12 December 2008

Redefining Christmas Gifts

Here's my latest AHA! moment into my own soul.  Isn't it fun getting to know yourself?!

Last year Chuck and I were in Utah for the holidays, so we decided that we should open all of our gifts before we go. We didn't need to haul them on a plane just to haul them back. So on the eve of Christmas Eve we went to dinner (Continental Pizza and Subs for Chuck's pepperoni pizza and my chicken souvlaki), went to the temple to see the lights, and then went home to open the presents. It was supposed to be this great wonderful beautiful night. And it was...until we opened gifts.

So here's what I learned: I really like giving gifts. That is, I like giving gifts when I feel the gift is really something that the receiver will like. For example, I was pretty excited to give my mom her Christmas present last year. She wanted an apron so I found a great pattern and fabric and was really pleased with how it turned out. This year for my nephews Miles and Jonas, I am also really excited about what I made for them.  Hopefully they'll like it too.  And Emmy and Ziggy have pretty fun gifts coming their ways as well...again, hopefully.

But here's the rub. When I am stymied about what to give, I refuse to just buy "something." R and I have a great gift-giving relationship this way. If we see something we know the other will love, we buy it. But if not, it's NO BIG DEAL. So as much as I don't want to buy just "something," I really really really don't want to be given just "something." In fact, just getting "something" is really distressing to me. Some (cough cough, Chuck) might say it's tear-inducing.

I'm still not exactly sure why this is, however. Although I think it boils down to one of my least favorite feelings: disappointment.  Maybe I'm disappointed because that person doesn't know me well enough to know what I want? Maybe I'm disappointed at the money and materials wasted in the giving of this gift? Maybe because it's just another thing I'll have to have in my house until I feel okay enough to freecycle it? Probably all of the above. Whatever the reason, it's still upsetting.

Here is our solution: As far as gifts from others, I know I can't control that. I'll have to be better at being grateful and in turn, better at re-gifting. But for the couple-gift-exchange dilemma, instead of giving each other "something," we're going to give each other our time. (Cue the "awwww...") That is, each Christmas, we'll plan an activity (e.g., seeing a show, splurging on a nice dinner, going to some sporting event, sky diving) and use the money we would have spent on gifts to do it. Rhett and Bruno will get gifts, of course, but for each other, we just want to spend time together. I can't wait to decide what we get to do!


Natalie said...

I like that idea! Cam and I rarely give Christmas gifts to each other and we don't go out just the two of us very often either so this is a great idea for us also. Thanks!

Sandra said...

Oh! I love it! I have the hardest time buying presents for Allan because if there's something he really wants, he just goes and buys it. I'm going to talk to Allan about this idea.

Rachael said...

I love that we do that with gifts. I wish that I could do that with everyone because I love that feeling, seeing something that you know they will love, then you get it for them and they love it.
BTW, I feel the same about gifts that are just given. I think for me it's more the disappoint that the people don't know me well enough to know that I hate it. Also, I am a horrible liar, and I hate hate hate trying to be polite and pretending that I like it.

But that's a great idea to just give your time. I think this will really work with my parents and my siblings.

Living in Tally said...

I feel horrible because I am one of those bad gifters. I STINK at gift giving and I don't know why. I wish I was more thoughtful. There are some people who this comes naturally to. Every once in a while I pull something good, but it is rare, and I need some advice on how to fix this dilemma...