Happy Birthday to Me

Had a birthday recently.  Turned 29.

Just throwing that out there for anyone who wants to throw a big 3-0 party for me.  I like cake.

I got some stuff.  Ya know, few baseball cards, sack of marbles….. Petey.

I love birthdays.

My birthdays.

I don’t love yours that much.

I think everyone needs their own day, though.

So if you don’t have a birthday… GET ONE!

But you know what I love more than birthdays?

Christmas!

As of my writing this, it is September 30th and my smokin’ hot wife and I have already seen a house decorated for Christmas.

And you know what?

hate when other people hate when other people decorate “too early.”

Who’s the bozo who laid the rules for when you can or can’t decorate for Christmas?

Let.  Them.  Decorate.

I love the lights.  I love the trees.  (I hate Santa Claus).  I would love the weather if I didn’t live in Alabama.

I think it was 80 degrees last Christmas.

But in 2010 we had a white Christmas!  In Alabama!

Not all of us… but some of us.  And it was really cool (No pun intended.  But if there was, it’d be hilarious).

The best part is the build up.  Smokin’ Hot Wife plays the Christmas music right after Thanksgiving.

Bad Christmas music = Santa Claus crap

Good Christmas music = Jesus stuff

Might I recommend this one to get you in the Christmas spirit?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ_MGWio-vc

OK fine…. it’s not time for Christmas.

But I get excited about it because I have mastered the art of gift giving.

Really.

There is NO ONE who can give a gift like me.  I’m the world’s best giver.

I’m also humble.

Now, you may think that I mean I have the uncanny ability to pick out the greatest gift possible for any recipient.

No.  I suck at that.

One time I got Pops a wheel balancer because I heard him say he would rather have the simple kind than the electric one (I don’t know how else to explain it, get off me).

I even told Ned, “This is exactly what Pops wants.  Let’s buy him this.”

It wasn’t what Pops wanted.  He already had like three.

The first Christmas my smokin’ hot wife and I had together (I was but courting her at the time) I could not find her a gift to save my life.

Other than the fact that I was completely broke, the gift search was unbearable.  I went to antique shops, thrift stores, furniture stores, you name it!

I searched far and wide for the perfect gift… that was less than $30.

Eventually, I ordered a pillow online.  It was a decorative pillow (for those of you thinking Oh, great job, genius) with someone dancing on it… I think.

I thought it was a nice gesture, her being a dancer and all.  And pillows are used often, right?

Well, it was late being shipped.  By about three months.

So Smokin’ Hot Wife got very little for Christmas Day.

And when the pillow did come in, it was horrible.  It looked like it had been stitched together by a stitcher untrained in the arts of stitchery while it was being shipped.

It looked way better online than in person, I told myself and Smokin’ Hot Wife over and over and over.

All this to say… that’s not what I mean by I’m the world’s best giver.

The only thing I really mean by it is that I know how UNIMPORTANT it is to give gifts.

Calm down.

Breathe.

Let me defend myself.

I’ll do it in list form:

  1. I wish I could buy everyone I love a brand new car or house or bat cave or trampoline.
  2. I can’t.
  3. Is Christmas about receiving gifts?  Or giving gifts, for that matter?
  4. What have I done to deserve gifts for my birthday?  Live a little longer?  That’s not really my fault.
  5. Please, do not hesitate to send me gifts for my birthday and Christmas.

Are you aware of how much money this country ALONE spends on Black Friday?

It’s enough to provide a constant flow of fresh water to every single person on this planet

MULTIPLE TIMES!

I don’t say this to condemn.  Only to put it into perspective.

Gifts are fine.  They are wonderful.  They are fun.

I’ll get some.  I’ll enjoy it.  I’ll give some.  I’ll enjoy it.

But if you put your entire November income (or more) towards Christmas gifts, you are foolish.

People do this.  It’s actually common.

I know the intent is pure.  The heart is kind.  These men and women do so because they want their children (or parents or significant other or whoever) to have a good Christmas.

I get it.  Really.

Listen, one year I got a pack of underwear for Christmas (underwear I needed), and I was excited about it!

It’s on video somewhere.  I pray it’s never found.

And I know how hard it is to say To the depths with society’s standards! during the most wonderful time of the year.

But we don’t have to deal in extremes.

We have already decided in our household that Christmas will be celebrated.  Gifts will be received and given.  There will be decorations.  There will be lights.  There will be trees.

Disclaimer:  1  –  I know it isn’t Jesus’ real birthday.  2  –  I know it’s an old Pagan holiday.  3  –  I don’t care.

But let’s limit.  Let’s budget.  Let’s not go overboard.

Our Christmas budget has already been set up.  And Christmas gifts have already been purchased (hope they like ’em… yikes).

Every year we know around September or October how much we want to spend on each person we are going to buy a gift for.

Then, we add it all up.

Then, we add another $20 or so to the total for anything that goes over a few pennies or dollars.

This year we are updating the kitchen, so Smokin’ Hot Wife and I are limiting our Christmas gifts for each other in something I like to call “kitchens are expensive.”

A tradition that was implemented by Smokin’ Hot Wife’s mother years back was to limit her children to $100 each for Christmas every year.

She had 3 children, so I think that’s pretty reasonable.  She has maintained that method over time as well, which I believe is even more reasonable (not raising her teenagers’ limits), a method we will most likely implement with our children.  When they are older.  2-year-olds don’t need $100 worth of anything other than diapers (I must be honest, though, we want to get our 2-year-old a tricycle… we’ll probably spend $100 on him this year).

Methods such as these are wonderful tools, but I would caution you to reduce that limit if the original becomes unsustainable, i.e. those children all become married and start having kids themselves.

$300 quickly turns into $800.

If you can’t afford it, don’t do it.

If your children are upset that they didn’t get more than what your limit allowed, your children are ungrateful snobs who want to be, or already think they are, better than everyone else.

Christmas is fun!

Don’t make it stressful.  Do not conform.

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