Coming to Town

Christmas comes but once a year.
Oddly enough that seems pretty frequent.

Every year I go through the same stages of Christmas Gift Anxiety. First, I don’t think about gifts until someone I know says they’ve almost finished their shopping. Then I think “holy crap, if they’ve just finished and I didn’t think about it until this moment, I’m way behind!”

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So if stage 1 is Oblivious, stage 2 is Stress. At this point I consider all of the people I want to bless and weigh that against all of the money I don’t have. This leads to stage 3, Disappointment. As a reaction to the disappointment I tell myself “it doesn’t matter. Why do we do this to ourselves every year? Everyone else knows how broke I am and will totally understand if I don’t get them anything.” I’m not sure what to call that stage… Denial?

But I cannot really settle well with denial, so I start to consider what I can do that will not cost very much money. I have some good ideas. Maybe that is stage 5, Good Ideas. Unfortunately my ability to follow through with these ideas in the time that is left once I have them is… stage 6, Failure.
I know that sounds pretty harsh, but it’s how I feel in the moment when this stage strikes.

Then, stage 7, I Rally. In this stage I get real practical, make a few things, buy a few things and then land on the final stage. Acceptance.

I think there are a few people in the world who are really good and happy with the Christmas present situation but many people I know go through similar stages as myself.  I think? Is it just me?
Part of me wants to just get better at this and part of me wants to find a way to make things different for all of us.

7 thoughts on “Coming to Town”

  1. You’re writing in such a way that allows me to see the whole process….I love that about you! You’re NOT the only one who goes through these stages. It’s cool to hear how you come about to acceptance! Love how honest you are….Merry Christmas, Peggy.

  2. Your 8 stage description of the gift – physical money stuff – aspect of Christmas is hard to read because I relate. Some years it’s easier because I have resources (not just money) to do the gift giving thing.

    It seems so very odd that buying things (and I am not discounting those who make the wonderful yummy’s or cozy gifts) seems to be so much.

    I am very curious what the most meaningful gifts people have received over the years around Christmas – around the time where a gift may be referred to as a Christmas gift.

    For me – I received a smile today – sounds trivial but understanding most of what is underneath that smile makes it more meaningful than the super x-box ultra with an add on microwave, unlimited pizza pocket dispenser (filled) and 100 i-tunes feature set.

    I think the gifts I receive are gifts when I let the giver know how much I appreciate them. My gratitude toward the giver and then the givers feelings are what reflect back to me as the real gift. For some reason this is a bit complicated for me to describe.

    I do not think that the gift carries any real value regardless of cost if the giver does not receive from the recipient the gratitude. The value and gift is in acknowledging the givers generosity whether it be a smile or x-box special.

    What are the gifts that people value the most?

    Thank you for another thought provoking post and for sharing so much of your thoughts and feelings out here in the world wild web.

    Merry Christmas 🙂

    1. Merry Christmas!!!
      Now you have me thinking- what has been my favorite gift?
      Well- there were the “big” gifts that I asked for as a kid that I was sure I would not get- like the big red bike from mom.
      Then there have been the homemade gifts which I almost always love.

      I like your way of seeing it as your place to be grateful and give back to the giver by actively receiving the gift. I just realized that my own hopes for Christmas gifts have often been centered around things I cannot get for myself. I hope the gifts will somehow fill in the many gaps my often minimum wage job creates. But realizing this causes me to see how ridiculous that expectation was.

      Wow. I’d like space from that paragraph. I’d like for that to not be true of me.
      This is the first year I have not one gift to give one person. Except smiles and hugs and, in the case of my family, my presence. They seem satisfied with this offering. And not getting gifts myself is an opportunity to think through what I really hope for Christmas…. and I realize I am getting exactly what I want. I’m getting time with people that I love.
      For which I am incredibly grateful.

    2. Still thinking on Christmas, so I thought I’d answer too 🙂

      One of the best gifts I got was a stereo from my mom. It was good because it was one of the few “expensive” gifts I received knowing it was expensive. It was also exactly what I wanted, although I don’t know if I asked for it. It was also a surprise, because it really was what the box said it was!

      Another good gift was a camera from John. It was something I wanted, and he’d done a lot of research to get the right one. I wish I could say I appreciated more of John’s gifts fully because he puts a lot of thought into them, but sometimes their full value isn’t immediately apparent and sometimes that’s disappointing. Like the cord which made it so I could use my “new” flat screen monitor. It’s just not romantic to open a box and find a mysterious cord inside… that was kind of a rough Christmas.

      The thought counts, though, and some of the worst gifts I’ve received are the ones where the giver just didn’t apparently GET IT. Even if the intentions are good, if the gift is too obviously not ME, it’s hard to appreciate. I won’t list those gifts here, not knowing who reads Peggy’s blog 🙂

      I’m trying to teach my kids to be grateful no matter how unsuitable the gifts are, and I have to do that by example. Janie gave me some crazy stuff this year, but she GAVE at a time when I know she was thinking a lot about getting. I rewarded her thoughtfulness with the gratitude I want her to show others.

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