, but here I go responding to katieo's comments...

My advice is not to stress that which should not be stressed. While we may be decorated early, I don't do Christmas cards. Nor do I bake Christmas cookies. I hate doing cards. With a passion. So I don't do them. And I don't feel guilty about not doing them. If someone is offended they didn't get a Christmas card from me, they're nuts. I'm lucky if I can remember to email my family in far flung places. The others I know I will see. And my family knows I love them all year round, not just from a Christmas card.

I just think the commercialization has just gotten a little out of hand.

Then don't do the commercial stuff as much. What you do, you choose to do. Everything we do is a choice. The only thing you really have to decide is if you can live with the consequences of your choices. We love the commercial aspects of Christmas. Almost as much as we enjoy the family time. I have a very large family that congregates at my house for Christmas. I take great joy in choosing gifts for my loved ones that they will find pleasing. That doesn't always mean I spend a lot of money on a gift. The thought and time involved in a gift is just as important, if not more so. I think people use the excuse of "commercialism" as a cop out. No one says you have to spend a lot of money at Christmas.

Even if one doesn't celebrate Christmas for the religious reasons, it does usually mean getting together with friends, family (even just your own little family), and reaching out to others.

We are atheists, so we celebrate the season as a means of enjoying mankind and the spirit of the times. I believe in giving back to the community as I can and for the past several years, we've (as a family) adopted a needy family and provided gifts for the adults and children of that family. Two years ago, we provided a Christmas for a mother and her two young children and the mother's aunt. My daughters had a wonderful time picking out presents for those kids. They like to get their own presents, but they also hate to see someone go without on Christmas. It's an excellent way to expose the kids to the idea that there are many people who are less fortunate than we are.

My kids are so young and need so much from me right now, that I think I'd just freak out about it

We too have been there. Tori was 3 when Libby was born. And we decorated every year, because it is something that is important to me. My birthday is 12/14 and I usually ask for Christmas decorations.

I keep telling myself when they get older it won't be this bad, they'll eventually be tall enough to reach the sink to do dishes, and laundry, etc.

Now that is the funniest thing you've said! LOL!! Mine are tall enough finally, but chores? Without being reminded? HAHAHAHAHA!! I laugh so I won't cry in frustration. Trust me. At least yours have a reason they don't do them now :)

Mrs. Furious said...

Christy,

hey thanks for commenting!! I love when people delurk :)

oh the fight with the plastic is never ending! We have tried multiple times to clear it out and it keeps coming back in!!! I tried to go all crazy and just have wooden toys.. but Kid loves My Little Pony so what can I do?!?

Sometimes I think back to the kid-less days and try to remind myself that Mr F and I weren't terrible slobs... it comes with the kid territory (okay some people still manage to clean.. but not me) and eventually they won't play on the floor... in every damn room! We even have toys in the bathroom (not for the bath either)!

Mrs. Furious said...

Deb,
you crack me up... damn those damn dogs! Canine came home from the groomer yesterday (my favorite day of the month by the way because I am rid of him for the whole entire day... worth every penny of his ridiculous $50 grooming... I don't even get my hair cut regularly by the way.. but he is a Bichon.. so whatever.. he must be groomed and given a fresh little seasonally themed bandana or he would be an embarrassment to his breed!) and as soon as he came home he tried to shit on the rug. Literally walked in 3 feet and assumed the squat! Un-freaking-believable.

Mrs. Furious said...

katieo,
oh I didn't mean you need to do that here... I meant I can permanently delete them and not leave a trace... although I can do that for you too!

michelline said...

And now the response to Mrs. F...

also no worries on the Chris & Michelline front they are enjoying their cruise!

Not yet. I sit here in our hotel in Miami (see Chris's post on it. He's doing a travelogue. At least that the plan). Our ship actually leaves tomorrow. I'm so excited! But I'm really going to miss the kids. This is the first time I've been without them this close to Christmas. We went to a mall at the Port of Miami tonight and Chris had to drag me away from buying a souvenir for the girls, LOL. I couldn't even call them tonight because they were in a movie with their grandparents. Sigh.

they really do enjoy Christmas.. the decorating, the shopping, the annual party

Yep! And the music. And the lights. There is not one thing about Christmas that I don't enjoy. I actually bought two more Christmas shirts at Cracker Barrel Thursday. I think I own more Christmas shirts than anyone I know. I carry a Christmas purse. I have lots of Christmas jewelry, which I wear. Including a watch. The only thing I don't have is Christmas socks... Hmmm... buying opportunity!

