Friday, November 28, 2008


We hope you are enjoying your long weekend with your family and had a great Thanksgiving day. For those of you brave enough, we hope you are finding some great sales. We will open this post for those who might want to take a break and sit down to the computer and discuss something in the blogging world.


themrs said...

i think black friday is always a stark reminder for me of american consumerism. i always go out early with my mom for those really good deals i just can't pass up. as i looked around at some of the carts around me i was astounded by the sheer volume that some were buying. we try really hard to keep christmas modest and have a policy to not use credit at all. i used to charge much of christmas and spent half the next year paying it off. all to buy things like toys that my kids will have disregarded within two weeks. i've really been trying this year to buy things with meaning. we are probably the poorest this year that we've ever been at christmas (that's what happens when you have four kids and one income :) one of the things i'm doing is writing a letter to everyone in mylife about what they mean to me. what do you guys think about this?

Nina Bell said...

That is such a great idea. We are financially stable but my husband and I have decided to scale back this year on what we purchased for each other and our children. We really don't need anything. Want is another issue.

We really don't exchange gifts anymore with brothers and sisters. I think this year they will get a letter from me about how much having them in my life has meant. Thank you for the suggestion.

FIONA said...

I think writing a letter is great. I love cheesy, love-filled sentiments.

I don't ever shop during this weekend, can't stand the crowds.

I have always gone overboard in the past, but have promised myself to stay on budget this year.

My hubby is very into dontating to Toys for Tots-so we have a set amount set aside for that as well.

jace said...

That's a terrific idea, themrs. They will treasure it.

This year we have decided we are going to have a very modest Christmas in regard to what we buy. We are going to really concentrate on family traditions and making memories together: baking, watching Christmas specials, playing games, Christmas lights, etc. There are lots of thing that we can do for little or no cost. Kids appreciate undivided attention from mom and dad more than we think they do. And memories last longer than the latest gadget. :)

The shopping I do have is done because I hate setting foot in the stores if I don't have to after Thanksgiving. Oy.

FIONA said...


We have stopped with the brother's and sister's as well. There are niece's and nephew's that we will buy for but like you, I don't need anything...except a new laptop, which I hope to send out a "Merry Christmas" on Christmas morning!!!

Having an only child I have always overindulged, but this year I told her to make a list, a short list at that. Too bad the item at the top of that list is a new pair of skis!

Saint said...

Well, I NEVER shop on Black Friday because I LOVE sleeping in, but today we did it! We went to get something for our youngest, and it was a MADHOUSE!!! I have never seen so many people shopping at once. Ugh! My first thought was, "I am going to get the flu here." We went in, and we were done before the oxygen in the store ran out. (I am claustrophobic.) Then we took a little drive around the county because his car has "bun warmer" seats and gas is so CHEAP!!! We like to look at farms and geese and it was frosty and pretty out. I'll take the drive and chat with my husband again, but that was my first, and last, Black Friday.

We're scaling back, too, though I've never spent more than I've had at Christmas. We're "pay as you go" by nature, and will weather the pending job loss pretty well.

HBIC8u said...

I was up at 3am doing my black friday shopping online and it was great except for the fact that I had to have coffee to even make it to the computer and then couldn't go back to sleep! I'm exausted, but I got some great deals and didn't have to push through a crowd to get them. Oh, how I love the internet:-)

Mom said...

Ditto here on the online thing. I live about 2 miles from one of the busiest malls in my city. I avoid it at all costs. I ended up finding out that one of the online stores had what my H wanted (ski vest) and his size (Tall XL) was only available online. I would have been pretty peeved had I dragged the little one out, stood in traffic, etc. and then they didn't have it.


Two low-cost / no-cost ideas for gift giving:

Something I really enjoy is baking. I buy all the containers and boxes the previous year at an Xmas closeout sale. I bake for about 2-3 straight days. I also buy xmas towels for the kitchen and then wrap them together and give to family as presents.

I takes LOTS of pictures throughout the year. I will take a special pic and frame them for family members. This year my sister had me take pictures of her family for their xmas cards. I got SO many good pics that I shot of my niece and her new dog and my nephew and his girlfriend, I'm going to get a collage frame and give that to my sister.

I have found over the years of buying, etc. that most people really enjoy the sentiment of personal crafted items, be it letter, photographs, baked goods, etc.

