The Guilt of Gift Giving

Christmas Gift Making
Giving for Christmas - Mikey
Giving for Christmas – Mikey

Christmas for some people can be doom, dread and the reality of commercialism buries the joyous feelings we are supposed to have. Some of you have been there where people are opening presents and you feel like what you got wasn’t up to par. You’re hoping for a polite smile and thanks.

As a child, my parents raised us so that our Christmas wasn’t overinflated with gifts. One gift from Santa, Two Gifts that are from my parents, a few gifts of essentials like socks, underwear. So there were only really three gifts that were unneeded items.

Social Media Really Shows You…

It was still exciting and when you don’t participate with another family, at least pre-internet, you don’t realize others have a different view of Christmas. I have to say, I’ve been on Tik Tok and absolutely floored by the amount of gift-giving a person receives. Call me a Grinch but I cannot help but not think excitement but think about the level of greed and expectation those kids are going to have when they get older and may not have the money to do such overblown Christmas events. 

Binky Boo on Blanket
Binky Boo on Blanket

I participated in Christmas for a few short years where Christmas was a big deal. The presents, the meal, the shuffling of visiting people and scheduling. Man, it’s like you need a break after Christmas. I had never seen gift-giving to that degree before and things weren’t cheap. I’m a cheap guy and I am a budgeter and in my head, I am trying to analyze, how in the hell does everyone afford this? 

You just have to participate once and you know, you better step it up next year as one gift per person isn’t going to cut it. It’s not the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the season to dread if your life and financial situation aren’t under control. The pressure is real, you cannot convince me otherwise. 

Life Hits the Skids

Our lives hit the skids with a few bad decisions, maxed our credit and Christmas is coming soon. What are we going to do? We cannot even charge anything to our cards to fake that we are doing okay. We’ve bought a house we cannot afford to live in. The car has been broken into and needing repairs. It’s like OMG, I need to put a closed sign up on my chimney to delay the big boy (Santa) from coming.

 

What are we going to do? Like seriously… Any of you have been in this situation. Leave me a comment on this blog to share your story. 

More Free Patterns

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  2. 100 Caron Cakes Patterns
  3. Crochet Trapper Hat Pattern

Trying to Strategize Christmas

As I grew older, my parents stopped doing Christmas Gift Giving as soon as I left home at the age of 18. So for my family, it was just a quick afternoon visit without dinner. It was more of check-in and watch TV. So there was no pressure there. In time, there was no tree or decor. It was so much easier.

The other side of the family was still the big Christmas and that’s what we couldn’t negotiate around. People say they understand but at the moment, you realize they are disappointed that what you said was true and they haven’t pulled back their spending to adjust for us so we wouldn’t get so much. Honestly, we didn’t need a thing.

One year was so rough that we had to be creative in order to keep up with the Jones’, as per se. I could crochet and it’s the only thing I could think of. I waited for sales on yarn and decided that I would make everyone their own Christmas Throw for their sofas. With Christmas decor being high on their priority, I felt that I could make them something they can work into their holiday decor that could be put away and brought back out each year. That would be our gift and for you, the crocheter, you know the time it takes. There has to be value in time.

They Were Gracious in Receiving

Christmas Gift Making
Christmas Gift Making

They seemed to like my gift, sincerely like it. And yes, I made the blanket in the Red, Green and White iconic colours of Christmas that they felt were important. It was about them, not me.

For 2021, I wanted to revive the feeling of gift-giving from a point of view of being cash-strapped and creative. To me, in the 90’s, it was rough but the blankets came back out year after year until that part of my life ended.

For me, Christmas isn’t Red, White or Green but more colourful in explosions of colour but I really do like the Traditional Colours of Christmas the most such as browns, burgundies, gold and dated Saint Nicholas time era colours.

Gift-giving, like craft shows, isn’t about me, it’s about the receiver. I look at the yarn I have and know there are gifts to be made if I am ever feeling in the pinch.

The art of being grateful and realizing that others may not be as fortunate as you are. I’m currently working on a new design that our testers have already completed in the iconic Red, White and Green but also crocheted the sample in a solid colour for visual comparison.