And they didn't seem like anxious stress-y people like some people I know.. okay like me :)

Is this Mrs. F code word for anal? ;) If so, no, we're not. I stress about the important things, of course. Like if Tori's going to pass 6th grade. Or if I'm going to kill her first. Little things like that :)

Mrs. Furious said...

michelline?!?!

aren't you on your cruise!?!

Mrs. Furious said...

Michelline,
" I carry a Christmas purse."
LOL!
a) of course you do
b) I didn't even know such a thing exsisted

anxious stress-y is somewhat different from anal.
I think I am more anxious and stress-y about things than I am anal about them. If I actually followed through I'd be anal.. being disappointed that I can't achieve my goals makes me more anxious and stress-y. Not that I am an anxious or stressed out person as a whole... I'm not. But I can get anxious and stressed out about wanting/not achieving perfection.

michelline said...

aren't you on your cruise!?!

well, yes. Almost. But I can't miss my daily Mrs. F fix! It's like an addiction.

Mrs. Furious said...

michelline,

I know what you mean!!
enjoy your cruise and happy belated birthday! :)

Heather said...

Re: cleaning. If this is what's to come, I need to get my act together soon. I'm a neat-messy person, as opposed to an neat-dirty person. Basically I'm good at (and enjoy) organizing things but honestly since getting married and co-habitating it seems like I'm constantly fighting a losing battle. My husband, who suffers from ADD and SEVERE MAN (lol) in general, is completely obsessed with loading/unloading the dishwasher continually, but say, couldn't pick up the empty ice cream and milk containers the damn dog removed and subsequently shredded all over the apartment. I think KatieO is right; less stuff = better. We should establish some better habits before we decide to expand Team Hansen.

Re: the Perfectionism. You know I struggle with the same thing. We all have our areas where it manifests itself a wee more than others; I think your strategy is a good one. Practice forgiveness towards yourself and moderation, moderation, moderation.

katieo said...

Michelline, I appreciate your comment, I actually think we're saying some of the same things. Let me just clarify a couple of things.
I think people use the excuse of "commercialism" as a cop out.
I didn't mean to imply that commercialism means not giving gifts. Nor did I mean to imply that there is anything wrong with the way you celebrate Christmas. I believe your circumstances and priorities allow for a big awesome meaningful Christmas.

No one says you have to spend a lot of money at Christmas. However, I disagree with that. If often feels like everyone says you have to spend a lot of money at Christmas. It's the focus of the entire retail marketing world right now. Maybe it's because I have a very limited budget and time, but I feel pressure all the time to spend money on bigger better gifts. I agree that time and thought going into a gift may mean just as much as the gift itself.

I think it's totally fine to go "all out" on Christmas. My comment was just based from our personal experience, one doesn't have to for the season to be meaningful,

Mrs. Furious said...

Heather,

lol.. Mr F is obsessed with loading and unloading the dishwasher! and I assure you other stuff is going undone all around us...

he also read this and was like "what is MAN?" and I laughed and said "YOU are a M-A-N!, trust me some one will get it!" ... so thank god you did! :)

Julie said...

Yes, I have learned to let go of a lot. But I do notice that I start frantically cleaning up the house when I feel out of control with everything else in my life due to parenthood and the holidays. It sometimes is the only thing I can control. And Tom (my husband) just does not get it when we are rushing to get somewhere and I am cleaning the kitchen counter or something like that.

My home would be perfectly clean and in order if it was just me, but what fun would that be:) And Mrs. F., I have a total pack rat kid, too!

Michelline, I love how passionate you are about Christmas! It cracks me up. And that you ask for Christmas decorations for your birthday...too funny!

Katieo, Mrs. F. and all of you out there that have really young kids, my kids are now 6 and 7, things do get easier in the way of the constant needs of really young ones. Oh, Michelline is right, that there are still major challenges as far as chores, etc., but there is more freedom within the home. Like right now, my kids are occupied with something and I am able to be here in the kitchen doing stuff. Plus, when the kids are in school more consistently (not preschool), you have more time to play catch up. But as some things get easier, there are always new challenges!

