Christmas Shopping Frustrations

Silver bells, mistletoe, spiked egg nog, the crisp scent of fresh pine, the chance to see the entire extended family together (arguing or not, it is a beautiful thing)… Those are a few highlights, but December is one of those months where everything is shadowed by an overarching theme of false holiday cheer, tacky and obnoxious tunes, gaudy lights, annoying shoppers, and crazy sales.

I have a firm anti-Christmas and anti-Birthday gift policy among my friends. We do not exchange gifts during these times. Birthday’s are for parties and fun events. Therefore any money that would go to a gift goes to making that event snazzier and more elaborate. This may include, but is not limited to purchasing a ridiculous sequin dress, buying enough alcohol to kill a herd of elephants, or splurging at a chichi restaurant with cloth tablecloths and silver knives.

In regards to the holiday season, we all buy gifts for family members, splurging on Kindle’s, cameras and fancy watches to appease their good taste. This leaves little in the budget left for close friends. Credit cards end up maxed out with gifts, travel expenses and food. Therefore, we usually agree to not exchange gifts in order to make our hectic lives a little bit simpler during this time of year.

The main reason for my aversion to the holiday shopping: obligation ruins a gift. Around the holidays people buy gifts for each other to show their love, respect and appreciation for them. This is a lovely sentimental aspect that has been perverted by commercial holiday nonsense and varying senses of obligation. By obligation, I refer to the feeling someone has when they know that another individual has purchased a gift for them and therefore they feel as though they have to purchase one in return to make the gift transaction fair. This is a ludicrous notion. As well as someone receiving a gift and having not provided one in return, feeling a sense of guilt. It also occurs when someone gives a gift without receiving one in return and gets peeved at the lack of courtesy.

I lavish in the random, the unwarranted, and the surprise. A trip to an exotic island or a new country is a great opportunity to pick up a little trinket, clothing or cultural item for a friend or family member. Checking out a fall festival or summer arts fair is another great time to grab some handmade art that reminds you of a certain someone. It is these moments where you truly, in the moment, are reminded of that person. The chosen gift is personal and invokes their individuality without being rushed, forced or wrapped in tacky reindeer paper. These types of gifts are unique, appreciated more, and there is no sense of obligation involved.

Another note on the holiday season, Christmas cards are a waste of money, trees and end up thrown out in under a week. Unless a baby picture is tucked in that little envelope with the card, pick up the phone and speak to your family and friends. Wish them a warm holiday and lots of cheer. I have received cards from people I have not spoken to in months. In these cases, I would prefer a phone call and a chance to catch up. In regards to people I see everyday, just wish me a happy holiday over coffee. Or, plan a big group dinner sometime before the holiday. Do something together or at least be personable over the phone.

I swear I am not a Grinch. Happy Holidays!

Food Journal Day 7-8

Things have been a bit wild between work, Christmas shopping and trying to study for my last two finals this week. After taking my organic chemistry final I have lost all ambition to hit the books for hours on end. I find my mind wandering off to some beautiful field of wildflowers with a hot summer sun warming my back and a good book between my knees. The cold and the dark of winter transform me from a warm, delightful cup of tea to a indisposed bear in mid hibernation, constantly dismal and randomly snappy at minuscule things.

Saturday went quite well… for the first half of the day. I began early with a delicious banana and coconut milk smoothie flavored with some cinnamon, vanilla extract and nutmeg. A holiday treat.

This filled me up and provided a nice energy boost for that mornings shopping. I purchased a gift from my mother in Hawaii, a beautiful locally done hand blown glass sculpture of a fish, and ordered my father an new Swiss Army watch online (no worries, they don’t read this). I had also ordered a bunch of things for Kyle online. I’d like to vent my frustrations on shopping for him in another post. Basically all that was left were my two brothers and a handful of things I wanted to pick up for Kyle.

I began to make the rounds, searching mainly for clothes for my brothers. Which is incredibly trying as one is 6’1” and the other 6’3” and both are fairly slim. A tedious combination as normal clothes are too short and big and tall clothes are too wide. Very frustrating. Ultimately I left empty handed from most stores. I think I might go with accessories this year.

After the bit of shopping I headed home to take care of my dogs. Plans for the rest of the day involved going out for lunch with my hot lesbian friend, Ariele, and doing some more shopping with her. I decided to eat lunch at home to save the money and not to complicate things by worrying about the vegan thing in a restaurant (don’t be intimidated, it is not hard, I’m just poor and easily tempted).

We ended up skipping lunch, going straight to Home Goods for 2 hours designing beautiful gift baskets for her family. I started to build one for Kyle’s parents before changing my mind last minute. We’re not terribly close, shipping would have cost a fortune, and I do not know enough about them to build one that would be useful and enjoyed. I decided it is a thing for next year.

Back to the main purpose of this entry, FOOD, dinner was at Bonefish, a delicious and expensive restaurant near the shopping mall. I kind of cheated… Pretty badly too. I am very ashamed and in all honesty it was not even worth the cheat. I had fish tacos. Not the worst cheat in the world, but for these 21 days I was really steadfast on keeping it to an intense detox routine. I also had an espresso martini. Not really part of a detox either but it was delicious.

Today, I woke up with a mango smoothie and lots of water. Went to Whole Foods to pick up groceries for the week and buy a bunch of hippy food to send to Kyle. Kyle, the one who laughed at me and made fun of me for the whole merging into a vegan diet, calling me a hippy and all sorts of silly names, asked me for a care package for Christmas loaded with hippy food and supplements. I just laughed and am happy to get him a bit more into the concept and supportive. He’ll never cut out meat, but if he is more understanding of me trying to do it, I’m cool.

For lunch I had a piece of vegan pizza from Whole Foods made with gluten-free dough, peppers, onions, and some delicious garlic/tomato/seasoned paste thing instead of a tomato sauce. Absolutely delicious.

For dinner, I made a salad of shredded golden beets, shredded parsnip, shredded onion, chopped mint leaves and a vinaigrette with pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup (optional), garlic and salt.

Today is also weigh-in Sunday. I weighed in at 138lbs. A loss of two pound for the week. This is about what I expected. From stress, it being “that time of the month,” lack of sleep, lack of normal exercise, I have not been living the desired lifestyle. My last two finals are Wednesday and I will start picking up a normal routine from there.