What do you get when you add being broke + picky teenagers/kids to shop for + a feminist ethic in regards to what you are buying?
Answer: NOTHING FOR CHRISTMAS!
Seriously! I hate Christmas shopping...
This witch hails from one large-ass family and this year we decided out of mercy on our credit card debts that we would buy only for the kids this year. That still leaves me with eight people between the ages of 19 and 1 1/2 years old to shop for. And an extremely tight budget. Not easy. Especially as I realize that the older these kids get, the less I really know about them. What the hell do I get for these kids?? And when did I start to become the distant aunt?
I saw things that I know I would love to get for Christmas. But then I remembered that I'm the "strange" aunt, so I ended up second-guessing everything I picked. Then I would get really frustrated, because, FUCK, why can't the thought count just as much as the actual gift? Christmas shopping really kills my holiday buzz. Thank god/dess for vodka.
Then of course, because I'm on a budget of $20 MAX per kid, I wasn't left with a lot of great ethical options. I've found decent gifts in that price range before at places like the Gap, but my conscience wouldn't let me do it this year. I can't shop at BabyGap and hand-over gifts of sweatshop origin. But shopping so conscientiously doesn't leave me with a lot of options when a witch is poor.
*And I'll bet you anything that I get a Gap shirt this year under the tree too. Sigh.*
I also don't want to promote gender stereotypes by giving my six and seven year old nieces all the pretty and pink princess merchandise they so crave. But all they want to do is bask in pink princess-ness!
Oh wait, I've just been told they've outgrown all that. Now they're into "Hannah Montana" and "Zoey 101", the latter starring a now-pregnant teen. And I only know of these shows because of such gossipy smut (I fucking LOVE gossipy smut--secret shame revealed)! If it were Degrassi, at least we could all look forward to a poignant, honest, straightforward addressing of the issue with a message that I would be willing to support with a cheesy keychain purchase. But it's a Nickelodeon show so probably, it will get swept under the writers' table. Still, I must walk into stores that make me feel old in my mid-twenties by being tailored to the Hilary Duff/Avril Lavigne brands of "individual" style. I suppose I should be happy that its not the Britney-style over-sexualization of children that's all the rage.
None of this helps me with my Christmas selections.
What's a witch to do...
Well, I did this:
For Julian (19), I bought him some warm house slippers and a Portugal Soccer toque. He's getting comfort this year.
For Dane (17) and Erik (16) I bought them a copy of Maus I and Maus II respectively, that as brothers, they can swap. My sister told me that though they're not big readers, they do enjoy war literature, and I love that book, so therefore I shall command them to love it too.
For Adam (12) I bought him the first volume in the Scott Pilgrim series. He's into video games and anime so I thought Scott Pilgrim, though neither, would be a relatable but decent break that doesn't undermine his age.
For Abby (11) I bought her a Lenore collection called Noogies. I love the Lenore comics, they have a dark sense of humour that she will appreciate (I hope and also command) plus the drawings are great.
For Emily (7) I bought her a Roald Dahl treasury that she can enjoy having read to her and also enjoy as she continues to learn to read.
For Serena (6) I bought her socks, cuz my sister told me she desparately needs new ones, but also a purple-ish and comfy bath robe that was on sale for 50% off at Bluenotes.
For Liam (1) I bought him a stuffed Snoopy doll where five bucks off the purchase price went to a children's charity.
I hope I did okay. If not, well, there'll be lots of wine at dinner for me anyhoo.
I really wish I wasn't so weak and could go to my family dinner and just honestly say "I'm broke, I'm sorry but at least we're all together, right?" I just end up feeling unreasonably guilty...Sigh...such a product of my culture...
Off to work I go so I can make rent this Christmas.