Home for the Scaled-Down Holidays
Last night I touched down in Massachusetts, where I will remain for the next 27 days.
As I wrote in my post about Christmas in Sihanoukville last year, I’m not a Christmas person. After aging out of childhood, Christmas, to me, has been more about stress and greed and going broke than about joy and cheer, and for that reason, I’d be happy to avoid it altogether.
I don’t care about receiving gifts. But I do care about not measuring up as a gift giver, so I end up spending far too much money on gifts that the recipients don’t actually end up using all that much. As much as we pledge to keep things at a reasonable level each year, it never happens.
So when my dad suggested to my sister and me that we keep Christmas CHEAP this year, for REAL — like $20 per person cheap — I was relieved. Being specific allowed us to actually stick to it. I suggested the same thing to my mom, and Dave and I decided to opt out of gifts altogether (though we’ve been buying each other wacky things here and there over the past few weeks).
Let that be a lesson to you all — saying “Let’s keep things on the reasonable side” doesn’t work. Saying “Let’s stick to $20 per person” does work.
And the pressure is gone.
No mad dashes to pick up unique pieces jewelry, golf vouchers or restaurant gift cards. No need to think of travel gift ideas, spa gift ideas, golf gift ideas or culinary gift ideas. No spending of hundreds of dollars that I really can’t afford as a fledgling entrepreneur (not that I could afford it in my previous career, either). The pressure is gone.
And the fact that all this gift pressure has been lifted off me makes me SO much more eager to actually celebrate the holidays! (Except for Christmas music, that is. Still can’t stand it, unless it involves one or more Muppets.)
So, on that note, I won’t be heading off for a Cambodian beach town this year, but will be bundling up for winter instead, staying the Boston area until the 9th of January (plus a quick visit to New York to see my sister). Then back to the UK and back to Chester, and I have some very exciting travel plans for 2012.
I’m also thinking of putting together a meet-up at a bar in Boston — possibly on the Thursday after New Year’s — so lots of us from the Boston area can meet up, get some dollar beers, make new friends, and talk about travel!
So I’ll be here in Boston for the next few weeks. And that’s not a bad thing at all.
Have you managed to successfully scale-down holiday plans? I’d love to hear from you!