Every year, you will build on traditions with the kids. It does not all have to happen at once. We slowly have built on it at my home...and traditions that start unplanned and spontaneously usually have the best results (at least that has been my experience! We have had many of those "merry frick'n Christmas" moments with things we were trying to do for the holiday. You know those moments in life. The ones where you sit there in tears thinking, "what is wrong with my family?? Everyone else seems so happy and participating!!"..oops maybe that IS just me. I doubt it:) We actually have ornaments on our tree that we let the kids pick out when they were teeny and one of which ending up being thrown at my husband on the way home in the car and hitting him in the eye and we had to pull over and there was lots of yelling and crying going on (mainly from me, too:)) But we look at those ornaments on the tree now and love them because of that nutty night.

You will have lots of magical Christmas memories. They may not seem magical at the time, but years later they will mean so much.

Julie said...

Mrs. F., I totally got the MAN reference, too!! And I loved that Heather used it in her comment, too, as if it was a true scientific term!

Mrs. Furious said...

Julie,
"one of which ending up being thrown at my husband on the way home in the car and hitting him in the eye "
lol... now why can I picture that happening at our house?!

I loved what you have to say. And I think you are right about trying to just add one thing at a time. I of course started out with an annual xmas party (which we couldn't really afford and so that was extra stress!) and gingerbread house, and fancy perfectly decorated cookies, and the handmade stocking, etc. But even with just one kid I could barely get it all done and it meant putting an emphasis on getting it done with much less time available to actually enjoy it once it was done. I am certainly getting better... mostly since I just don't have time and have to be wiser about what I spend it on. Just last night I was lying in bed thinking there is no reason I can't do a gingerbread house AFTER Christmas and have that be my holiday tradition.

I had put out feelers for doing a neighborhood cookie exchange and then let it fall through because I just don't have time to spend doing that.
It really is true that having a FEW special things that you do is just as fulfilling (if not more because you can actually do them) than doing everything.

I will try and repeat that to myself as I go about my final preparations. And remind myself that although Kid's teachers would probably appreciate some cookies... they may have appreciated them more when I dropped them off unexpectedly 2 months ago.

Mrs. Furious said...

Katieo,

I agree there is a financial pressure and expectation at Christmas. We have purposely tried to keep that out of our house (just us...not extended family). I grew up with pretty high expectations of what Santa would bring and a lot of importance placed on what we would get.
Like this year I am not getting Mr F anything (for real). He bought himself a fancy lens and guess what? Merry Christmas. We are not destitute.. and we can pay our bills and I can stay home... and we can afford (just) our annual vacation to Disney. And that is it.. while I stay home Mr F works two jobs to cover the difference so we can pay all our bills. But we do not have extra money this time of year... and we have a lot of extra expenses.

Having said all that I have 4 siblings(some with spouses) and 5 parents I shop for. And 7 nieces and nephews. And Mr F has parents (duh) and 3 sisters. Mr F's family draws names and so we just buy for one sister. and this year the cousins drew names (on his side)... although that didn't workout as well. But my family (w/ a big emphasis on gifts RECEIVED not given) is resistent to doing this. And I usually feel I need to spend close to $50 a person/couple to get a "good enough" gift. Well that adds up pretty quickly. I want to know how people handle this... I'm going to write a post about it! How much I spend and whether or not it is enough.. or will be appreciated... or if I got a deal on something feeling guilty about not spending enough... arrrggghhh
I would love to have enough money that I could get everyone something they would LOVE and not stress about how much it cost... and have not ill will when I spend more than is spent on me. I'm working on it...
Not that anyone asked.... lol... I can't stop....

Mrs. Furious said...

oh and I want to recommend this book to you all. It isn't actually religious despite the title.
It is totally relevant to this discussion and was so thought provoking. Excellent. I really think you would like it Katieo.

Julie said...

Hi again. Mrs. F., I actually just ordered the book from alibris.com per your recommendation from weeks ago (previous post with gift ideas.)

Believe me, it took a while to curb what I do at the holidays. I still send out cards, but I used to write a lot on every card. Now I send out the photo card and only write on the few cards of people I don't have much contact with.

I still bake cookies, but I only do my special butter thumbprint cookies. I also used to make enough to give all sorts of people a few dozen each. Now, I give out little bags with maybe a dozen (the cookies are small.) Last year, I think I bypassed giving cookies to all the teachers. I was killing myself trying to make the cookies that it became such a chore, hassle, hell. Still do a gingerbread house, but always one of those pre-assmebled ones you can get anywhere and the kids and I throw on the frosting and candy. My husband has gone from suggesting I make it all from scratch to "why bother?", but it's simple, the kids like it, it always looks crazy and it is tradition now. I was thinking of you, Mrs. F., and your cake decorating skills and knew you would be laughing hysterically at me if you saw the way I frost and decorate this thing. I literally throw the stuff on it like it is a competition to see how fast I can get the frosting on it.

