Hopped a bus to the nearby Marshall's on this gorgeous 60-degree-blue-skyed day and got discount sox, Christmas candles, wrapping paper. Liked hearing the perky Christmas music in the store (except for one weird song about the female singer wanting a really big, fat, shiny snowman for Christmas. TMI, Christmas singer!) :)
Also in a good mood 'cause all of my Christmas shopping is now done. Nothing special for the three adults on my list, just gift certificates from various stores that they picked. I'm excited about my gifts for my two nephews, though: Plo Koon's Starfighter and Terrordactyl (plus various Star Wars stickers and dinosaur tattoos to accompany the big gifts).
Last year at this time, couldn't afford to get anyone anything! I ended up picking up a few cheap last-minute odds-n-ends from Times Square (for the nephews) and from the Joisey airport on my Christmas trip home (for Mom/bro/sis-in-law). Just to have SOMETHING. But it didn't feel great. I like to be able to really think about what someone might want; and I like it when people actually LIKE what I get them! :)
Christmas 2007 (home from NYC, good-paying job) was a great one, gift-wise: Got my mom a bracelet from Tiffany's; my sis-in-law an original purse by a Brooklyn designer; my bro a CD of "famous" NYC songs ("Take the A-Train," etc.), plus a Weehawken Indians sweatshirt (to match those for the nephews). It wasn't that the gifts were expensive, but rather that there was kind of a fun NYC (and Weehawken) theme behind them! I loved thinking about what I was going to get them that year.
Christmas 2008 and 2009: Nada. Really nada in 2008, just the crap in 2009. I didn't feel guilty for being a cheapskate or Grinch or anything -- the adults in the family knew I'd always been thoughtful in the past when I had a job/some money, and the kids had so many other gifts, they never even noticed that there was nothing from me. Still, not being able to buy stuff that I felt fit with each person made ME feel non-Christmasy.
It's said that depressed people feel worse around the holidays... In that worried vein, a week ago my mom brought me over a very short string of YARD-lights from outside her house circa 1980 and a halfway-burned-down unscented green candle... to decorate my, to her, barren one-room apartment for the season! :) I hung up the YARD-lights over my bookcase to satisfy her, and I made her take the crappy candle back home! Please, woman! I'm not depressed about being in this apartment! (What's terribly depressing is 30-year-old fire-hazard lights and a used, unscented Christmas candle!) :) In every year past, including when I was dirt-poor in Weehawken, I've ALWAYS had Christmas decorations up, even if it was just shiny red balls hanging off my rubber-tree plant!
Over the decades, I've been depressed in general about my life around many a holiday, but the Halloween-thru-New Year's season itself has always perked me up. I don't remember EVER feeling terribly depressed around Christmas. It's too pretty! I like the pretty lights. I like the music. I like the snap in the air. I like the holiday feasts. I like giving/getting gifts. It's all just a bunch of fun, unique, magical stuff. (Well, "magical" except for those stupid lights around my bookcase! But, really, even those look good to me in the dark.)
p.s. Embarrassed by my mother's Christmas decoration pity, I got some damn dollar-store decorations to spruce up my apartment. HAPPY???!!! ;p