December 16, 2005

Have you started Christmas shopping yet?

I haven't! Am I cutting it too close? I did manage to snag a Christmas tree last weekend, but the truth is, I've been very busy. Christmas can't be an onerous task that spreads out over into an entire month. Really, I see no reason for that. And, no, I'm not at "war" against Christmas. Remember Father Guido Sarducci's idea of "Little Christmas"?

IN THE COMMENTS: No one seems to remember "Little Christmas," and I try to explain.

23 comments:

reader_iam said...

For in-staters, no.

For out-of-staters, we're all about the 'net, and we just started. 3-3/4 families down, 1-1/2 to go. Then there's an isolated few others out of state, but that's a piece of cake.

(Have even managed to get free/or reduced shipping, even at this late date, with guaranteed delivery by next Friday. Hoo hah!)

Oh, well, back to it ...

reader_iam said...

I've vowed no more blog posts until 'net shopping's done, as an incentive to finish, but comments are OK while various checkout pages load.

Blogenfreude said...

We haven't either ... We are the refugees of Typepad ... Can we live in your blog for awhile?

reader_iam said...

Oh, dear--you poor people. Still down? That would drive me crazy. Seriously, I take no schadenfreude in your plight. The blogger outage of last week bugged me enough--but you all certainly have had it worse.

reader_iam said...

1/4 to go on the out-of-state families ...

XWL said...

Christmas shopping? It's not the 23rd yet.

(Plus if you hang out with Russians you have till New Years, or if you hang out with some Eastern Orthodox types you get till January 6th to fret about presents)

I have a congenital dislike of giving presents when not in person, I'd rather wait till next face to face meeting to exchange gifts than to give or receive them through shipping services.

(That's not a criticism of other folks, it's more a criticism of myself, the other way has many advantages)

verification word: lolwlny (or new net abbreviation (laughing out loud while living (in) New York?))

chuck b. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chuck b. said...

I'm basically done w/ Christmas shopping although gift ideas keep popping into my mind and I haven't ruled out more purchases.

It helps that most of my extended family virtually gave up on exchanging Christmas presents several years ago, so I have very few people to shop for. Even easier still, most people I know think a bottle of Patron or Chartreuse would be fantastic for Christmas. Easy enough--BevMo is on the way home.

For my S.O.: the new Madonna CD, a Gama-Go t-shirt, some house socks from LL Bean, M&M's with our cat's name on them, a garden sculpture, and a basket of bath stuff (since we're remodeling the bathroom Jan 15-Feb 15...during which time we will have to shower somewhere else because that's how long the contractor says it takes all the various glues and adhesives to set--can you believe it?! And I'm fully expecting to get laid off in January, so I'll either be looking for a temp work unshowered or stuck at home listening to contractor racket. Unbelievable, but I digress.), and a trip to Palm Springs.

Dr. Helen blogged about these potato guns and I bought four of them for cousins, etc. They came today and look like fun.

And this year, I decided to participate in the charity gift buy at work...where we go get something for a local poor kid. I've never shopped for kids stuff before and I was shocked how inexpensive it was! "Raul, 18 months" asked for winter clothes and toys. So I got him two sweaters, two pants, a bag of socks, a little plastic cell phone that says cute things like "Thank you for calling!", a dump truck with a plastic rock, that multi-colored xylophone thing every child has, and a super soft stuffed lion all for about $50. Raul says, "woot, woot!".

chuck b. said...

And I dearly home someone buys someone this and tells us all about it.

esk said...

drats chuck. I wish I wasn't done my shopping - would have loved to get that chimp!

chuck b. said...

Ooops, I messed up the links in that big post. Noone cares tho', right?

Here at least are Dr. Helen's potato guns. Link.

Paul said...

Ann, Nooooo, you've plenty of time left.
What was Father Sarducci idea? I'm drawing a blank and I love the guy. Sorry.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Shopping after Christmas for Christmas gifts.

DEC said...

What's Christmas shopping? Do you mean holiday shopping? (Just kidding.)

I'm done.

By the way, what happened to Merry X-mas? I don't see that much anymore.

PeterVE said...

Father Guido Sarducci had a Christmas song called "the Christmas Lament".. Santa lists what he wants for Christmas; he's tired of "I want this, I want that, Gimme this &c". I have it on a collection called Holidays in Demetia, put together by Dr. Demento. It features "The 12 Pains of Christmas". among other Christmas favorites.

I have finished my shopping. Nyah, Nyah!