It will take Red Heart Super Saver O’Go 7 oz. This is available Walmart, Walmart Online and Yarnspirations.com for those who prefer to order online.

  • 2 O’Gos of White
  • 2 O’Gos of Cherry
  • 2 O’Gos of Hunter

With the Pandemic and stock availability on pretty much everything, you may find yourself staring into the abyss of empty shelves and wondering what to do. This is what I would do, look to your yarn stash or get some yarn and create your Christmas instead of buying things already made.

Free pattern will be coming soon. I have to finish the prototype. 

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13 Comments

  1. Jocelyn

    I had similar experiences some of my in-laws. The hosting family bought a ridiculous number of gifts for themselves and their child. The families who flew in could not bring an equivalent number of gifts for Christmas morning. So the kid who is part of the hosting family open gifts for hours while the other kids sat around to watch. Fortunately things have improved with time.

    • Mikey

      It’s releasing on Nov 8th. I need more time to film it or people will complain it’s not available.

  2. Laura Nickel

    1991-With my 1st hubby stationed in military in California and 3 kids. They would get spoiled by grandparents. Would take 3 hours opening presents. Fast forward 1995-2009 we only did Christmas with his family. Had to buy everyone something and homemade gifts frowned upon. I remember finding handmade stuff in trash or never seen again. Never had alot of money and ex would pay rent late during Christmas season and if you had money got the nice gifts I always got things like plastic food containers. After divorce had a couple years of not worrying about Christmas. Got remarried. New hubby’s family is well to do. Again takes 4 hours to do presents. Spoiled rotten. They love handmade thankfully but so much pressure. 2020 they thought I hated them cause I wanted to stay home and be safe. Guilt tripped hubby to go with out me. And forced him to turn off phone. I was videoing in to Christmas. (Autoimmune disorder). This year I am making a couple things for people. And not making anything after Dec 1. I am going to actually enjoy the holiday /50th bday month. Watch my Christmas movies and spoil my self with quiet and projects for me. Love your fun ideas for a maker’s Christmas. Keep up the great work. Finding The Crochet Crowd helps me feel I belong somewhere. ❤

  3. Amanda Nappier

    With an older home that needs fixing up and two toddlers my extended family’s Christmas Eve parties were something i dreaded. How to give EVERYONE something they’d appreciate when i have 20 people to shop for. So instead of doing cookies or a “premade dinner” kit, we make jerky for the adults. The marinade is always pantry staples and the meat is significantly cheaper than anything I’d be able to buy gift wise. It’s now become our yearly tradition to do so that i don’t stress as much over the holiday.

  4. Ellen

    Even though I have four kids and grandkids, I don’t see any on Christmas. My family isn’t hallmark. Two we don’t see anymore and two spend Christmas Eve and Christmas with their other side or friends. So I hate Christmas. Very lonely time for us, but me especially. I can’t wait for it to be over. I started putting up my tree and mini tree with decorations last year again. I do it for me. Hopefully the joy will come back doing my own traditions.

    • Mikey

      Your statement about your family not ‘being hallmark’ is so true for so many people. So thought-provoking.

  5. Shellie

    I grew up much like you. My single dad didn’t have a lot of money and gifts were few and a mix of things I needed and a couple of things I wanted. You know what I remember the most though? The time I spent with my family. As young parents my husband and I made some bad/irresponsible financial choices on top of not having a lot of money to begin with and I remember one year in particular when we didn’t have a lot of money so we only bought a couple of gifts for each of our kids and none for each other. It was hands down the most enjoyable Christmas we’ve ever had. I love giving gifts, whether I purchase them or make them. Giving brings me great joy but at the same time as I grow older, I realize most of us don’t need things as much as we need each other so my husband and I are considering paying for a family trip (nothing extravagant- can’t afford tropical holidays) where we can simply be in the presence of each other and enjoy fun family activities/meal preparation and build memories. Being the gift giver that I am though, I will probably still put one or two wrapped gifts under the tree for each of my beloveds, but yes less focus on presents and more focus on presence is our ultimate goal.

