And so this is Christmas…

A Danish Christmas tree illuminated with burni...

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So, it’s Christmas. In a month. How did that creep up on me?

Some people LOVE the festivities. The tree. The trimmings. The presents. The ham. The terrible, terrible seasonal jingles that shops like Bond and Bond have been playing for weeks already, which I can hear from all the way across the road.

My family barely celebrated birthdays, let alone Christmas, so I’m a bit jaded about the whole thing. Excuse me.

(I do, however, have ‘celebrate a white Christmas’ on my life list. It seems ridiculous to me that all the Christmas cards for sale here are of the snow variety – they must come from the Northern Hemisphere. December 25 here is prime barbecue, beach time.)

I’m actually happy to be working Christmas Day; I had it off last year, so that was my family-gathering fix for the decade. The year before I went in to the office for half a day and powered through all my work in doubletime. (Maybe that’s a bit harsh. But certainly, alternating years provides me with more than enough whanau time. If it’s not blindingly obvious, I love my relatives, but we’re not all that close.)

Working Christmas means, well, probably plenty of blog surfing, double (or triple, I can’t remember) pay, and minimal forced conversation. Hey, when you’re young and childless, there’s no better day of the year to milk the benefits. Hopefully I’ll be able to stop by for some of T’s mum’s famous potato salad first, or if not, he’ll bring me home a plate.

Bonus: Technically, I can get away with not buying presents for my side. Or at least, not for the extended family, which consists of my aunt, her husband and two sons.

That leaves us with three “groups” to shop for: my immediate family (parents and brother); T’s mother and co (including the two younger brothers) and his sister’s family (two adults, four kids). At least, that’s how I’ve mocked it up in my mind. When I asked him to kindly compile a list of who we needed to purchase gifts for, he stared at me for a moment before saying: “Me. That’s all I care about.” And no, I don’t know what I’ll get him – possibly an Xbox game, or a GPS. Or a golf club, but I’m not willing to pay for the kind of driver he’s got an eye on.

At worst, we’ll buy three lots of gift vouchers and they can all go shopping on Boxing Day.

Have you started gift shopping yet? Do you save up all year for Christmas, or are your obligations small enough (like ours) that you can work it into the December budget?

10 thoughts on “And so this is Christmas…

  • Reply Scribbles November 25, 2010 at 20:30

    I’m one of those revolting organised people and have most presents purchased already. I’m starting on my Christmas cards this weekend!

  • Reply Maggie November 26, 2010 at 01:19

    Haha. I loved your bf’s reply to the question. Sounds like something my own bf would say.

  • Reply Red November 26, 2010 at 04:43

    I use Mr. Red’s family as my get-out-of-family-time card. Of course, I only want to get out of one side of the family’s get-togethers, so I just say Mr. Red’s family is celebrating at the same time they are, and we have to celebrate with them. Hehe!

    Our list is small, though Mr. Red is constantly trying to enlarge it. (What is wrong with this guy!?) We buy for one brother and his dad on his side. On my side, my parents (who usually get a joint gift) and two brothers. My friend A and I don’t exchange gifts, so the only other person I’ll buy for is Mr. Red. I came to the realization a couple years ago that I don’t have to buy for people just because it’s expected. I’ll give gifts to the people I want to give gifts to and screw the rest! Just kidding… Sort of.

    This year, I’m trying my hardest to only use gift cards I’ve won through work/blogging contests to fund Christmas, thus having a “no spend Christmas.” But in a normal year, I’ve been able to swing Christmas by working it into December’s budget. Then my vehicle registration expires, I’m out of money, and I think, “Oh, shit…” 😉

  • Reply Amber from Girl with the Red Hair November 26, 2010 at 05:39

    I love Christmas 🙂 I can’t wait to go home and spend it with my family!

    We don’t really spend a lot on Christmas gifts. Instead I put some time and effort into making gifts for people or order things off of Etsy! I’d say for both mine and Eric’s family we will end up spending around $200 total this year!

  • Reply Stephany November 26, 2010 at 06:35

    Oh, man, this post makes me sad. I’m like a giddy little child around this season. It helps that my parents cultivated this excitement for the season and made it a Very Big Deal. 🙂

    I always go overboard on Christmas gifts but it’s really the one time a year I spend a lot of money on things. I just love buying things for people and it’s just a fabulous time of year.

  • Reply gem November 26, 2010 at 06:46

    Haha, I’m not going home for Christmas because I don’t know my schedule yet and I can’t take off those days since they’re basically the reason I was hired. Which means I don’t have to buy gifts for anyone. Plus everyone in my life knows that I can barely pay rent, so they’re totally not expecting anything. Sometimes it pays to be broke!

  • Reply aloysa November 26, 2010 at 06:57

    I do love Christmas, spending it with my family. We don’t exchange gifts because we decided that we do enough for each other all year long so it is not neccessary to spend on Christmas gifts. We do need to buy some gifts for our friends and in-laws but we don’t save up for it all year. We are low key most of the time which helps with spending.

  • Reply Manda November 26, 2010 at 19:22

    I will be traveling with my best friend this Christmas season. We’ll be in Hong Kong, and the most festive place there is… Disneyland. So that’s what I’ll be doing this Christmas 😛 And because I’m not going to be with friends or family save for whom I’m traveling with, no gifts to buy this year! But also… no gifts to receive 🙁

  • Reply The Asian Pear November 28, 2010 at 16:47

    My family isn’t big on Christmas either. We celebrate with dinner and that’s about it. As for my friends, we aren’t planning anything big. We are all having dinner together and I’ll be giving them all cupcakes and cookies. A simple good Christmas. 🙂 Good for a frugal budget like mine. 😉

  • Reply Serendipity November 30, 2010 at 12:47

    Mine are pretty small for now. I really only have to worry about Rambo and my sister. I try to spend at least a good amount on Rambo but I’m not really sure what to get him this year. We talked about doing stockings this year for us so I’m sure I’ll probably start putting little things in there starting next week. My sister I think I’m done so I should probably put together her package and mail it out. I’m curious though as to should I wrap it or let her mother do it. Hmph.

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