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, there is a song, which is all you can find Googling, which is strange, since it was such a good idea. Father Sarducci said that Christmas has gotten out of hand, and the solution was to have "Big Christmas" only (I think) once every 5 years. The other years would be "Little Christmas." On Big Christmas, you'd do what you've been doing. Little Christmas would be way scaled down. I don't remember the details. Maybe you're only allowed to buy one present for each person in your immediate family. Nothing else. Maybe you can have a Christmas tree but no other decorations. Maybe you can sing Christmas carols, but only on Christmas day. (It's supposed to be Advent now, you know! These joyful songs are religiously incorrect!) Anyway, feel free to suggest ways to scale down Christmas, ways that would make it better! Oh, but the economy would collapse, so... never mind.

reader_iam said...

I got the little Christmas reference, and there have been many years that I've done just that. Harder to do with a little one and if you're involved with a Christmas pageant, but this one is still going to be pretty darn "little," in the Sarducci sense. By necessity, yes, but also because this year, the noise of the season has made us (the adults anyway) want to mark everything in an even quieter way.

I don't know if this would fall into the category of a suggestion for others, but one thing that we have been consciously doing for years (since before son's birth, even) is to emphasize a smaller Christmas Day in particular, both for spiritual reasons and to reduce the stress.

So we have purposely adopted an approach more like the old "12 Days of Christmas." Typically, we attend a service on Christmas Eve (the early one since the kid's young), have a light dinner, read the standard bed-time story and call it a night. (I do NOT DO all-night wrapping, etc. etc. A solemn vow!)

Christmas morning starts at the creche, and then we see what Santa's brought (this is a concession to having a young kid), but is limited to 2-3 gifts for young-un and a stocking for each of us (including the dogs). Sometimes we go to church again; always we join the neighbors next door and their extended family for a huge potluck Christmas dinner. Then we relax and just play games together, or whatever.

The 26th is Boxing Day, which is when gifts from the grandparents are opened (this is the only aspect we make a point of videotaping). This is the big gift day. For the rest of the season we open a couple of items each day and try to do just one seasonal activity (no shopping, please!), and it can be very simple: discovering a new Christmas story, doing a craft, baking cookies, volunteering, a low-stress outing--you get the drift.

On Ephiphany we do something to reflect the Feast of the Three Kings and shut off the Christmas lights at the end of the day.

This may sound like a lot, but really it's not. By spreading things out and letting the season drip instead of flood, everything is calmer and there's more time for reflection on "the reason for the season."

We also find that our kid seems to appreciate and enjoy his gifts more, that they don't just get cast aside so much in the grab for the next gift, and that he can even remember afterward who gave him what.

For what all this is worth ...

Now, if I could just manage to have the weeks leading up to Christmas be less stressful ...

HaloJonesFan said...

Ann: That's a good point about Advent. I noticed that Lutherans still sing gloomy songs during the season; it occurred to me that this is because we technically don't know that Jesus Christ is going to be born. (Although my Mom and I were cracking each other up, saying that we were singing the 'Christmas dirges'.)

Ann Althouse said...

It's weird when you have a church that is sticking to the Advent mood -- I love "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" -- and then in the outside world they are playing the carols. In fact, all this talk about saying "Merry Christmas" as a sign of Christian belief: why is that even right? Why don't Christians see it as inconsistent with the religious perspective? You should have to wait until Christmas to say "Merry Christmas." We don't say "Happy Easter" during Lent. "Merry Christmas" before Christmas waters down religion.

reader_iam said...

We don't say "Happy Easter" during Lent.

Great point, Ann! I don't think that I've ever thought of it that way. Then again, Lent seems far more somber to me than Advent, especially during all of the Holy Week services.

I do tend to say "Have a Merry Christmas, though. Always have, though I've never thought about it before. Subconcious response to early exposure to Advent carols vs. Christmas carols due to being a cradle Episcopalian?

Or maybe it's just a semantic difference without substance?

AJ Lynch said...

Guido Sarducci aka Lazlo Toth...I once read called The Lazlo Toth Letters.

I highly recommend it for some good laughs.

Ann Althouse said...

AJ: Yeah, we love the "Lazlo Toth Letter" chez Althouse.

HaloJonesFan said...

Ann: That's a funny thought...perhaps the ultimate defense against "Happy Holidays" replacing "Merry Christmas" would be to say that the idea of Christmas has mutated as far from its original Christian meaning as that meaning has from the Roman holiday it replaced.