Nina - CUTE polar bear pic!

SamanthaNC said...

I'M EXHAUSTED! I go shopping on Black Friday every year and this year was by far the craziest! I stood in line at Toys R Us for 45 minutes. People were nuts. My feet hurt and I'm happy to be home! Up since 4am and a nap is calling my name. We always stick to a strict Christmas buget bc it's so easy not to realize how MUCH you're spending. My mother in law tends to go crazy shopping for our daughter. They are able to buy her BIG ticket items that we definitley could not and this sounds terrible bc I AM happy that she can have the BIG stuff- but it kind of makes everyhing we get her pale in comparison, you know? It's silly bc it shouldnt matter.... anyway I digress. Have a great Friday night!

merryway said...

themrs, I think that's a sweet idea. I have a card from 16 years ago that a friend sent to me one day after we had lunch. I saw her often at work, so it was a surprise. It was such a loving note I saved it. She faced a young death one year later. It was a comfort that I had her note and she had taken the time to send it. Not trying to be a downer, it's just that those things are real treasures.

I haven't shopped on black Friday in many many years. I love the Internet and ebay!

I have only one little for which to shop. She is the only girl and most positively the last. The toys they have now are so colorful and hi tech that I want them to try out for myself. I will be restrained by common sense and $ limits, but it makes for hard choices.

As we all get older, we have become more restrained each Christmas. We are giving less and trying to give what the other may really need. I am totally against all the overproduction, too much waste.

I also like Nina's polar bear pic. After the gorilla's, they're my fav at the zoo.

themrs said...

i actually came up with the idea for the letters due to a loss. last year my husband lost a close friend a week before christmas. we hadn't seen him in a while due to busy schedules and i know he's always regretted that. it was a reminder to me that life is short and you never know how long you have to tell someone how you feel. another poster mentioned taking pics for gifts and i do that too. this year i took a pic for each set of grandparents of all the grandkids. i can matte and frame it for really cheap and i know they'll love it. i also do a lot of photo gifts from snapfish. i came across a website that gives discount codes for every website imaginable and i will use those to do calenders for the grandmas. i found discount codes for 20 percent off so the calenders will only be around ten dollars! i do love a good deal :)

scarfoot said...

Did you hear about the Wal-Mart employee who was trampled to death this morning? I just can't get over that. I'm not much of a shopper anyway, so I always stay in. However, how crazy are people about buying things that they will actually continually run someone over until he is dead??? All so they can save a few bucks!

I'm just thankful for Amazon!

I adore Christmas, and I love giving gifts, but I feel like Christmas giving has gotten away from the meaningful exchange it was meant to be, and has turned into a greedy gift-fest. I love the ideas posted here.

Anya said...

Hope everyone had a good holiday yesterday.

I like the practical advice everyone is sharing. Letters, pictures and baking are wonderful ways to share the season and demonstrate what people mean to us. I also agree online is the way to go for most stuff.

Ugh on Black Friday. Did you guys see about the Wal-Mart employee who was trampled to death?:

If that doesn't show the ugly side of American commercialism, I don't know what does.

Unfortunately, I do have to go out today :-( to get a birthday gift that I should have gotten weeks ago. Wish me luck. I am going to try and head out after dark so hopefully the throngs will have thinned out.

michelle said...

For awhile I have been wondering if Kate Gosselin is misunderstood. I know in one episode, Kate had stated the fact that she is an introvert.
Being an introvert myself, I know that I recharge my "battery" by needing alone time. But, some people (usually extroverts) have and can mistake this as being stand-offish(sp) or even stuck-up. Which is further from the truth.
While Kate is not perfect, but who is??, I really do wonder if she is misunderstood.

MonicaW42 said...

I stayed in today and worked on my scrapbook that I haven't done in ages. I am glad I did. I heard it was crazy out there.

Also in addition to the Wal-mart employee getting trampled, two people were shot to death inside Toys R Us in Palm Desert Ca. It makes you afraid if you have small children to go out.

Glad you guys were all safe out there today.

girlme said...

Here is an idea - My boyfriend and I of three years decided our first Christmas that we didn't "need" anything. (we were poor college students) so we chose to adopt another family and bought them gifts with the money we would have used for each other.

It really made us appreciate the true meaning of Christmas.

