Passages — A holiday win-win

This was our yearly budget meeting! Source: westsoundworkforce.com

This was our yearly budget meeting! Source: westsoundworkforce.com

When I worked I never had enough time to enjoy the holidays. It was busy at work — scheduling events, end-of year stuff, etc., busy at home — decorating and celebrating with friends.

I was always trying to fit in holiday activities and eventually (mostly on Christmas day itself) I would crash into a state of blissful unconsciousness. (That’s before any eggnog.)

One of the ironies of life is that when you have time to do the things you need to or want to do, the list of those things has dwindled substantially. Very substantially.

Back then, we had work “holiday activities” that required planning, shopping, scheduling, etc. There was a certain amount of gift giving. Most times I was running on empty, picking up things as I saw them, not caring if the fit or color were right.

I gave gifts with no creativity relying on candles, fuzzy socks, candy, or Christmas gewgaws.

Ready to be handed out! Source: Chris Masters for  bonappetit.com

Ready to be handed out! Source: Chris Masters for bonappetit.com

Or wine! Where I worked people would buy a case of wine and hand out bottles and I swear the following year some of those same bottles would get re-gifted around.

As a female I always got the white wine. There was always a guy willing to exchange. Contrary to popular myths, guys like white wine too (and I had a list of who they were!).

Once in a while I would hit it when I bought something appreciated but too often it was a duty done and checked off the list.

Nowadays I have the time to shop for creative gifts but I no longer exchange gifts.

That’s the good news! All my purchases have been for me and I like it like that.

There is a huge upside to this retirement thing.

And I don’t buy the white wine!

41 thoughts on “Passages — A holiday win-win

  1. This post makes me realize that we no longer have any gift exchanges, either business or family. My husband’s work department doesn’t buy gifts for each other, instead choosing to jointly buy a gift for the less fortunate. And family gift exchanges ended in 1999… as a gift to ourselves in the new century. A few friends still exchange gifts, but it’s mostly cookies and candy which isn’t like buying a gift. Funny I hadn’t thought of this before.

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  2. I’ve never understood the whole white wine is preferred more by women thinking. I *think* but am not sure that it might have something to do with the calories being lower in white than red? Even so, its a very chauvinistic generalization.

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  3. I don’t drink, and so I am the queen of regifting wine! Especially white wine. The reds I can hang onto until I need them for pot roast. But I get a lot of red wine, and so I guess people have figured out — at least on the West Coast — that red is universal.

    Okay, how did you make it snow? I want snow on my site…

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  4. I don’t drink, haven’t in eons, but I usually get at least one bottle of wine from a co-worker. I accept it graciously and re-gift it. You said it, Kate, it’s a quick and easy gift. I used to work at a company where one of the women always made a small home made gift for us, I really appreciated it. As for retirement – would really like to work less and do more of the things that I love. But, my job funds all those things so for now….it’s back to work.

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  5. So far, I have declined invitations from 3 work related parties. There is one gift exchange that takes place during a mandatory meeting, so I think I will take a book written by a blogger I follow. 8)
    Looking forward to retirement….

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    • One thing I have learned is that 40 hours a week (or more…I mostly worked more) is too much. My last six months were a part time transition and I found that working less equaled a better quality of life. The other irony is that you retire when you are older. I would have loved to have an occasional sabbatical from work to do other things when I was younger and had more energy to do them.

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  6. Yes, one of the things I am enjoying about this Holiday Season, I don’t have to buy presents for anyone I don’t want too! It is a relief both mentally and financially!

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    • It really is! I would try to convert it to donating to (a wonderful pet) charity but some people just aren’t into that. About the only presents I like buying are for the granddaughters because they are still in the multi-color, sparkly, tiara stage. When they get into muted earth tones, I’m dead!

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  7. We had to draw names for a Secret Santa at the school where I taught. I finally said I was opting out. 😦 The looks I got!! 😦
    So I secretly put a gift under the holiday tree … for me…. I got exactly what I wanted and nobody ever knew who had given me that gift. lol I just acted surprised. 🙂

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