The whole cookie exchange thing...I KNOW I would love to do that, but so far I just don't want to over commit. Maybe someday.

I think it would be great and so unexpected to bring cookies for the teachers after the holidays...like your thing could be to send in cookies for Valentine's Day. Or I know a few people who send out Happy New Year's cards instead of at Christmas. It is fun to get their card in January when usually all that comes then are bills.

And now I come to the financial and gift portion. I am in a similar situation as you are--lucky enough to stay home with kids, but we have really huge expenses--some due to where we live, very expensive in the Boston, MA area and some due to what we now consider "necessities" which really are not...like mail ordering Peets coffee (like 6 pounds a month), cell phones, cable with DVR, and I could go on. Tom and I never exchange Christmas gifts, but usually something similar to what Mr. F. takes place. We buy stuff and call it for Christmas. Sometimes I wrap the stuff up to open on Christmas so the kids can witness us opening something:)

Argghh...Mrs. F., you have a ton of people to buy gifts for and it sounds like with big expectations on the receivers' part. That is so hard. I hear about these families that do the "pull one name out of a hat" thing and wish we could do that, but my own family has gotten more relaxed about gift giving through the years. I ALWAYS tell my 3 siblings to not get anything for my husband and I, just for the kids. And even at that, I tell them make it cheap because my kids are so blessed and don't need more stuff. I don't want it become meaningless. I remember being a kid and being like "next, next" with the gifts because there were so many.
I will get back to this. My little one has been so patient about waiting to make cookies and he keeps coming in here and I'm like one minute, one minute.

Bottom line, I do think if the gift is well thought for the recipient it should not matter the cost. But I do know (my sister-in-law) included do may very close attention to how much one spends so I feel such pressure buying for her and my brother. They are very, very, well-off and don't have children yet. Anyway, my little guy is taking matters into his own hands and has started the cookies...gotta go!!

Mrs. Furious said...

enjoy the cookies... I'm about to write another post because I am pissed off...

Mrs. Furious said...

Julie,

I read about a family that draws names. Then they have to find a toy that represents that person's personality. Then they open them up (seems like being drunk might make this go smoother...) and at the end they collect them all and donate them to a kids charity. Now I kind of liked that idea. Or something along those lines.

Exchanging with Mr F's family is fine now that we draw names and have a set limit. I'd be happy to do that with my family too.. or yes just give cookies or something and buy for the kids. The hardest part is not knowing how much people will spend. You don't want to spend more than you need to.. but you don't want to spend less than anyone else either!
But my mom and brother and just super resistant to doing it.

Julie said...

I know it is hard with having only so much money, too. Of course, if the money was bottomless, well gift giving would be easier.

I read about a family that draws names. Then they have to find a toy that represents that person's personality. Then they open them up (seems like being drunk might make this go smoother...) and at the end they collect them all and donate them to a kids charity.

wow, that is really cool. I could NEVER imagine that happening with either my family or Tom's. I just would not want to interact that much with certain members to have to discuss WHY that is like their personality or anything. And I'm not sure if being drunk would help or cause more damage...like too much truth coming out:) Tis the season!

Tom just came inside from snowblowing (big storm going on) and the boys are out there with him and he basically just came to the door to tell me how difficult it is to get "his job" done because the boys are being wild. Of course, I had to be sitting on my fat ass in front of the laptop writing on a blog instead of busy baking the cookies...

Mrs. Furious said...

Julie,
"Of course, I had to be sitting on my fat ass in front of the laptop writing on a blog instead of busy baking the cookies..."

oops!.. that never happens around here! ;)


and lol about the toys and the personalities... I hadn't really thought about it but that would be a huge disaster in my family. Mr F's family could do it and everyone would give some kind of angel or teddy bear to each other and be sweet. In my family you'd hear someone say "a witch?!? a witch?!?... what are you trying to say!?!"

katieo said...

We draw names every year. (12 siblings between the two of us, not to mention parents, nieces, nephews, etc.) But we don't do the charity giveaway thing. We also have a price limit. (Just to make it fair for everyone- we're all in such different places financially speaking) We've done it since we were old enough to give gifts.

