I think I am a Christmas Grinch and didn’t know it.
As the Christmas season gets more intense, people keep asking me, “have you finished all of your Christmas shopping?” I look at them like they’re smoking crack because Christmas shopping rarely ever crosses my mind. I don’t buy Christmas gifts, not even for my mama. I’ve been doing this for several years. Each year I think about sending Christmas cards, but I never seem to get around to it.
Confession time: I hate shopping, and I am really bad at gift giving.
I hate shopping any time of year, not just Christmas time. Shopping forces me to have to make decisions about what to buy and generally this involves money and well, to be honest I never really had a good relationship with money growing up. We barely had enough to get by, so shopping for things unnecessary for survival always seemed superfluous. The act of being thoughtful of others so one could deduce what gift to give someone wasn’t one we practiced often. It wasn’t because we didn’t care, it was because we didn’t have anything to offer in terms of a gift bought from a store. Sometimes my mom would stretch her funds and buy gifts for people, but this made things stressful. It created a lot of grief in my household. Money was always a source of frustration, and well, I guess I learned to stay away from anything that would create money grief.
Now that I am older, I have developed some insecurities behind gift giving. Am I going to give them the right gift? Will they like it or will it just sit in the closet never to be seen again? Can I get a better deal? What if they have this already? The questions are endless. So…I just don’t give gifts. Problem solved!
In a perfect world I would actively save every year for a Christmas Giving fund and then disburse gifts accordingly. I’d probably buy all my gifts online, as I’d rather be anywhere else on the planet than a retail store. I’m sure this sounds normal for most people, but for me this is a big step
Admittedly I have some issues around the commercialization of Christmas, and I try not to participate because of it, but this doesn’t excuse my non gift-giving behavior other times of the year such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Mother’s Day. Yes, I have horrific etiquette (ironically my mom used to lecture me about proper etiquette, which was probably why she would buy gifts for people even when she didn’t have the money).
I was reading something the other day, (okay it was the Bible) about giving thanks and the message I was listening to deduced that unexpressed gratitude is a form of rejection. Furtherlymore, refusal to pay your ‘debts of gratitude’ is to live as if you have an inflated view of yourself. To that end, I agree. I hate shopping and feel like I can’t be bothered to shop in the name of showing gratitude towards others. That’s difficult for me to hear, but it’s true. I need to get over it. I need to get over myself.
I guess this is a post to say in 2011 I am going to work more on being actively thoughtful and thankful. As for 2010, I am going to do my best to figure out how to make the rest of the year work.