I have felt slightly stressed about Christmas. The travel plans were especially the problem, but now that is seeming more hopeful as josh and I decided we want to make each other happy and be good together as we try to travel with a toddler and an overworked person and a mono-infested 20 week pregnant person. Yes, much more hope! In fact, we might even have a tentative plan (that is pretty impressive for us… really impressive).
Presents are another stressful part of Christmas. I realized mid-week that if we leave at the end of this week, I should figure out Very Very quickly what I will do about Christmas presents.
I love giving presents and getting presents. Really. Its nice. Honestly, though, I hate feeling forced to get a present for someone when I don’t have an idea what to get them, or just because I have to. I like giving presents when I feel like they will like it, its not just something that must be given so I will find some crap to give them just for the sake of it. As that is the case, I generally don’t want to give presents to whoever I can’t find the right present for. Which doesn’t leave me much time as I generally forget its near Christmas until its near Christmas. Or that its some one’s birthday until the day of their birthday. Even if they are my closest friend or family member, I personally would prefer to not give anything than it not be the RIGHT thing. This doesn’t always work, because socially sometimes I can’t get over the “not giving” a present to whom I feel I MUST give a present to. And so I do give something to them that they’ll probably re-gift next year. And then I feel I wasted money (because I did). Yet I am starting to come out of that and am believing that its okay if I don’t get a present for whoever. That’s WAY less stressful. Its just stuff anyways, right? Oh wonderful stuff. Yet, in reality, finding the “perfect” gift for someone is such a happy happy thing. I love that. Therefore, its almost worth it to spend all my time finding the “perfect” gift for the few people I would like to get presents for.
I also don’t really feel the need to spend a lot of money. Unless I really believe they will love it. But still, if that is the case, I would probably only spend that on my husband as I don’t have very much free money to spend on gifts. But, even if I did spend a lot for my husband, he’d probably get mad at me for spending a lot of money on something that isn’t what he absolutely needed even if he wants it really bad. He’s so funny. Therefore, I almost never ever do that (and don’t think I ever have). And hence this paragraph is officially pointless.
I do get sick by the “I deserve” a present mode. Christmas consumerism makes me sick. I greatly enjoy staying away from stores and TV this time of year. I mean, I like presents. I want them, though I am okay with not having a ton. Generally when I do expect gifts I only expect them from close family or friends. And since they are my close family, I feel like they have the right to not give me a present also because we are supposed to be very understanding and I don’t want them to get me crap just cause they feel like they have to. Because then they would feel like how I hate to feel, and besides, I don’t need crap. Last year my parents gave me a small ethnic rug. It was a nice rug, I liked it. I thought that was all they gave me. Part of me was slightly sad, because if I got a bigger present, it would be from them. But the other part of me was happy that they didn’t feel the need to give me something. And I liked that even more than I felt sad. Later, I found out they also gave me a gift-card to get a whole bunch of new clothing. It must have gotten lost in the wrapping and was thrown away. A waste, very true. But all to say, it was a good thing because I was happy thinking that they knew they didn’t have to do something special because its Christmas and we are forced to give gifts then.
I like being able to give freely, not forced. Of course, this is my husband’s worldview, which drove me mad in the first couple years of marriage. But I think I might be adopting it (though I don’t think I can fully do so). I love it that he gives me flowers all year long, but heck, can’t you give me flowers on Valentine’s day too even though it is forced on you? But maybe I agree, even if I don’t fully always like it.
I guess to me Christmas is more of a season than one day. And that season is wonderful because of the people in it, the smells, lights, foods, and music associate with it. I like the traditions that go with it, especially the “religious” ones, as some would call them. I love the nativity story and I hope that the joy of that is passed to my daughter, the joy of the “light of the world” as opposed “I deserve gifts” because its Christmas. Knowing how to do gifts with my kids is a whole new territory I am not too sure I want to set a standard in. I love the fact that my Grandmita never sets a standard with gifts. Sometimes she gives large gifts. Sometimes she sends a card. It reduces the expectation that “I deserve” a gift from her, and it makes it so much more real and heart-felt. I might want to do that with my children. Yet, on the other hand, getting a “big” present once a year like a bike or a doll house was wonderful too, because when else would I ever get something like that? Its an opportunity to give something large and make my kid happy. Yet, the values and expectations I want my children to have has nothing to do with getting presents, so therefore giving to them becomes a fine balance between loving them (which sometimes comes out in the form of giving to them), not spoiling them, and really, teaching them how to love others and be thankful for the blessings they have.