Sep 202012
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Hello out there!  I hope that you are having a great Saturday today and the rest of the weekend is looking up.

Today’s question comes to us from “Jane” in Phoenix, AZ.  I do have to apologize to Bob for not getting this question to him sooner, he will have to have a cantankerous response in the comments.

“Jane” writes,

“Dear Cantankerous old Coots,  I just read your Friday column about Black Friday and I had to ask a question.  I just got back from a madcap day of shopping and spending way too much time and money for way too little items to hold.  I have seen that Bob likes to make his gifts and Justin will be doing similar things, so when is the right time to say goodbye to the shopping and spending hamster wheel and give homeade items?  And, If I give homeade stuff, will my family be mad that I didn’t spend money on them?  Just wondering, “Jane”.”

Well “Jane” as usual this is not a question that is easily answered.  Bob will probably have a better take on it in the comments.  I for one like to spend money on my kids.  I like to give them toys.  I like to give fun things for Christmas.  But, the past couple of years there has been so many toys that they don’t care about at the end of the season that we are scaling back.  We are having each of the kids make presents for their siblings instead of picking up the first thing that they see in the store that is in thier price range.  They are very excited about it.  As for other family members, (extended) it just gets to be a silly hassle trying to find gifts.  My parents don’t need anything, I don’t have the money to buy all of my nephews presents as well as my sisters so they get a family gift.  And this year family gifts are baked.  We are going to make cookies (from Bob’s shortbread recipie check it out at juicy and these cookies will also be given to the neighbors for the holiday on fancy paper plates.  We may even spring for some colored plastic wrap but it is not likely.  So if the family doesn’t like the fact you are not going to spend money on them tough.  Maybe you should have that talk with them now, the we can’t afford much, let’s just do family presents talk.  That should help.  if not, screw ’em. –Justin

Ralph chimes in:

Dear Jane,

As you think about making your own Christmas gifts, I suggest that you keep this in mind.  When was the last time you received a homemade gift and how did it make you feel.  For me, it brings back all the Christmas gifts my kids made for me over the years.  Were they great gifts?  I have to say no.  Did I use them?  I have to say no.  Did I like them?  I have to say no.  What I can say is that I pretended to like and use them because I loved my kids.  So my advice to you as you consider giving something homemade for Christmas is that you ask yourself if the recipient will love the gift because it is you that is giving it.  If you have a speicial relationship then it won’t matter what you give and homemade is ok.  Otherwise, I suggest going to the store.


Thanks for the question “Jane”!  If you have a question that you would like a cantankerous take on email us at or leave it in the contact form to the right.  Thanks for reading!


Justin is the young Coot with a Cantankerous Soul who continues to be educated by older, more cootish Ralph and Bob. His Cantankerosity is his own.

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  6 Responses to “Ask A Coot Saturday: Question 2”

  1. Jane…what a wonderful Christmas present you have given me! An opportunity to exercise my Cantankerous Old Coot nature AND educate at the same time…and it didn’t cost you a dime or any time at the mall.

    See how easy it is to give good presents without shopping? You just did!

    To your first question, “…so when is the right time to say goodbye to the shopping and spending hamster wheel and give homemade items?”, the answer is simple (note I said simple, not easy. Big difference).

    The answer is NOW.

    As a recovering alcoholic I’ve learned that any change in behavior ALWAYS must be done NOW, else the change never happens. I couldn’t quit drinking “next week”, nor “soon”, nor “after so-and-so”, because when next week gets here it’s not next week now…it’s now now, and I said next week…it drags on and on because behavior changes are hard. So…swear off the mall NOW…your bank account will thank you over and over and over.

    Sears won’t like you much though.

    To the second part of your question, “And, If I give homeade stuff, will my family be mad that I didn’t spend money on them?”, my answer is, again, simple…and for me it’s easy. For you and others…well, your mileage may vary.

    Who cares?

    I find it easy to take that attitude, even with family. I may love ’em, but there are times I don’t much like ’em, and when what they think of me is based on how much money I spend on them would be one of those times…and I don’t care what someone I don’t like…even temporarily…thinks.

    I hate cutsie sayings, but one I learned in AA applies here:

    “It’s none of my business what you think of me.”

    Here is a Christmas present for y’all…and it didn’t cost me a thing:

  2. I knew we could count on Bob. Great Answer and I love that video…It looks like several of the onlookers joined in as well. What a gift, just to make people happy….imagine the possibilites…

  3. I have a bit of a different take here (though its similar to Ralph’s); If you’re going to spend time making something homemade, make sure its for someone that’ll actually appreciate the time and thought.

    My mother took up knitting a few years ago now and she’s been making gifts for some people, because of the sheer lack of enthusiasm from some family members (considering some of the garments she’s made have taken weeks and look absolutely stunning) has cut her list of people she’ll knit for very short. I’m still on it, but many people aren’t.

    For myself, as an artist (of sorts), I’ve drawn and painted for people before. There’s now a grand total of one person I’d consider doing that for again.

    It’s fair enough to say ‘who cares what people think’, but when the amount of time it takes to make the gift grows beyond the minimal you really want to be a lot pickier. Generic store-bought stuff is for people that don’t get it.

  4. Argumentative young’uns.

  5. Or possibly different cultures 😉

  6. Nope…argumentative young’uns. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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