So, this is Christmas. And I survived another year.
Maybe this sounds dire, but I’m one of those people for home Christmas doesn’t bring joy. Actually, it can lead to a lot of stress.
I’m grateful for my family, but I have a complicated blended family and let’s just say I don’t exactly rejoice at being together in hot weather where there is alcohol involved. There was a family event that went wrong a few weeks ago that has still left me feeling anxious and struggling to put myself together again.
I know I’m not alone in this. January, just after Christmas, is the busiest time for family lawyers. Marketing that promotes an unrealistic picture of family joy and harmony often serves to highlight the cracks.
And then there’s the debt. This year – oddly – families are on average carrying less credit card debt than in previous years. The figures vary and it’s difficult to know conclusively how much debt. But we’re talking thousands rather than hundreds. And from a poll in The Joyful Frugalista Facebook Group, I realised that many people spend hundreds – sometimes thousands – of dollars just on presents per child.
You would think that, with my aim of giving away 1,000 items this year, I would be all for gift giving. But I’m not a big fan of having to go out and buy presents for people ‘just because’ it’s a Christmas tradition. I spend anxious hours choosing gifts, and then I come home with lots of stuff I have to find space for. This year, I actually did really well and ended up with some lovely gifts I really liked. Actually, it was quite pleasant. But overall, I would be much, much happier not to have to give things away.
But I did end up giving away something that wasn’t gifts – and that was some sourdough starter. Yep, I gave away starter on Christmas day. And I couldn’t have been happier.
And on Boxing Day, I gave away two ring binder folders to someone on my Buy Nothing group. I’d tried (unsuccessfully) to give them away before, but there’s nothing like the end of year for stationary and strategic planning; “I was planning to go to Officeworks tomorrow to buy this,” my giftee said. Isn’t it great when your clutter is exactly what someone else wants and needs?
How was your Christmas this year?