Mother Interrupted: Why I’m not buying Christmas presents
by Debra Carpenter
Dec 06, 2013 | 955 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last weekend, my family and I went to our town’s Christmas parade. Each year, the parade marks the beginning of December and reminds me to get myself in gear for the Christmas season.

This year, the parade was loud (thanks to the fire truck), chilly (thanks to the cold front) and an excellent source of candy (thanks to the generous people in the parade and my cat-like reflexes for catching it). Now that it’s December, Christmas’s close proximity is becoming a reality, and so is my noticeable lack of Christmas shopping. I haven’t purchased a single gift yet, and I’m sort of considering keeping it that way this year. But don’t worry — I’ve got some good reasons.

First and foremost, I’m not a millionaire. I wouldn’t even be a thousand-aire if that were a real thing. I happen to have a very large extended family (my mother is one of 12 children) and buying gifts for everyone I love would break even the wealthiest bank. If I had an unlimited amount of money, I would buy everyone I knew presents that were so extravagant it would be embarrassing for all parties involved.

“You bought a private jet … for me? But I’m just your pharmacist. I’ve met you like three times.”

“Yeah, that’s true. Merry Christmas, anyway.”

Since that’s not the case, you’ll have to settle for something from Dollar Tree, or, if you’re lucky, something I’m re-gifting.

Second, I really enjoy making crafts, candies and baked goods to give to my friends and family as gifts. It just so happens that most people really enjoy receiving crafts, candies and baked goods as gifts. It’s either that, or they don’t know how to tell me my banana bread is disgusting and my hand-made salt dough ornaments are hideous.

There’s something special about giving a gift that you spent time making versus a store-bought present, or at least that’s what my mom always told me when I gave her sloppily-crafted handmade cards and misshapen cookies for her birthday.

One more reason I’m not buying you any Christmas presents this year: You probably don’t have any more room for meaningless trinkets in your house. Every year, people load us down with more blankets, robes, scented candles and picture frames than we’ll ever be able to use. I love Bed, Bath & Beyond, but I don’t want my home to look like a miniature version of the store. The thought behind these gifts is nice, but the resulting tower of junk we’re left with after Christmas is pretty stressful. I’m going to assume you’re in the same boat and do you a favor by skipping that mess altogether.

I’m not buying you any Christmas presents this year, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I’m just kind of poor, sort of crafty, and extremely fed up with junky gifts that clog up your house without adding any sort of benefit. Maybe I’ll change my mind by next Christmas, but until then, should I put you down for a glittery hand-made card or a lopsided loaf of pumpkin bread?


(Editor’s Note: Debra Carpenter is a novice mother, wife and college student. She writes about the parts of parenthood “you didn’t expect when you were expecting.” Like the fan page at or visit the website at