A sense of guilt


The gauntlet has no sooner been laid down and I’m already worrying about meeting my £5 a present Scrooge target, let alone coming in under budget. The Wild West book Dad asked me to get him from Amazon (how can you tell your own Dad, no?! I must instigate tough love!) has already cleaned out £15 of my present budget, even though I didn’t buy it brand new. This means two other people on my list could be looking at a lean Christmas. Although I realised I’d stupidly left two other people off my list, whose budgets, if I massage the figures, could help make up Dad’s present budget…What a tangled web we weave! Luckily DJ has told me he wants a second hand book from Amazon on golf, which costs 60p, although of course the postage will be about £2.

Cowardly, despite my previous brave words, I fear parental & friend disapproval. Mum & Dad’s Christmas parcel for me & DJ arrived the other morning and it is ENORMOUS. The guilt is setting in…What if their presents are lovely and expensive and they look at mine and think they’re a heap of junk? What’s more, there’s that ridiculous feeling that giving just one item isn’t enough. But I need to get over this and Think Scrooge. What would Scrooge do? Help me Ebenezer! He wouldn’t worry about what other people think!

And now I could have to find some presents for free, I’m trying to think of the possibilities. This weekend I stocked up on wool and knitting needles but knitting time is running out really, unless its baby clothes. Regifting or offering homemade vouchers to friends for services I could offer – ie. babysitting, decorating etc. may be the way forward. Last year for the first time I did a regift. I’d bought a very nice item of clothing for myself from a smart store but I hadn’t worn it and then my Mum bought me one exactly the same. So cheekily wrapped up the one I’d bought and gave it to my friend. I won’t say what it was in case she’s reading this (!) But I sat there like a lemon while she unwrapped it, worrying she would guess and think less of me. How could she? It was good quality & had never been used. And otherwise it would only have ended up rotting at the bottom of my wardrobe.

Social conditioning is a terrible thing. This impulse we have to give a big or expensive present is nothing at all about trying to please that person and give them what they want, but about status. We want to prove to them and especially ourselves that we have loads of money and are exceptionally generous, and yet many of us are racking up ridiculous levels of credit card debt to do so. Madness!

Another possibility though, I have since discovered, is the wonderful Superdrug. They sell toiletry sets for £2.99 and the cheapest present I found in there was a little set of bath salts for 49p! Brilliant!

How will you be paying for Christmas this year? Would you feel guilty handing over a present that you’d been given yourself or that cost less than £1?

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3 Responses to A sense of guilt

  1. Ava says:

    You can get amazing things at charity shops for under a fiver.  Many things are next to new and odd things that people don\’t expect to find, even things you once had as a child are a great \’kitsch\’ gifts for those who always get the bland same old predicatable thing.  It\’s the thought that counts…many familys and groups of friends nowadays draw a name from a hat to chose who buys who a present.  Now, I\’d rather get lots of gifts for a fiver than ONE gift from ONE person!!  But ultimately, it\’s the thought that counts and why do people insist on going broke for the next 5 months paying for that gift and how much is it really appreciated? If you can afford to splurge and you WANT to, thats one thing…I don\’t know of any rule set in stone that says you HAVE to buy anyone an expensive gift for Xmas. It\’s just gotten out of hand now anyway. It\’s more for the kids. We should give gifts unexpectedly thru the year instead, so much more the surprise.

  2. Nina says:

    I am knitting for christmas presents too! Good old 12 mm needles will have scarves made in no time! In the shop we have some fab mini book kits for £5, you could give them to crafty friends or make them up and stick some photos in for non crafty friends……. I am at work all weekend so feel free to pop in and I\’ll show you what I am talking about. x

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