  6. Michele Andrew

    Back in the 50s and 60s when I was young, our christmases were one main gift,from Santa, one from mom and dad, maybe some from relatives such as cookies or a new winter coat. One year my old doll was sitting under the tree, all cleaned up, with a brand bew dress. I was elated. As I grew older, I realized my parents were really strapped that Christmas and my mom made the dress with left over fabric she had. I felt so blessed. As I grew up aj nd had a child, my folks kept Christmas light but mybonlaws showerd our son with so many gifts hecwas over whelmed. And so it began! But my son, who us now a grandpa him self, has always kept Christmas low key for his family. He hated all the fuss. They even draw names for the adults.

  7. Annie

    Mikey,
    This was great. While I’m not currently strapped for cash, I find gift giving to be awkward and unpleasant. To me, it cheapens the holiday. Just reading about another discomfort around the holiday makes me feel less Scrooge. I appreciate the words and the ideas. More moments. Less stuff… more happiness.
    Thank you and happy holidays

  8. Ann Feist

    My mom was a single mother in the 60’s. Money wasn’t just tight, it was nonexistent at times. Christmas was still very important to my mom. She made the decorations (this is where my love of crafting began), she baked (also used as gifts…best fudge ever), and she gave her gift of music (mom was a truly gifted pianist). I received 1 gift from her and 1 gift from Santa. Both were toys and I always felt life couldn’t get better.
    Life improved for mom as I hit my teens, but she still gave gifts mostly homemade. She was such a gifted artist…painting, ceramics, crochet, knit. Recipients were always thrilled by her gifts, which in turn made her feel valued. My mom was bi-polar and often felt the dark side.
    I got married at 19 (I’m an adult, right? I know everything, right? 🤦🏼‍♀️). My hubby’s (yeah, still married after 44 yrs) family is huge, lots of gifts, oh boy. We determined that we could afford $10 per person without using credit. They were mostly homemade.
    I have made the majority of our gifts all my life. A legacy from the woman who taught/loved me so very much. Thankfully, our families value what is handmade. Christmas is a wonderful time of year for me. I love to bake with my granddaughter, make our annual gingerbread house. She’s 5 this year and we have begun the process of making Mom, Daddy, and Papa special gift from her. Everyone gets something that I’ve made as well as bought. Our finances have improved from those beginning days.
    Now it is our son’s turn to learn to budget and to make things. He leans toward woodworking and is learning gifts from the kitchen are always appreciated. Hopefully, my granddaughter will continue this legacy that goes back through so many generations.
    I wish you and Daniel a happy and peaceful holiday season.

  9. Buddie Bertrand Pregler

    I love your post on Christmas gift giving. So much truth in it. I too have shared many of those same Christmas get together s. I am much older now and don’t care what others want or think about Christmas. I do it my way. After seeing a literal mountain of gifts being handed out at a family Christmas 20 years ago , my stomach turned, it was disgusting to me and I never went back. I crochet all year long, every night almost. It is my joy and comfort. My favorite projects are small blankets and larger bed covers. I give all year long to people I want to give to. I don’t do Christmas gifting and haven’t for many years. What a relief it has been . To me , Christmas doesn’t mean giving gifts to people who already have enough, it’s about sharing something else. And YES, I do decorate and observe the holiday .

  10. VICKIE HOLLAND

    I certainly remember a Christmas when we lived 1,000 miles from my parents, had 2 little kids and were completely broke. My husband was out of work and needing surgery (so not able to go back to work for a while). We were living in a half built house. The situation was dire. We didn’t know what we were going to do about Christmas and were pretty worried and depressed. Then we got a Christmas box from my parents. It was filled with dollar store type toys for the kids and a $100 check. I can remember the tears of joy over that box and check. We bought 1 or 2 other small things for the kids, cut a tree down in the woods and had a most glorious Christmas. We used most of the money for buying necessities though. When we got over our crisis, I tried to always give to others around Christmas who might be in the same situation–sometimes people I knew, sometimes strangers. I still vividly remember the despair of that Christmas and then the joy. That is what I always hope to share with others around Christmas.

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