Gifts were major to us. In a nutshell, we were: budget-conscious, scraping-by, penny-pinchers. We drooled over gift cards and new clothes. Luxuries. I appreciated hand-me-down maternity clothes when I was expecting Laddie and Coach had another year of school to complete. His parents regularly gave us boxes of frozen, boneless, skinless, Tyson chicken breasts. His mom was a big supporter of the Market Day program at their church or something. Chicken? Perfect. We could eat . . . something besides pasta and bread I bought at the Hostess outlet.
While being budget-conscious became a way-of-life that neither of us can shake (well, if I am being honest, I have more success at spending a bit on non-necessities than Coach does), we aren't in the same boat as we were back in the 1996-1999 era. Happily.
Coach's family doesn't gift. In the 22 years since we have been married, his parents bought me a pair of ice-skates and a pair of workout pants. In 1995- the first Christmas we were engaged. They send a check for birthdays and Christmas now. This is very much appreciated - particularly when you consider the progress they have made.
Shortly after we were married in 1996, they bought a house in Florida. Our 'gift' every year was a flight to visit them. Stipulations. We had to stay with them. Under their roof. For an acceptable amount of time, or pay for our own flights. During our visit most television was not allowed because it was considered immoral. The weather where they live in Florida is typically dicey at best. These were some painful uses of Coach's coveted vacation days.
Eventually I said ENOUGH. There were other parts of the country to see and enjoy. Real vacations beckoned. If we didn't like our strings-attached gift, then we didn't get anything. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. Zero. No Christmas gift. Not even a pair of PJs for the kiddos. Years later, they have opted to give us a check with the word 'fun' scribbled in the memo. I guess they finally realized that staying with them did not translate to: FUN.
|Cute top that my mom gave me for |
Christmas. Not really excited about it.
My girls deemed it an old lady shirt and
want it to go back to the store.
Would you keep it?
I digress. I am the first to admit that I am hard to shop for. I am particular about my clothes. My much shorter sister once bought me an outfit in a size large. I was in my 20's- about 5' 9.5" and 125 lbs. Large? My height confused her.
There have been a few Christmases that have caused me to be underwhelmed by the gift that my folks got me. I couldn't put my finger on it. This Christmas I think I figured out why my gifts are never the show-stopping variety.
My mom buys me clothes for Christmas from the store where I always shop. I can buy these clothes for myself, because it is my go-to. I suspect that my overly practical years of yesteryear have carried over into the present day. When Coach was in school, and the years directly after he was in school when we were having babies, I was so overly practical that I hoped for essential gifts. Necessities.
Meanwhile, several of my siblings earn big incomes. Mini once admitted to my nephew that she didn't think she would ever go on a Disney cruise. His family averages a Disney pilgrimage every other year. He looked at Mini dumbfounded, 'Why?' Mini was speechless. Ahem. We aren't all millionaires.
|A sweet memento to hang in his basement.|
This year my youngest brother, Mike, opened a large oblong frame from my parents. In it was a portion of a caddy towel with the name of the golf course where my brothers (and Coach) used to caddy. It was a cool gift. Thoughtful. Unusual. Something he would never buy himself.
That's when it struck me. I rarely receive gifts that I wouldn't or couldn't buy myself. Hoping you all have a New Year's resolution to leave comments. So? Do you think I am cursed for being practical?