It’s that time of year! I absolutely love Christmas, everything about Christmas transforms the look of everything. Riding down my street …I just LOVE seeing all the holiday lights and decorations. I love seeing the lit trees in the windows, big bows on cars and all that stuff…. and on the inside of homes there is the tree and ornaments and stockings and decorations and table runners and seasonal candles that warm the room with the scent of cinnamon or pine.. I absolutely love it. I even look forward to a big meal and making it.

There’s one thing I hate about Christmas though….

and it’s… the Gifts!

When I was a little kid, I loved it, it was the only time I got a lot of stuff. I grew up in a family with 6 kids so we all had very little…stuff. When I look back… I know back then I wanted a lot of stuff but I now realize I didn’t need a lot of stuff. I was creative and had a good time with out all the stuff. It was fun just having barbies, a hula hoop and an easy bake oven. Other than those few things… I couldn’t even tell you what I got as gifts.

As a teen I wanted clothes but… I didn’t want other people picking out my clothes. I would get items that were kinda sorta like what I wanted but not exactly… like one year I asked for a Hawaiian shirt…how hard is that? I think that when I say Hawaiian shirt that most people will think of the shirts they saw Magnum PI wearing right? That’s pretty much what a Hawaiian shirt is … right? NOPE, I got a shirt that was white and that had a floral print at the bottom of it… that was NOTHING LIKE a Hawaiian shirt. Those shirts are never hard to find. A person can always get a shirt like that but … somehow I end up with a shirt that’s nothing like it. I wore the shirt anyway because back then… people didn’t give gift receipts and I had relatives who lived in other states that would send stuff from stores we didn’t have in my town…

Then there are the gifts that I have gotten that are like what the giver would want. My last husband gave me a TV before we were married. I was perfectly happy with the TV I had but.. he got me a new one and when he gave it to me he said “I always wanted one of these”.

I got to the point where I thought I would just tell people exactly what I want. I would offer a picture of exactly what I wanted. I asked for a coach bag one year, I cut out a picture of it, circled the exact one. It was a pretty, black bag that was a nice size. Got the style, it was brand new.. and it was brown. So… I carried that brown bag around and wore all my black shoes for a number of years. (Eventually I got some brown shoes so I could match some times).

Purses are something I consider personal. I only carry ONE bag, I never switch out unless I’m done with the last one. I prefer to select my own purse yet I get purses from family.

I have gotten gifts from people and someone close to me would say “oh just pretend you like it”. I never want to hurt someones feelings but I feel so fake when I pretend to like something. Then it comes back to bite me in the ass…. for example.. when I lived in England any my mother in law bought me some “American Popcorn” (which was really caramel corn) I tasted it and it was the WORST pop corn EVER! So my husband ate it for me when she wasn’t looking and she thought “OH she likes it… I’LL GET HER SOME MORE”!!! SO I can’t pretend to like it too much because that’s the sort of thing that happens.

NOW LET ME SAY SOMETHING….

I understand why people buy other people gifts: A) There is an occasion (birthday-wedding-holiday) and people feel obligated OR B) They love your or are glad you are part of their life and they would like to honor you.

If you wanted to honor someone …. wouldn’t you want to get them something they would like? Isn’t that the idea with a gift?

Getting gifts just makes me feel bad because I usually don’t like what the gift is unless they have asked me and then got me specifically what I wanted. (Very few people can guess what I would want). Then I end up feeling fake for pretending to like it.. then there seems to be a pattern after that.. they continue to give me such similar items.

I’m really not that much of a “stuff” person. I like services like manicures at my favorite spa or massages or even a limo ride. I don’t want someone to tell me they are taking me out to dinner, I want them to ask me if I want to go to dinner.

The worst thing for me is  a surprise. Unless you are surprising me with a trip to Europe then it’s not a good idea. I know my husband hates me making him tell me what surprises are coming but at least I can brace myself.

What I value most is time with people. If someone feels I am important enough to honor then… honor me with your time. If you want to honor me with a gift… let’s go look together, spend time with me and let’s get it together or make it together. One of the last things I remember doing with my Grandmother is cleaning up an overflowed toilet. I couldn’t tell you what she ever gave me as a gift but I valued that time with her. She didn’t want to wake my mom, we just did it together. (There’s a whole back story there).

When I look back on life there are few gifts I remember and obviously .. not many are positive memories.

I also would prefer it if someone would buy a goat for a poor farmer in Ecuador in my name or sponsor a child or buy shoes for children who have none. I feel bad that people spend money on things I don’t like or want or need. I would much rather the money be spent on something else rather than me.

It’s not that I don’t feel I deserve to have gifts. I’m ok with receiving.I just don’t get the process others go through.

Is it just me? Are there others out there? Cause I’m just sayin….

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