On the years when the moon comes early in the month we have Chanukah early in December, which I find to be rather better timing than when it comes close to Christmas (when the stress triples rather than doubles). Since we celebrate both, we get to stretch out the consumerism for weeks on end, shopping and shopping and shopping until we are broke and can't open any closets or drawers due to all the presents blocking the way.
At least with Chanukah early, we can give out those gifts first, which releases space so we can then buy the tree and put the rest of the presents under it.
Since my aunt died and we are not in much contact with her husband, who has since remarried, and our family has shrunk down to just a few of us, the rest of us left behind feel somehow obligated to make up for the gifts she would have contributed. Even though she was famous for weird gifts - like the year of the Epilady, or the year of the Blooming Onion machine, or the time she gave my husband a teapot with pink flowers on it - she always crossed out the prices with a half-working magic marker so we could see that she got the best deal of us all. And it was often impressive. Where does one find thick winter ski gloves for $2.99? Only Aunt Phyllis knows, and she literally took it to her grave.
I miss her a lot this time of year. The last Chanukah we spent with her I accidentally left one of her gifts at home - they were cushioned hangars, the kind for lingerie. I had bought a package of them and split them between she and my mother. I gave Aunt Phyllis' hangars to my mother the following year, so that she would have the entire 10 pack in her sister's honor. She didn't really want them, so I hope that she found someone good to regift them to. Maybe in a couple of years she'll accidentally give them back to me when she has forgotten that it was I who them to her.
This year's Chanukah had its own tragedy - we left an entire bag of gifts at home and they were all for Max. How could the only kid in the room have a smallest pile of presents? It was terrible and I felt really bad about it. I very much remember the anticipation of the gifts and how disappointing it can be when others get the bounty. (I think I posted about this a year or two ago about my trauma at my father's house). However, he did get some really great stuff from my mom and cousin Julie so it worked out ok. And then when we got home he got to have his own grand opening session all to himself.
The cards have been sent, the rest of the gifts are wrapped, the mail orders have been made, and the packages to far away states mailed. Theoretically I just have to bake 9 or 10 dozen cookies for my office and stuff some stockings. That doesn't sound too bad. So why do I keep shopping online? I can't seem to stop looking at the Gold Box Specials that were chosen JUST FOR ME. I think the writer's strike and lack of tv is taking its toll.