Thursday, December 09, 2010

Christmas Conundrum

by Joyce

With every year that passes, I have more trouble buying Christmas gifts for my hubby and sons. You would think that since they're the only ones I have to buy for, it'd be a piece of cake.

Well, you'd be wrong.

Part of the problem is that we're kind of  'no frills' type people. We don't have cable or satellite TV. We don't drive fancy cars. We don't wear fancy clothes. I don't have a closet full of shoes. Sneakers, sandals, black shoes, green shoes, brown clogs, and periwinkle snow boots, if anyone needs to know. The black shoes are about five years old and need to be replaced, but I can't find any I like. For some reason, shoes seem to get uglier every year. If I ever find a pair that meets my requirements (ie very similar to what I'm replacing) I plan to buy multiple pairs so I don't have this problem again. One pair wears out and all I have to do is open another box.

Sorry, this wasn't supposed to be a shoe blog. But now that I mentioned shoes, though, can someone make the radio stations stop playing The Christmas Shoes? I HATE that song! Maybe I worked for a police department too long, but I think the little brat in the song is a con artist. He cons the guy into paying for shoes so he can go out and sell them. Probably to buy crack or something for his mother.

What was I talking about again?

Oh, yeah. Christmas gifts.

This year, the boys asked for clothes and stuff for their apartments. The clothes are no problem. I've been buying their clothes since before they were born. It's the apartment stuff that's hard. They're more into plain and functional. I told younger son I'd get him new bedding--his comforter is shot--and he said he'd rather pick his own. I think he's afraid I'll get one like hubby and I have (which I picked, of course). They make fun of all the pillows I have on the bed. In my defense, there are only two bed pillows, two pillows in shams, and three decorative pillows. I don't see the problem, do you?

Hubby is even worse. He usually ends up getting clothes, too. Several years ago, he turned our garage into a woodshop where he makes furniture as a hobby. When he first started woodworking, it was easy to find some tool he needed. Now it's pretty well stocked as far as tools go and I don't know what to get any more.

The only thing I asked for was a new laptop. Mine is five years old and a real dinosaur. It only has 256 meg RAM. I probably won't know what to do with something that runs faster. I'll actually be able to have two windows open at the same time!

So what about you? Do you find it hard to buy gifts for your family? Do you keep it simple? Or are you all about going overboard?


Gina said...

Yeah, Joyce. I've been reduced to buying gift cards for certain people for the past few years now. Watching someone "unwrap" a gift card kind of lacks that personal touch, then you have to keep asking, "What did I buy you?" while wondering whether or not they lost it.

My biggest problem with shoes is that I try to avoid leather products (that vegetarian thing again), and most of the available synthetic shoes either look like they came out of a gumball machine or were produced somewhere where you have to wonder whether or not the workers who made them had their lives and/or health put at risk. It would be a lot easier if I didn't have to find shoes dressy enough to look appropriate in court. OK. Rant over. Merry Christmas.

Joyce Tremel said...

While we're talking about shoes, why are there NO shoes with nice, simple one to two inch heels? All the shoes are either completely flat or have heels so high you'd break an ankle if you slipped. And they're all so expensive! Whatever happened to shoes that cost $9.99?

Annette said...

Glad to have you back, Joyce! Ditto on that Christmas Shoes song.

Hubby and I have a totally unromantic, nonsentimental approach to gift giving. He picks what he wants from a Cabela or Harbor Freight catelog and I order. When it arrives, he starts using it. This year it was a jacket from Cabela. UPS delivered it yesterday and Hubby wore it to work last night. For me, it was a Nook this year. I told him what I wanted, he told me to go get it. I was playing with it within 12 hours.

The best part is no standing in lines after Christmas to return the stuff.

I'm avoiding this whole shoe discussion. When I find a pair I like and that fit, they declare a national holiday.

Ramona said...

Be happy, Joyce. This year, what makes my husband's face light up with hope are ads for IPads.

Joyce Tremel said...

I tried out a relative's iPad. I think they're overrated. I wasn't impressed at all.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I'm buying for girls. It's easy. Shoes, clothes & accessories.

Actually, I enjoy shopping for my girls. It's always fun to play the uninformed man in a women's clothing store and have the sales ladies ooh and ahh over you.

Karen in Ohio said...

Omigosh, I'm right there with you on that stupid song. Schmaltzy doesn't even begin to describe it.

My girls are all getting the same thing this year: hard drives loaded with family photos that I've scanned (if I ever get around to it), and checks. I decided about 6 years ago that adding more useless junk to the landfills was foolish, so I have just stopped buying stuff to buy stuff.

Your mileage may vary.

With you on the shoes, too. (Although, really? You still expect to find them under $10?) My biggest problem is that almost no shoes these days come with arch support. Ugh.

Joyce Tremel said...

Will, you are such a flirt!

Karen, only a couple of years ago I found lots of shoes (on sale) for under $10. Lately though, even the ones on sale are over $25.

I don't mind paying up to $50 for a good pair of sneakers because I wear them daily, but not for other shoes.

I never buy ANYTHING that's not on sale!

L.J. Sellers said...

I quit buying Christmas presents years ago. The only exception I make is for the few young kids in the family. I still buy things for my adult children, but that happens throughout the year when they need something.

I have been known to buy myself some new shoes in December. :)

Paula Matter said...

Welcome back, Joyce!

Yep, we're down to gift cards for our son now. Sometimes I miss the days of magic and Santa Claus.

PatRemick said...

This year my parameters also include buying things that can go home in a suitcase as both boys are flying here from DC -- and I DON"T want to pay excessive amount for shipping things back or extra baggage. I fear this will be the year of many gift cards. As for shoes, I'm with you -- I can't find another pair I like that are the same as my favs. Someone told me about Zappos online, and they have a huge selection in both price and style but I still like to try on my shoes first....

Jennie Bentley said...

Our kids are still small, so we're having fun loading up on stuff for them. Legos, bendaroos, pillow pets, magic markers and drawing pads. This year, the 7 year old had 22 items on his wish list. The 11 year old had 5, and he's getting everything except the BB gun. I haven't bought anything for hubby, and I've told him not to buy anything for me. I want to go to Norway this winter, and that's supposed to be my gift. We'll see whether he's able to do it or whether the guilt of imagining me on Christmas morning with nothing to unwrap will drive him nuts.

Re shoes: I find lots I like, usually around $19.99, although they're rarely comfortable enough to buy. I have more uncomfortable shoes I never wear than anyone I know.

Joyce Tremel said...

When our boys were little they always had long lists. We made it clear they weren't getting everything and they were OK with that.

We still have a huge collection of Legos in our attic. If they would have been willing to sell them, it would have put a good dent in their college tuition.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

The kids out on their own are difficult to buy for but this year I have some gifts picked out. Ereaders for two of them.