Thursday, November 25, 2010

What Should Be Gratitude...

Christmas shopping stresses me out. More than almost anything I can name at the moment, the idea of buying the perfect gift for someone makes me nuts. It's not the money, the time, the malls, the crowds. It's this bizarre notion that the weight of the civilized world rides on whether or not I find the perfect gift for my nephew.

It's paralyzing.

I have felt this way for as long as I can remember. Who knows why; it's too early in the day to have any kind of focus on the sort of self-analyzing required to figure this one out. But I think it's the root of all my negative feelings about Christmas, and somehow connected to my deepest insecurities. The weight of the world is on my shoulders; I have to find everyone the perfect gift.

I have a large family - five kids, a husband, in-laws, brother and family, parents, coworkers. I have a huge circle of acquaintances and friends. Come December 1st, the overriding challenge behind most of my daily life is finding the perfect gift. And what drives me is not about what my friends and family might most appreciate or like; it seems to be more about me. Ironically, most gifts I give seem to end up being less than stellar. I tend to give up and grab something out of the dollar bin at Target.

Well, okay. Maybe not. But that's how I feel.

The option of failure seems somehow larger than a $20 purchase; it has something to do with my own self-worth, ability to do the right thing, be good enough.

It's just freaking overwhelming. I feel controlled by this inability to choose a gift. Frankly, it doesn't matter when I start - I can shop in July and struggle with the same thing. No amount of planning or budgeting ever seems to help.

It's somewhat ridiculous to be sitting in my kitchen early on Thanksgiving morning feeling this pit in my stomach. I thought I'd check out a few online deals in the hopes of finding the perfect gift. I thought perhaps that would help - no stress of stores or lines, no feelings of being overwhelmed by Too Much Stuff. Instead, I've come away with this nauseous feeling that I'll never get it right. It's not even 9:00AM, and instead of gratitude, the vile stench of guilt is sneaking up behind me.

I wish I could get over this. How do I get over this?


WhatAboutNovember said...

I have never received a gift in a box, with a bow, or a ribbon, that in reality changed my life one bit.

You, on the other hand, are priceless beyond all measure, and on this morning I think you need to know that YOU are one of the greatest gifts that I for one have ever received.

Be secure.

Connie K. said...

OK, forgive me for being preachy.

1) You can NEVER give the Perfect Gift.

2) So stop stressing about it.

3) Uh...maybe you have a control issue?

4)All that stuff you're worrying about? It's only stuff.

5) Your time, your words, your presence, your caring attention throughout the year, your music...all the things you do in your everyday, walking around life that reflect the Perfect Gift who guides your life and whom we celebrate on Dec 25...that is what people will remember. Not the $20 thing from Target.

6) Please don't do this to yourself.

7) Might I suggest you take 22 minutes and watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas"? And not for nostalgia's sake, but to help put materialism in its place.

Love you.