christmas tag

Stay with me friends. 

I have a good idea after my rant is over!

In comments regarding my post “The Gifts Not Taken” it is evident that a lot of focus was on the un-thankful attitude of the receiver.  I had not really considered it from that angle.  I liked the illustration because it brought my mind to how much many people refuse the offer of God’s Greatest Gift – His Son.  But today I want to deal with the fact that there are a lot of unappreciated gifts given (and generally taken) at Christmas.

We are inundated with commercialism at Christmas.  If the teddy bear is three feet high, it’s not good enough because Sarah got one that is four feet tall.  If the cell phone is in a pink case, it’s not right because it doesn’t have glitter on it.  The red shirt will not be worn because it doesn’t carry some name brand on it.  The sixty dollar shoes don’t have orange soles.  The six hundred dollar diamond is Martha’s only gift and Sally had twelve gifts under the tree!  And who can ever be happy with a new dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, or ironing board!  And wouldn’t you love to be married Yurry and be the receiver of that new car with the red ribbon on top!

When I had a job and two sons to buy for, I could come up with a couple hundred dollars each and buy a significant gift that would top what they might get occasionally throughout the rest of the year.  On retirement my four hundred has shriveled and it now needs to be divided between twenty-two people, my gifts are not very awesome!   And my retirement will often come closer to buying for Christmas than many average household budgets!

My rant is over.  Now for an idea that works and my family loves it (if we are able to work in time together).

OUR MOST PLEASURABLE GIFT GIVING CONSISTS OF GIFT GIVING!  I watch for novel items that don’t strain the budget throughout the year.  I don’t plan for any particular person but try to get a variety to suit sex and age groups.  One year I came out with about fifty or sixty items in my Christmas box.  I increase my number of gifts by whatever comes to mind that can be wrapped even including a box of cereal.  At Christmas everyone choose a gift which he has to give away!  We sat in a circle and chose gifts until they ran out. My daughter-in-law one time told me the box of garden bags was the best gift she ever received.  Probably a bit of over-speech but obviously an unforgettable gift!   At one time one of the guys unwrapped an antique oil can (among the most expensive things I ever bought); he reluctantly, but graciously, gave it away.  However, my sneaky grandson quickly caught on to giving his mother anything he wanted to keep!  Brilliant maneuver!

It is now hard for me to have all family members present, but if a dozen or so show up that’s what we’ll do.  Left overs are still good for another year or they hit the donate box.  My wrapping for this year will start with unclaimed gifts from last year plus some dollar store toddler’s books and Christmas socks.  I found last year’s gifts in the closet the other day!  They were for family members who could not come and I forgot.  So there they sat, top shelf in their giant size Christmas bag!

About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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  1. artseafartsea says:

    What a great idea Oneta! Certainly something to think about doing. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Sunshine Blogger Award | A Real Messy Beautiful Twisted Sunshine

  3. I love this idea. Particularly that you have to then give it away. Sounds like it is a lot of fun.

    • oneta hayes says:

      We have fun. We take it kind of lightly when someone cheats a bit like the grandson giving to mommy when he knew he would get it back when he got home. The grownups pretty well play fair! And in the end everybody will get something because the adults watch out for that, although we don’t make a big to-do about it if someone gets one and others get three or four. The gifts are almost never of much value. Just more novelty. Set of ceramic dogs, a colorful three inch high cowboy boot, hand sanitation, can of tomato juice, calendar, planning book. Just fun stuff. I’m going to be wrapping everything I can find tomorrow. I will have to buy some because I gave away quite a few things to the church Christmas room before I knew the kids were coming. I expect to be able to buy twenty-five items for less than a hundred dollars and I probably have twenty-five things stuck around here that I can use. We will probably be able to go around the circle three times. That’s my goal. Any more can get boring.

  4. shoreacres says:

    There are so many creative ways to approach gift giving. No matter how it’s done, I think it’s important that it’s done. I’m not one who says Christmas is more spiritual if there are no gifts — I think it’s just the opposite. A carefully chosen gift that’s cherished over the years carries memories of a person and past celebrations. And fun gifts like yours carry their memories, too — of the truth that the act of giving is as — or more! — important than the gift.

    Besides, if gifts were good enough for the Three Kings, they’re good enough for me. 🙂

    • oneta hayes says:

      I was teaching a class this morning, called “The Worship of the Magi.” I had prepared a discussion of what makes gifts valuable to us based on the Magi. The commercial value, the time expended, and the sacrifice they made (they were likely influential people who were willing to give up their positions of influence to take a leave of absence for up to three or four years. A neighboring teacher brought me a gift of a key chain made of a tip of a deer horn with my name and his initials engraved. (Actually he brought two – one for me and one for my husband.) It was a gift that was perfect for a object lesson to illustrate the point of my teaching. Yes, if giving was good enough for the Three Kings, it’s good enough for me; also if receiving was good enough for Jesus, I should learn to be a better receiver! Are you a gracious receiver?

  5. Megan says:

    What a great reminder to be thankful for what we are given instead of making ourselves miserable by comparing it to someone else’s gift. There will always be someone with more than us, but there is also always someone who has less. And really, our family and our health is enough to be thankful for. 🙂
    Anyway, I thought I’d let you know that I nominated you for a loyalty award https://invisibleworldd.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/dragons-loyalty-award/
    Thank you for all your uplifting comments! 🙂

    • oneta hayes says:

      Thank you, Megan. Your comments mean much to me. You are such an amazing writer. And thank you for the award. I accept and I will get around to acknowledging and passing on. I have been shooting award material to a particular folder which I take care of about once a month so I will attend to it before too long. Thank you.

  6. Beautiful post. I am always focused and grateful for what I have. Thanks for sharing these sweet thoughts with us.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Thanks, lonely author. Sometimes I think there is nothing like recovery from a few months tumble with ill health to make one re-evaluate his priorities. Net result is often an appreciation and thankfulness for the good things that we take for granted.

  7. Loved this. I feel very blessed to have two eleven year old monsters who are excited about anything. My one daughter is far more interested in getting for the rest of us than giving.

  8. oneta hayes says:

    Thank you, Nicole. Bought a lot of my “giving” gifts today. You probably know duct tape comes in colors but did you know it comes in camouflage and zig-zag colors stripes? I had a lot of fun in the hardware/automobile department. Wallpaper decals, stick on digital lights, car vent air fresheners, air pressure gauges, goo-off – lots of stuff. My kids are going to think grandma is losing it, or they are going to think I’m pretty cool. I’m betting my Christmas joy on “cool” – or whatever word means cool now-a-days. Merry Christmas the whole season long..

  9. dawnlizjones says:

    Oneta, this is just wonderful. I LOVE the giving part also, and the last two years up to now we did a contest with points based on: pre-owned, handmade, bought from a charity shop (like Goodwill), and get this–ZERO points for something bought new retail. It was a BLAST! We are so of like mind! Blessings to you , and please do update us on what some of the “best” presents are this year at your gathering!

  10. oneta hayes says:

    Dawnliz, I love your idea. I bet you came up with novel gifts! I have about three dozen items here at my feet begging to be put into bags. Christmas tomorrow. I get an extra day – my family will be here Saturday! I found some special camouflage masking tape and WD40. That should surprise someone! Perhaps I can report the most up-and-coming pantry or garage items. I have a two dollar bill attached to the back of a Christmas card on top of an empty box. That should be fun!

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