Anya said...

michelle said...
For awhile I have been wondering if Kate Gosselin is misunderstood. I know in one episode, Kate had stated the fact that she is an introvert.
Being an introvert myself, I know that I recharge my "battery" by needing alone time. But, some people (usually extroverts) have and can mistake this as being stand-offish(sp) or even stuck-up.

Michelle, I think you make an excellent point. One that we should probably consider expanding into a feature that people can comment on further.

I really do see Kate as an introvert at heart. She is in a difficult position with these intrinsic needs she has that are not being met. Econimically, she has to keep the PR machine and show going, but I doubt any of it makes her happy.

As an introvert myself, I really do relate for her need for calm and quiet. I have been accused of being standoffish too and nothing could be further from the truth. I do care what others think, but my alone time is something I have to have.

Kate doesn't ever get that alone time. Obviously, her choices to date in life have brought her to where she is, but I still do have sympathy for her because I know what it feels like to be going a mile a minute and desperately needing a chance to process it alone.

nomoredrama said...

I just finished some Black Friday shopping. I'll be scaling back this year too but it's hard for me because I absolutely love Christmas and love giving gifts.

Today was like a giant stimulous to the economy :-) I don't think it will have long term significance but I'll be interested to see how the numbers from this Black Friday compare with previous years.

For the past few months, my mind has mostly been on politics and...pretty much wondering what is going to happen. Scary times....but I hope that everyone forgets about it for a while to have a nice holiday (whatever you celebrate) with their families.

Guinevere said...

I love Christmas too - giving gifts *and* getting gifts!

That said, as the years have passed, I've tried to be more mindful about getting thoughtful presents, regardless of cost, rather than just meaningless "stuff" so that I can check so-and-so off my list and feel like I spent enough on that person. That sort of thing makes the holidays feel like a chore.

I do not do the early-morning Black Friday stuff. Way too crazy for me, and I tend to be a last minute (week before Xmas) shopper, so I wouldn't even necessarily want to be getting presents so early. I'd probably end up buying stuff for myself if I went!

Nina Bell said...

I work in an office with a group of six others who supervise several hundred employees who work in different locations in a very large city. In December we have a holiday meeting and in the past employees would bring gifts for us as well as each other.

Several years ago, we contacted the local county social service branch and asked what we could do to help kids in foster care. They gave us a card filled out for each foster child with their first name, age, gender and a short wish list of what that child would like for Christmas. We asked our employees to buy gifts for the foster children instead of us(we appreciated the gifts but really how much candy can you eat?)

In our November meeting we each pick a card and bring the gift to our December meeting and place it under the tree. Everyone loves it. This year I chose a 17 year old male named Tony. His wish list includes a wrist watch, cologne and dress shirts. All reasonable requests and far less money than I would spend on multiple small gifts that really are not needed.

merryway said...

Nina, that is a wonderful idea. I used to be a foster mom but I only did respite on the weekends for other foster parents. Those kids always broke my heart.
Johny Carson used to read letters to Santa Clause from needy children. They were so sad and touching, they almost always asked for a present for someone else and it was usually a basic need or to help in someway.

Mrsref, I think I will do a calendar for my parents. I love the idea and it meets the requirement of something you use everyday. Thanks for the idea!

themrs said...

nina bell- that is really awesome that your company is doing this. i was a case manager for foster kids before i left to stay home with my own kids. many of these kids would love to just have a the basics that most of us take for granted. i'll never forget a client i had whose first request to her new foster mom was her own deoderant that she didn't have to share! i'm sure this simple act on your part makes a huge impact on those kids lives!

merryway said...

I'm sorry, I got names confused, I didn't mean to call you mrsref when I was thanking you for the idea of the calendar. My fingers don't always do what my mind tells them.

nomoredrama said...

That is an awesome idea!!! Love it!

marci said...

Hi all!

Hope you are all enjoying the holiday weekend.

You're all making great suggestions for thoughtful holiday gift giving.

We've backed off to buying presents only for the kiddies in the family...whose number is growing as I just found out my youngest sister is preggers with her first!! YAY!!

Nina, the foster kid gifting is really wonderful. So many kids I know (including my own) have to watch tv or go shopping to "come up" with stuff for Santa to bring. It's too easy to forget there are kids out there who would just be happy with a new outfit for school or ANY toy. Thanks for the reminder.

