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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I survived!

No, I haven't been hibernating for the past three weeks... although that wouldn't have been a bad way to spend the month of December.  The real reason for my silence can be summed up with a phrase my mom used to say: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"

Well, I am here to say that I was wrong, for the most part anyways.  And yes, believe it or not, I can be wrong sometimes, just don't tell my husband okay?  You see Christmas of 2009 was what plunged me into the depths of such despair as to provoke me to do something drastic.  You know, drastic, like starting a blog (enter sarcastic tone here).  Seriously though, I was feeling so frustrated with the fact that consumerism was taking over our lives that it managed to plunge me further into my depression... for real.  Despite the fact that the past three weeks have been filled with a sense of foreboding and a dash of dread, I am happy to say that we made it through this Christmas with my emotional sensibilities still in tact - although I did go straight to bed on Christmas at 8 pm and sleep until 10 am the next morning... Yup, it is the 28th of December and I am feeling a-okay.... even after enduring five (yes FIVE) Christmases, straight through from December 22 until December 26. 

How could you be stressed out waking up to this guy everyday!?
To what do I credit my survival?  My friends and family of course!  These are the following strategies that seemed to work at keeping things under control this year (and I share these here because other people have shared similar Christmas anxieties with me):

  • My family decided on a spending limit of $50 per person.  Now, I am not exactly certain that my parents kept to this as strictly as I had hoped, but they did turn it down a few notches for sure, which was noticeable and much appreciated!
  • For my gifts, I either made or purchased handmade gifts almost exclusively.  Some exceptions included edible gifts or gifts of 'experiences': concert tickets, a dinner out, etc.  For the gifts that weren't handmade (a few Children's books), I purchased them at a local business.  The biggest benefit of this strategy?  NO MALLS!  (Which are the scourge of society in my humble opinion)
  • As for the gifts that we received, I am feeling very grateful... most of Chephren's gifts were books and/or puzzles, two things that I really have no problem with (educational toys RULE!).  Chephren also received a handmade touque (thanks Gigi!) and a few beautifully made knit items including a sweater from Ecuador and a touque from Nepal.  Cool!  
  • Remembering that the best gifts at Christmas are FREE, well, mostly free anyway!  Cross-country skiing with my parents on Christmas day has been a long-standing tradition and one that I cherish greatly... Other favorites include: My mom's Christmas letters to each of us (I will share some of my letter in a future post because it pertains to the blog).  She writes them every year and we mount them on the fridge to read daily until the next Christmas comes around.  They are always my favorite gift by far.  Spending time with our families (all four of them!), and speaking of family, it was especially fun to watch Chephren 'prepare' for Santa's arrival and come bouncing out in the morning to find the present that he asked for... a donut!  
  • Tobogganing in Fairmont
  • Finally, we did something that we should really do every year when things get a little 'crazy' before Christmas: LEAVE!  We went on a relaxing holiday for a week to the mountains in the 2nd week of December just to chill out, play in the snow and teach Chephren to ski.  It was such a great holiday!

Next up on the horizon is New Years, my favorite holiday of the year by far!  For me, New Years represents the ultimate time to reflect on the past year's triumphs, failures, trials and tribulations.  2010 has been such a positive year of growth for me in so many ways and yet I feel that I have so far yet to go on my journey. 

As for the Marebare Necessities blog?  I have had many inquiries as to its fate in 19 days when the year is up... All I have to say is you will have to stay tuned to find out!

Happy Holidays to each and every one of you and THANK YOU for your support, ideas, feedback and best wishes throughout the past year!

Marebare xoxo


  1. Fabulous Maren... Happy that you did such a great thing as this blog... Have a wonderful New Year...

  2. I love you so much, Marebear! You inspire me to be a better person and you make me smile! THANK YOU! Chephren makes me smile too! What a sweet little boy! I LUFF HIM!

    Your blog reminds me of why and how we became friends in the first place! :)


  3. Just wanted to congratulate you on surviving the holidays and wish you the very best for the New Year! I'm sure that whatever you decide to do post-challenge, it will be wonderful.


  4. I really enjoyed reading this. I can relate to the "living with less" Christmas. This year, both sides of the family avoided Christmas shopping.

    From my parents, we received an experience: a contribution to flight tickets to Mexico (although taking an airplane definitely is not green... my baby belly and mental health experienced HUGE benefits from the vitamin D). Each member of the family purchased one item for each stocking (tea, a bar of dark chocolate).

    On my husband's side, we pulled a name and made a $50 purchase for one family member. I loved that everyone sent out lists of what they needed. No unwanted gifts! We did a repeat of the stocking arrangement done with my family as well.

    At the end of the 2 weeks of Christmas cheer, I'm pretty sure most of the Christmas budget money was spent on good food and good booze (and fruit juice for me).

    I can't wait to stay out of the malls again next year!

  5. @Wendy: Thanks for the compliment... I have enjoyed reading your blog as well. Wishing you and Michael both a wonderful 2011!

    @Bean: Thanks Beanie! Glad that you stopped by and thanks so much for sharing your 'reunion' pics with me... brings a tear to my eye! You are one of the strongest women I know. All the best to you and your man in 2011! xoxo

    @Rebecca: Thanks girl! I sure do miss your writing though... hope that you bring it back in some form or other in the new year. All the best in 2011!

    @Mrs. Letailler: I would love to hear how the holidays went, sounds like it was a hit for Christmas! How is the baby belly treating you? Love and hugs! xoxo