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Halloween and the Joy of Giving

Halloween and the Joy of Giving

I’ve never really been that into Halloween. Dressing up is not really my thing and having all that candy around is just too much temptation for me. I do like seeing cute kids in their costumes but we don’t seem to have many in our neighborhood so the last thing I want to do is buy a big bag of candy and put it by the front door, knowing that I’ll only get a handful of trick-or-treaters and end up eating the rest myself.

And I gotta say, not a big fan of commercialism either. Apparently Halloween is No. 2 on the list of money spent and waste produced–just behind Christmas. Now that’s a holiday. Not that I am big on excessive spending and waste, not at all. The Christmas of my dreams is a much more sustainable one that doesn’t clog up our landfills.

So anyway, Halloween comes around and that just gets me started thinking about Christmas because I am a total nerd and I have my own little tradition of getting my holiday shopping done by Thanksgiving or at least by Dec. 1.

I do this for two reasons. First, because it drives my sister absolutely crazy! I mean, what’s more fun than spending almost a full month torturing someone with the knowledge that you are done with your shopping while she speeds around in a mad rush trying to get it all done?

The second reason (and this is the real reason) is that I hate the holiday crowds and the rampant commercialism, and I don’t want to choose presents for my loved ones in a frenzied atmosphere. I happen to love giving gifts, and I want to enjoy it.

I am also the type of person who sees things throughout the year that would make good gifts and buys them right then, putting them away in my closet for the appropriate gift-giving occasion. (This makes things so much easier, and is also much easier on the pocketbook come holiday time.) So part of my ritual this time of year is to see what presents I’ve already bought, make a list and then take my time picking out the perfect things to finish up.

Once that’s done, I can pull out my stash of recycled ribbons, gift bags and wrapping paper that I saved from last year and have a good time making the presentation of each present just perfect. Then I can spend December reveling in the holiday parties, decorating and enjoying the extra family closeness–and of course, torturing my sister!

Read more: Green Gifts, Halloween, Holidays, Life, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, Shades of Green, , , ,

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Jana Ballinger

Jana Ballinger has more than 15 years of experience as a writer and copy editor for daily newspapers. She lives in a vintage house in Northern California with her husband and an orange cat.


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2:44PM PST on Dec 20, 2012

I hate commercialism, and dislike xmas....but Halloween I love :)

5:59AM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

Thanks for the article.

10:34AM PST on Dec 19, 2010

Good tips. Thanks,. I'll have to keep them in mind for the next holiday season . I'm pretty much done with all my shopping and giving for this year. I have to admit I like doing all my shopping early too. Usually I give myself until about December 7th or so, the 15th at the very latest to get my shopping done.

8:00PM PST on Dec 18, 2010


5:55PM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

I've started knitting my holiday gifts. They're always given with a disclaimer that the recipient doesn't have to like them or keep them, but it tends to be cheaper, even if it does take more time. Plus each gift is hand made.

1:49PM PDT on Aug 25, 2010

Started doing my shopping way early when I had family living overseas. The first year, postage was about 3X more than the gifts themselves. The next year I resolved to be done in time for cheaper delivery options and the reduction in stress and increase in enjoyment I experienced that holiday season was a revelation. And I have 2 sisters to torture!

10:25PM PST on Dec 31, 2009

i gave far few gifts this year than any other year.

2:30AM PST on Nov 9, 2008

I do the same...

1:13PM PST on Nov 6, 2008

I do the same thing. I only have a few gifts left to get for people, but other than that, I'm just about finished shopping. I started doing this a few years back because the crowds started stressing me out--people WERE NOT full of holiday cheer! Now I can enjoy the holiday season with my son--peacefully.

11:45AM PST on Nov 6, 2008

I Don't think you will have to worry of the crowds this year.. we are all broke?... It will be a very light Christmas here. Most of our stores are shut down or Bankrupt well in our town anyway. Aww We had many Trick-or Treat kids here they went through 2 bags of candy I gave 1 piece to each ....all the kids are so sweet happy, very complementary and well mannered well I did add to the worst then too, the commercialism of it all...sorry Brenda

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