I think we'll be having our son make some donations from his toy *collection* before he gets anything new this year. Usually his smaller cousins get his "hand me downs," but I'm sure there are kids out there who could really use them.

Off to see "Bolt" tonight! Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!!

Saint said...

It really does feel better to give than to receive. Nina, that's a really great idea for office gift-giving.

themrs said...

i will look up the name of the site i was talking about with discount codes and post it. it's pretty cool!

Ruthe said...

I also have done much of my shopping online. I just can't get over the many sites offering free shipping. These costs have always been a bugaboo for me. All three kids are teens so the things they need/want are larger and therefore, the lists are smaller. Unfortunately, I do use credit. Hubbie gets an annual bonus that comes around the 10th of December and I can't put off the shopping that long because I have around 30 guests coming for Christmas day. My husband is one of 6, all with children and all scattered all over the country. For that side of the family, everyone picks a name from a hat at Thanksgiving so that we buy just one gift per person. With my five siblings we have great fun with Yankee swaps. One for the adults, and one for the kids. Again each person is just buying one gift. Personally, I love to shop so cutting down the on the number of gifts allows me to find something special for all on my list.

Nina Bell said...


How do you like Atlanta, GA?
I have never been. What is the weather like there. Are the people as friendly as you?

Lizabeth said...

I love all of your ideas, as well-- I am not one for Black Friday shopping, but mainly because I have yet to see a deal worth being up at 3 AM for! I have four brothers and two sisters in law (so far) so we do draw names and limit the gift to 40 or 50 dollars so we can all focus on getting a really great gift for one person instead of being financially spread too thin. We also get group gifts for our parents (like a fantastic $300 stand mixer for my mom this year) then everyone gets something for my nieces and nephews.
I start another grad school class this week, so I won't be on here as much-- it has been wonderful to get to know some of you on this site, and I will be checking in when I can between work, school projects, and trying to have a life!

scarfoot said...

Good luck in your next class, Lizabeth! I just graduated in July with my Masters. I had no life. I did spend a tremendous amount of time on my laptop, in class, reading this website! Shh! Don't tell! Thanks, GDDNOP, for getting me through my second degree. Stay around for the next one.

scarfoot said...

Two degrees, and I cannot spell.

Make that GDNNOP!

Lizabeth said...

Haha-- thanks, scarfoot! I even found this past week as I start up on homework and get back in the game that I've let certain 'fun' things slip. Such is life when you pursue a degree though... my main goal is to try to keep time for friends, family, and my boyfriend while also staying up on homework.

I think this time of year makes me remember where my priorities are even more clearly. I have so many hopes of catching up with friends or making time for family all year, but it never seems to work out due to being busy. Christmas means making that time, so I hope to enjoy nights of board games (or Scene It on my brothers xbox 360) and long talks with friends while sipping hot cocoa.

(Tonight, for instance, my mom and I watched 'Eloise at Christmastime'. She had never seen it before, but I knew it well from a past nannying job with a seven year old girl who wanted to live at the Plaza. It was an enjoyable time-- made me wonder if Cara and Mady have seen this movie, and whether they have Eloise-like dreams!!)

nomoredrama said...

LOL! Scarfoot, I feel ya. Thats how it was for me too...though now I took a job where I still have no life, working ridiculous hours at ridiculous times.

seeing the light said...

i know this is way off topic but i had to share it. remember recently when a woman wrote on her blog about an experience she had seeing J&K speak at a church? she had been a fan but was not so much after seeing them. well, on her blog there are TONS of comments. she now has an update at the top that she has had one person posting as LOTS of different people so she marked all those comments as spam but left them up. she said that all those different screen names are the same IP. i thought that was so funny. i told her i know some other sites that should employ the same tactic. GWOP anyone?

michelle said...


It's nice to meet another introvert.

I agree, I think it should be expanded into a feature that people can comment on further. Perhaps other people can see other ways in which Kate is misunderstood.

Lizabeth said...

The person who attended the church gathering posted another blog with some basic info on J & K which is interesting.
Even more interesting is how people begin the "OMG THEY ARE LIARZ!!!11!" Seriously? Because a year ago they taped 4 days a week and now that some things changed its only twice? I really do want a balanced view of all this Gosselin world, but when people chose to be so childish and idiotic in their responses and retorts I start leaning more and more on the "Kate is great" side...