Gift-giving can be overwhelming

Gift-giving can be overwhelming

We are all a little more money-conscious right now because of the holiday. As families grow, we add new members to our gift lists and try to figure what is best for whom.

Eventually, it begins to become overwhelming. Is there a time to stop sending gifts to grandchildren who now have their own children? Do we stop giving to our parents? Our siblings? Do we give a family gift or individual gifts to our children and their spouses?

When families are spread all over the world and can’t come home for Christmas, what is the right date to send those gifts to be assured they will arrive on time?

If we buy them locally or online and have them sent, we must descend on the post office, making two or three trips up the steps to reach the back of the line where the great seasonal surprises occur.

You can’t just take your package to the window and mail it. You have to fill out a form with the address you have already printed on the package. This involves leaving the line and working at a table, then juggling packages while trying to get back in line without everyone else thinking you are “ditching.”

The decision is entirely up to you as to when you want the gift to arrive. For this price it will get there next week — for this one, not until after Christmas. See? You don’t even have to make a decision. Then you get the real surprise: the cost of sending. You have already spent maybe $50 on the gift. Another $45 to send it makes it really valuable.

I love giving gifts I think are appropriate for each receiver, but as families grow, choices of gifts get more difficult. Is a gift card or a check an easy way out? If there are 15 or more people involved, will I be spending next year’s first pay check this year?

Thanks to social media, we can pretty much know what clothes and toys the youngest members have. The computer tells us which things are age-appropriate, and we can get somewhat of an idea of sizes, et cetera.

One part of my family invites me to share the opening of gifts on Zoom. It’s not the same as being there, but it beats not even knowing if the gift got there all to heck. I am most appreciative. Last year I sent a package of home-made gluten-free cookies across the country. For the price to send, my recipient could have bought three times as many at the grocery.

I have begun sending gifts, bought online, directly to the homes where they are intended to end up and may or may not get wrapped, not by me. It seems cold and cheap. Still, the thought is there, and we are told, over and over, it’s the thought that counts.

My thoughts this year are with those who are ill, have lost someone dear or are simply lonely during the busy holiday season. May you find joy in lovely memories of holidays past. May you be thankful for those who care about you. Soon it will be another year, and we can start this process all over again.

Email Lee at

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