It’s midnight and I can’t sleep and since Black Friday has technically passed by already I figure I should probably set up parameters for the next challenge. Admittedly I didn’t plan this part of the Year too well. I’ve still got SEVEN DAYS of no sugar to go, and when I almost fell off of a wagon I hadn’t quite fully stepped up onto yet I realized there’s gonna be some overlap. So here it is (self and five people who read this), the next Challenge of my year:
I will neither give nor receive a holiday gift this season. Nor will I willfully buy any holiday anything.
This has already proved hard. I go into stores. And stores sell things. Pretty things. Shiny red and green and silver and gold things. And even though I learned a LOT from the no shopping challenge, I have a weakness — a silly dark secret — for those things because of my dorky love for the holidays.
I’m not Christian (or religious, but very catholic family), but I can get behind the man they call Jesus. Be kind and generous and more patient with others? Sign me up! Serve and give and love? Yes! And I loooooooooove the kitsch of Christmas. I own dozens of movies, from cheesy to classic to cult. I listen to Christmas music in September when I’m sad. My roommate and I bought tickets to Holiday Inn in August and I cry when the Rockettes kick (WHY?!?!). My family is HUGE on gift giving and holiday cheer n stuff. I have enough traditions and full out geeky joys that will make this a rough challenge for reasons I’ll get into when my eyes aren’t watering blood (I’m being dramatic — I’m stressing over a project and can’t sleep so this is helping me feel productive but my body has shut down).
But the commercialization and pressure everyone puts on themselves and others? Not so much. Every year, the buying part of the holidays get so much weirder for me to handle. And since this year is about taking a break from and studying the things that unsettle me, I have a feeling there will be a lot to learn from taking a step back.
Now, here are the rules:
- No giving or receiving of gifts with family or friends (those I regularly exchange with are aware and on board).*
- No “holding it” until January.
- No buying something to make as a gift…
- … unless it’s edible. Cookies and other baked goods are okay. (Participating in traditions is one thing – commercialism is another.)
- We can do something together instead, but not as a gift exchange. (Spending time together is okay – buying someone an experience is not.)
- Buying a host/ess or thank you gift when attending something is okay, but I’ll mark my choices during this. Today, for example, I bought a candle and some chocolates for some friends whose dinner party I’m attending and bought a non-holiday bag for them — were it a Christmas party, would I do the same?! I’ll decide at the time and note this.
- No buying anything for my house that’s holiday themed other than my fresh Christmas tree. I have everything I need. No buying stuff because it’s sparkly and red and green.
That’s it for now!
*I’m told that my dog should not have to suffer for my crazy creative explorations. So Mitra will still be getting presents this year, though I’ve made it clear I’m not allowed to buy any for the menagerie my family has collected between us. Which, now that I think of it, makes me sad. So expect many cute pics of animals with holiday themes. Like this: