Monday, November 24, 2008

Our 2008 Moratorium On Christmas Gift-Giving

This year, my extended family has come to the decision of curbing the exchange of Christmas gifts. For one thing, all of us are having financial difficulties. In addition, at this point in our lives, we're suffocating in our possessions.

We will make a few exceptions in our adherence to this moratorium, for one, giving presents to my ninety-three-year-old aunt, the last survivor of her generation in our extended family. Although not wealthy, she certainly has almost everything that she needs and wants, in part because she grew up during the Great Depression and learned to make it last, fix it, and use it up. As usual, Mr. AOW and I will give her a new engagement calendar for 2008 and a gift with chocolate as an ingredient, and her granddaughter order flowers delivered as the grand old dame of the family takes great pleasure in the sight and fragrance of blooms, especially in the dead of winter. My aunt used to enjoy receiving magazine subscriptions and other reading materials; the ravages of glaucoma, however, have put an end to her being able to read standard type without a magnifying class.

Most of all, more than receiving any gifts, my aunt looks forward to the family gathering for a simple meal on Christmas Eve and the after-dinner caroling around the piano. This Christmas, we will celebrate the simple pleasures and the fellowship of getting together as a family — two benefits of an economic downturn. In fact, we gain a better perspective when we stop trying to meet the requirements of obligatory generosity. And I predict that we'll enjoy this Christmas as much as any previous ones, maybe more.

In the past, everyone in my family has enjoyed receiving gift cards. In fact, most of us have grown to prefer those cards so that we can go out to buy what we want, specifically, clothing that fits both our bodies and our style preferences. This year, however, giving gift cards is fraught with the uncertainty that many merchants might not still be up and running a few weeks from now.

The following is a partial list of merchants that we already know will be undergoing changes, yet many of these merchants are still selling the cards through the holidays even though the cards may well be of no worth whatsoever on January 1 (thanks to my best friend of some 40 years).

Circuit City (filed Chapter 11)

Ann Taylor - 117 stores nationwide closing

Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, and Catherine's - closing 150 stores nationwide

Eddie Bauer - closing 27 stores and more after January

Cache - closing all stores

Talbots - closing specialty stores

J. Jill (owned by Talbots) - closing all stores

Pacific Sunwear (owned by Talbots) - closing all cores

The GAP - closing 85 stores

Footlocker - closing 140 stores; more to close after January

Wickes Furniture - closing all stores

Levitz - closing remaining stores

Bombay - closing remaining stores

Zales - closing 82 stores now and 105 after January

Whitehall - closing all stores

Piercing Pagoda - closing all stores

Disney - closing 98 stores now and will close more after January.

Home Depot - closing 15 stores, 1 in NJ (New Brunswick )

Macys - closing 9 stores after January

Linens and Things - closing all stores

Movie Gallery - closing all stores

Pep Boys - closing 33 stores

Sprint/Nextel - closing 133 stores

JC Penney - closing a number of stores after January

Ethan Allen - closing 12 stores

Wilson Leather - closing all stores

Sharper Image - closing all stores

KB Toys - closing 356 stores

Loews - closing some stores

Dillard's - closing some stores

Even if a particular merchant is not closing all stores, the inconvenience factor for the location of the remaining stores should be considered. Remember that the facility of returning and exchanging received gifts will also be affected.

It's not my business to tell my readers what to do about gift-giving this Christmas. But this family isn't grieving over our cutback. Not at all. In fact, we've all said, "It's about time!" and we're avoiding giving any gift cards whatsoever.


PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT: Participate in the Fourth Annual Carnival of Christmas! Guidelines here.

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Always On Watch @ 11/24/2008 03:00:00 PM