punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

The Holiday Without Presents

That's not exactly true. My score so far is two offers for loans (which I turned down, I am in debt as it is: karma or otherwise). A mysterious person with the initials "CB" sent my family a book and DVD. I got a hand-made pen. My beloved takayla got some nice candle holders from her coworkers. CR got a new chair and ottoman (for free from CraigsList) since his recliner was falling apart. I got a day off for Christmas Eve.

But this year, medical bills and incredible debt from the last two year's of takayla and CR's unemployment pretty much canceled the ability to give or get gifts within the family this year. As I type this, takayla and CR wanted to sleep in until 11, when we'll eat food that is bad for us like everyone else. A ham may be cooked. Cookies will be consumed. ninjacooter is out with friends, and I spent this morning preparing for a snowstorm (I'm still glad for a White Christmas, sorry, superstition).

I have mixed feelings about no gifts for Christmas. On one hand, I'll be honest, I am ashamed to admit it bums me out. I did have some money set aside to get takayla a birthday present, but that got eaten away by a vet bill and we have to replace the brakes on our car (we crossed 100k miles, and they squeak like crazy). In addition, things aren't getting cheaper for the future, and out income isn't growing. Right now, we're living paycheck-to-paycheck, with a credit buffer for some huge calamity, and buying Christmas presents doesn't count as a "huge calamity." There's guilt and shame, of course, that goes with not having enough to make CR and takayla happy. I tried the whole "I'll give you stuff, don't get me anything," last year but they never go for that, and I can't afford three sets of gifts.

On the other hand, I have a LOT of crap lying around here. What the hell do I need that is gift-worthy? I have boxes and boxes of stuff I don't use or need. A lot of bric-a-brac and doo-dads and toys and books and who knows what else? I need to move it. I hope to have an eBay account and some CraigsList stuff next year so I can limp along with that. Not only will this provide a few extra dollars here and there, but it will reduce the clutter. At the very least, if we are forced to move, it will be less to move. I really tried to picture what I WANT; what material item I could open up on Christmas Day and feel joy?


Nothing. I can't think of a single thing other than "here's some cash for groceries" or "free power bill for a month!" I'm at the point if I needed something for myself for no practical purpose, I'd collapse in guilt. Like my ability to know what I want for just myself is completely gone. People have asked me, and I completely blank. "Books?" I have some already I haven't read yet. "Music?" Got all I need. "Power tools for repairs?" I don't have building material. "Building material?" I don't have time to repair. "Legos?" I have unassembled kits from years ago (and no space to display them). "Tech gadgets?" Man, I have so many old and unsellable stuff... I don't want more. I fear gift cards from places like Best Buy, or some $10 card for Chili's, because I totally don't need that. Last year, I got some gift cards for Target which I used to buy some house supplies and food, so those are okay. I won a gift card for Newegg this year, which I used to buy a replacement battery so takayla could limp along on her dying laptop. Anything I get has to be usable for the group fund. I got bills to pay and mouths to feed. Not Star Trek pizza cutters or a $20 gift card for Steam.

My day off for Christmas Eve? First time in weeks I could hobble up and down stairs (my ankle has been bad), so I cleaned the cat boxes, did some loads of laundry, repaired a hole in the ceiling, broke down an old recliner for garbage, cleaned the rec room, did loads of dishes, cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed, made cookies, took out trash, solicited for some contract work, wrote an article, and did some Katsucon e-mail and paperwork. Nothing gets wasted.

So I am stranded inside with "I want gifts" and "I wouldn't know what to do if I got one." The thing I wish I could ask for, money and time, is just not something someone else can give me.

I really, really hope I don't have to go through this next year.
Tags: christmas, presents
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