Sale flier sanity

The sale fliers are starting to give me some serious anxiety. Their shiny coloured pages keep telling me my previous purchases aren’t good enough and that my plan for staying in the black this holiday season was somehow misguided. The glossy pictures full of family members smiling with joy over their new coffee makers, tablets and televisions are making me look at my sad little homemade soaps and cookie tins with some sort of twisted buyer’s remorse. “BUY SOMETHING BETTER!” the evil side of my conscious keeps exclaiming!

My hubby added the cherry to the sundae when he looked at the homemade gifts we were giving teachers and daycare workers and stated, “So we’re that family now, eh?” He lamented that we were now the family that was sending a ‘poor people’ gift and he project his anxiety over our sons getting teased.

Despite my extra efforts to make super fancy labels for my homemade soap and the countless hours wrestling with a cookie press, I had to admit that my stomach sank just a little. The neat little packages just didn’t stand out next to those colourful scenes of consumer Christmas bliss! And just like that my confidence over the past few blogs went POOF!

I went searching for some reassurance. Of course I called my mother, but she’s always my cheerleader and didn’t go far enough to make me feel better. Then, while driving to work one morning I was listening to a local radio station and they had Therapist Joe Rich on talking about buying meaningful gifts. It was a Christmas Miracle! HOORAY!

The premise of his advice was that if a gift costs more than you can afford, it’s no longer meaningful and that really spoke to me. The problem is that I am fighting against a culture that is consumer crazy and on the outside everyone seems to expect something extravagant! Or maybe that’s just my issue.

The rest of Joe Rich’s advice can be found here

He goes on to talk about really considering if you need another screen or is a tech gift really a good gift? While I’m going to have to do some serious soul searching in regards to my own perceptions and anxieties, this went a long way in comforting me. For now I think I will ignore all but the grocery fliers, because let’s face it, I don’t have the budget to go for amazing!


Happy Frugal living!


avatarAuthor Bio ~ Kara  (40 Posts)

Kara is a 32 year old mother of two little boys, balancing a career in social work with a crazy family life. After helping others all day she loves nothing more than to play with the kids, curl up with a good book or cook up a storm. Learning to balance a budget and live within her means is Kara’s next great adventure!

8 Responses to “Sale flier sanity”

  1. Kara, you don’t need to agonize over this. Teachers get so many gifts that they are overwhelmed. They won’t sit there and analyze who spent the most on their gift. I think they will find your homemade gifts to be much more thoughtful than the items being pushed by the retailers. You put time into yours. They will also appreciate things that they can use and will get used up like soaps and cookies much more than things that sit on a shelf forever. So relax and enjoy the season.

  2. From the heart and thoughtful is always better. One of the nicest gifts I’ve received is from a friend who is a really great cook. I’m always raving about her food so she got me a recipe binder that had a couple of her own recipes in it and she has been sending me more a couple times per year since. It is so thoughtful and I love getting an envelope in the mailbox with new things to try!
    This season is about love and appreciation, not how shiny or expensive things are.

  3. I can understand what you are saying, because our family has tended to be the ones that give – lower priced gifts to the extended family – maybe I am cheap, maybe I don’t think it is necessary to go crazy or maybe we just could not afford it. The others seemed to have more money and less kids. That was in the past, but it still hurts when I found out that my sister-in-law said that we give cheap, homemade gifts – I think my brother-in-law told us that to stir up trouble. Anyway, I used to sew things sometimes for my mother-in-law including making curtains that she asked for etc. She was always appreciative, but it still makes me sad that someone would say that about us. However, I do understand that the person that said it uses gifts and money to buy people, but it does not seem to be working now with her family as she is estranged from most of us. Sad situation.

  4. While i could afford to buy more expensive things, I enjoy baking and hope that people on the receiving end appreciate the time and effort that went into it. I always mix it up a little baking and a small gift card. I will say I have noticed more and more, that people hardly say thank-you for gifts anymore. For those who can’t even say thank-you, next year will just be the gift card. We don’t spend a lot on gifts within our family, but I’m really trying to give my 5 year old son a lot of fun experiences, skating, sledding, we’re on the west coast so a little more challenging! I hope he looks back one day and remembers how much fun he had with his family and friends.

  5. Wow. Frankly, my favorite gift to receive is my Mom’s unique chocolate chip cookies! I wish I could receive them *more* often.

    Good cookies from other people are great too. And soaps in my favorite fragrances are at the top of my list as well — because I just don’t have/make the time to make soap, or to make my own cookies as often as I used to.

    And frankly, it doesn’t even occur to me that it’s a budgetary issue — which, in my circles, it usually isn’t. To me, it just signals that the person had the time and desire to make the gifts. I guess it really depends on one’s perspective, doesn’t it?

  6. My husband is teacher, and the gifts he appreciates most are ones that have some thought behind them. He loves cards from the kids or parents. He is still talking about the ginger cookies he got from one student last year.

  7. I LOVE getting homemade gifts (don’t forget the fact that I pay at least $6/bar for homemade soap at the farmers market!) Mason jars full of cookies or ice cream pails of homemade noodles are my favorite to get!

    Don’t undervalue the time you put into making your gifts either. In theory if you paid yourself a decent wage for the time you used, your gifts would probably end up being more expensive.

  8. As a teacher, HOMEMADE is best. This year, I made as many gifts as possible, a tradition I plan on keeping up! Tired of the commercial nature that Christmas has become….want want want….sad sad sad. Today’s parents raising new consumers…yikes!

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