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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Gillian’s Holiday Survival Guide

I SPENT ALL MY MONEY AND HAVE NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT
I’m tired of giving gifts. In the past years I’ve found it easiest to agree not to do gifts with friends. Most of my friends are in university, so it seems a little silly to be spending money on presents when we're still struggling to pay off student loans. This year I’ll be doing a secret Santa, and buying gifts for my boyfriend and my family.

THAT ONE’S FOR THE GARAGE SALE
I avoid buying gifts that will end up in the trash bin. I believe in gifts that will be used, read, or eaten. Pre-made gift baskets and gift sets may seem appealing because they’re festive and presentable, but half of the contents usually end up being useless.

TO WRAP OR NOT TO WRAP?
Wrapping paper is expensive. It’s expensive and it's not long before it's torn up and lying in heaps on your living room floor. Add on Christmas cards, ribbon and tape and your gifts are getting pricier by the second. There are a few ways out of this. You can either get your gifts wrapped at the store, buy cheap wrapping paper at the dollar store or IKEA, make your own out of craft paper, or use newspapers, magazines and shoeboxes to come up with something unique.

BOOZE AND CHOCOLATE
I always feel like liquor and chocolate consume my Christmas holidays. I have nothing wrong with this. But this year, I’m trying to stick to the 85% dark chocolate that makes me feel like I could fly, and to limit my drinks at holiday parties. I have a four drink limit that will allow me to feel great the next day. Truth be told, I don’t like cheap chocolate and I don’t like hangovers.

CONSUMER HEAVEN
Suddenly department stores are laden with great gift ideas, beautiful boxes of colorfully wrapped chocolate, cheap gift packs and all the answers to your holiday cheer. Every time I walk into these stores I have to reality check myself, stop in my tracks, and repeat the words “I do not need any of this and it will not make me happy”. Then I dance through the store to the cheesy Christmas music while dodging women with perfume samples.

MY GIRL LIKES TO PARTY ALL THE TIME
Christmas parties can be fun. It’s nice to see the quiet kid in the corner drink too much rum and eggnog and run around with his pants off. But I can only handle so much mingling and drunken debauchery, so this year I’ve been taking it easy. There are a few Christmas parties I plan on attending, drink in one hand, sugar cookie in the other, but there are others I have avoided. The reality is I only have so many nice outfits, and my social skills wear thin after a while.

AND I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR
I work in a clothing store, and currently every woman that walks in is going nuts trying to finding the perfect Christmas party outfit. The secret to not spending a fortune: cute black top, cute black dress. If you have one top you can mix into different outfits (pencil skirt, dress pants, jeans), and one black dress for the dressier parties, you’re set. A festive blazer or cardigan can also help. Add some festive jewelery and you're good to go.

Christmas doesn’t have to be stressful. When it comes down to it, it’s all about getting together with family and friends, eating, drinking, and celebrating. So break out some high quality chocolate, pour yourself a glass of champagne, and enjoy this holiday season with class, leaving the unnecessary stress with the carolers at the door.

santa and I last year
Santa and I last Christmas. I was telling him how good I'd been.

9 Comments:

Blogger Jess said...

I heartily agree with you on each and every one of these sentiments. I tried to "cancel" Christmas at my house this year--encouraging my whole family to do "stockings-only" but the idea was shot down by my greedy 27-year-old brother. I have lucked out with an agreeable boyfriend, who also thinks it should be stockings-only. Stockings usually contain the things we really need--the edible goods, the gift certificates and the socks and underwear.

However, I may be the one with a lampshade on my head when Friday rolls around.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous aubergine said...

Humbug! Where is your creativity?

Invite those school friends over. Make gift certificate scrolls tied with ribbon promising a home-cooked meal, many glasses of wine, kick-ass conversation and living room dancing till 3am.

Whip up a bunch of that coveted banana bread. Wrap them in Saran wrap and stick a bow on top.

Boyfriends are easy. Homemade Love Coupons work wonders. Don't be surprised if he redeems them all in one night!

C'mon, Jill. Give everyone yourself this year. You'll feel wonderful, and they will feel so special.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

Jess-we've done the opposite and cancelled stockings. I do sort of miss those lifesaver books and socks. But I think we're mostly giving books this year, and I'm not complaining. I've got a long list of cookbooks I'm dying for.

Aubergine- I haven't been as scrooge as I sound. I did gift box ginger cookies for some friends and my co-workers. And the home-cooked meals are always being gifted, no certificates needed. The boyfriend is getting a gift box of personal treats, and I might take your advice on the coupons.

I like your creative approach to Christmas!

1:31 PM  
Blogger TessaJ said...

Your blog is so fun!

Love the holiday survival guide. Will have to bookmark them for moments when it all gets overwhelming.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Marisa said...

I'm with you on no giving gifts to friends. Mine are all in university and college right now too, and most of them can't afford the hefty bill that can come with Christmas. My gift to each of them: a great big hug. And maybe some homemade sugar cookies, if I have time.

My mom came up with a genius way to save on wrapping paper through the years - and I definitely recommend this if you have any skills with a sewing machine. She bought a bunch of Christmas fabric (usually on sale after Christmas!) and used it and some wool to make drawstring bags. They're completely washable and reusable!

6:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How in the world do you keep your figure?? I want to eat and drink and be merry too, but I´m already gaining weight and it´s not even Hell Week yet!

11:54 AM  
Blogger maitresse said...

je t'adore et tu me manques! have a wonderful christmas season and I hope we will find ourselves in the same room sometime soon...
much love, L

11:47 AM  
Blogger moonlight nimi said...

I share your love for good quality chocolate. While in university, I got a couple of books and learned how to make chocolate truffles. Callebaut chocolate can be bought in large chunks in the bulk section of most supermarkets for a great price (87%). Truffles are dead easy to make, affordable and SOOOOO divine. A favourite amongst my friends was a raspberry, dark chocolate truffle. Perhaps you and your wonderful love might consider experimenting with a chai tea truffle?

That came out naughtier than I meant it to.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

Tessaj- thank you! Let's hope we can all keep our heads this year...

Marisa- that's a great idea! I have no sewing machine, so I'm sticking to magazine collages for wrapping paper!

Anonymous- my jeans are definitely tighter already this month, but yoga and eating all the sweet treats and drinks in moderation helps! mind you i feel like i've made cookies and chocolate a major food group for the month.

maitresse- I hope so too, I don't know when i'll be over in france next (hopefully sooner than later), but next time your in NY you should make a road trip to Toronto! I miss your company and that romantic city...

moonlight nimi- I like this idea...chai truffles sound dangerously delicious. I've also had my eye on some Lindtt chili flavored dark chocolate I'm curious about...(and sometimes it better to sound naughty than nice!)

5:58 AM  

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