Mrs. Furious said...

you were fast... but I still caught it ;)


So you do two drawings one for each family. Do you draw individuals or couples? Do you have the kids draw too or do they all get gifts?

We draw couples w/ Mr F's family and have a $50 limit. This year (we have the oldest grandchild in that family) we had cousins draw names. I'd rather have you draw a whole family that way I could cut down on shipping costs... but since two of Mr F's sisters have boys born near xmas (one on!) I end up shipping to both of them for their b'days anyway. Do you send b'day gifts to all your nieces/nephews? Are your parents included in the drawing or do you all give to them as well?

I think I'm going to have to do a post on this. I want as many ideas as possible so I can try and convince my family to do it!

Aaron said...

Ok this is what we do:
Aaron's side: pool all of his sibling's kids (my kid's cousins) into one group, individual drawing.
Aaron's siblings: I don't think we're exchanging this year, but normally we separate the husbands and wives into 2 groups. So Aaron's got to get a gift for one of his brothers; me for one of the ladies in the fam.

My family: For my siblings we usually draw an entire family. And try to match a family gift, like a game, DVD, video, tickets to something, etc. If we comes down to it, it sometimes just ends up being a "couple" gift.

We get one gift for each set of parents (3).

Aaron said...

not even gonna change it. I've gotta run. But yeah, it's katieo.

Mrs. Furious said...

katieo,

no problem ;)

and thanks.
I just got off the phone with my mom telling her I wanted to make a change. we're going to talk about it at Christmas dinner. But I think we are going to do a small token gift to everyone (under $10)... since my sister didn't want to spend a larger sum on a couple gift. That's fine... I just want there to be an established size of gift, etc....

etbroderick said...

Mrs. F--I hear ya'. I have 7 nieces and nephews on Tim's side and we did not draw names. So I had to buy for all of them. But 4 of them live in Oregon and I have no idea what they already own or what they're into these days. I try to find something "cool" but inexpensive! TJ Maxx and Marshall's often work out for the younger set. The oldest will probably get gift cards to i-tunes or Limited Too or something. I actually feel guilty every year that people are buying Finn 2 presents this time of year. I know the cousin exchange on our side was little funky, but at least it saved us a bit, right? In all honesty, Finn isn't old enough to have expectations or to know if someone did or didn't send him something. And with it being his birthday, it can get almost overwhelming. Not that he'd agree, but Tim and I are like, "Look at all these new toys we have no room for!" We used to buy for Tim's siblings too, but luckily a couple of years ago someone suggested the "just for the kids" rule and we all jumped on board. I feel bad that your mom and brother won't agree to draw names. It may be that they love buying for other people, but don't they get the financial hardship side of it? I always feel sensitive to whether or not someone can "afford" to buy gifts or whether s/he feels stressed trying to look like s/he spent some arbitrary amount. I worked with a girl last year who was a young, single mom so stressed out b/c her sisters (much better off financially) liked to go overboard with gifts and were not at all cool drawing names. Just seems weird to put someone you love in such an awkward position. A spending limit seems reasonable. And it doesn't have to be very high at all. Even $20--who wouldn't love a new CD or book or gift card? Just my two cents...

Mrs. Furious said...

eileen,
the thing with my family is they don't want a limit. I've often heard "just spend what you want". Well that doesn't work for me... I'll feel internal pressure to spend $30-50 each. And of course that isn't always reciprocated which can be annoying. I desperately want a limit just so it is even. I talked to my mom about it and suggested doing what we do with you guys. She asked my sister and she didn't want to spend $50 for a couple she wanted to do handmade gifts (the thing being she wants to make things=free... yet still receive things=rip off) so I said no way.. we can give to everyone but lets just make it a gesture gift.. bottle of wine, whatever... $10 or less. I'll be presenting this idea at xmas.

titus said...

so i was bored and decided to read backwards since im fairly new to this blog. just thought i would let you know that i thought the keeping score thing was only like that in my house... oh, yeah, this past xmas, mr didnt even put the lights on the tree... said he would, never did.... so we never got to light up the tree... lol... very crappy xmas for that one reason. so, we didn't even buy gifts, just wrapped up stocked up toys, that was that.....oh, man, it sucked.. atleast summer is here... how is the weather up there now????HOT here

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