No-Gift Christmas (Sort Of)

In the spirit of giving and not receiving–sort of–the husband and I decided this year we would not spent the money buying gifts for ourselves, each other, or nearly anyone else.


  1. The holiday shopping season is out of control.  We want no part of it.
  2. We all have way too much.  We are blessed, certainly, but still have too much.
  3. A lack of appreciation for past gifts.

Instead, we continued our holiday tradition of buying gifts for children in need.  In the past, we have selected children from the Salvation Army Angel Tree.  This year, we had two children selected for us as part of the Winter Wishes program organized by New York Cares.  Two-year-old Chrystal asked for books; eight-year-old Destiny asked for a Baby Alive doll.  They both got their wishes and a little more, too.   And because there was a deadline for mailing, our Christmas shopping for these girls was finished by December 1.

We also felt humbled to be able to send money to Ghana for the second year in a row, where a little boy named Emmanuel will receive a Christmas gift he otherwise wouldn’t get.

I don’t miss the hustle and bustle or the frenzied shopping or the dwindling bank account of years past.  It’s so nice to know that our holiday will be merry without all of that.  Happy holidays!

First Christmas


Being married has put me in the Christmas spirit. For the first time in my adult life, I have a Christmas tree in my living room, complete with lights and ornaments and presents and the retro lighted star on top.

Like so many Americans, our search for the perfect tree began with a car ride to the nearest Wal-Mart. There we perused the selection of artifical trees, taking into consideration size, price and pre-litness. We settled on the four-foot version, pre-lit, of course, for $14.95. We trudged (drove) home through the snow (traffic), hauled (carried) the tree (box) into the house (duplex) and spent the next hour or so putting it up.

This process included a viewing of “A Christmas Story” in an attempt to create a memory. (In other words, we are trying to create a tradition.) It also included buying an ornament to commemorate our first Christmas together. Because we’re both practical and thrifty, we picked up a fancy ornament along with the cheapie glass ornaments we bought at Wal-Mart. (Something had to go on the tree!) But a week or so later, I found the perfect ornaments:


What makes these ornaments so perfect is that the cup is reminiscent of my wedding proposal. My dearest had gone to Starbucks to get coffee; when he returned, he put down the cups, dropped on one knee and asked me to marry him. The other ornament is a tiny ceramic bag of “Christmas Blend” coffee, just perfect for a first Christmas in tandem with the other. Isn’t it nice when things come together like that? I was so moved, I emailed the Starbucks company and told them our story. Hopefully someone in Seattle will get a warm fuzzy feeling from it.

In addition to our tree, we bought stockings for each other and a little one for the cat. They are now hanging on the mantle. (It’s a shame to waste a perfectly good mantle by not putting stockings there for Christmas.) I expect they’ll all be filled with goodies in a couple days time. All together, our humble abode is quite festive with the addition of Christmas decorations. It seems a shame to have to take them down, but I plan to leave everything until New Year’s Day, to get good use out of it.

Still, the best thing about this Christmas is having a special someone to shop for. I didn’t buy anything extravagant, but I got a few things for my honey that I know he’ll really like. And I feel confident that his shopping will result in happiness for me, although I truly believe it’s the thought that counts. Being in love is the best part of any holiday, I’m finding. Having a permanent best friend is the best gift that has ever been given to me.

I hope your Christmas is merry, your holidays are bright and your New Year brings everything your heart desires!