It's that time of year again...Christmas shopping. It is such a love/hate relationship when it comes to Christmas shopping, isn't it? On one hand I totally embrace the idea of finding the perfect treasure for someone I love, buying them the exact-right gift that I know perfectly balances the need/want of their desires and, if I'm lucky, will also be on sale and in their size or color. The idealism of it all is enthralling - every year I have these grand notions that I will be sauntering around the mall with a peppermint mocha latte in one hand and a fat wallet in the other - just waiting for the perfect item to catch my eye so I can scratch another name off my list.
This never happens. Christmas movies have ruined me. Still, each year I'm still bound to the unspoken agreement with which to exchange said gifts with multiple individuals, nearly forcing me to compromise one of my ideals when it comes to either selection, price, or even recipient.
After all, December is sort of a nightmare month when it comes to gift-giving in my family. Not only is it Christmas for everyone - it is also my dad's, mom's, brother's, niece's, and nephew's birthdays! Whew. Now, that is just unfair. Are you people trying to force me into poverty?
Nevertheless, each year I waver between the emotions of looking forward to Christmas shopping, and cringing when I glance at the bottom of each receipt. I mean, I love them - how can I put a price on showing my appreciation of them? But, of course, I must.
We've tried to control the chaos. We began to "draw names" in our family a few years back, and now that we have our own child she, too, can now participate in the exchange which makes it a bit easier than having to buy for 6 other nieces and nephews, but still. Granted - this is just MY side of the family! Of course we are on the hunt for gifting the in-laws as well, and then there are all the "fringe people" with whom we are entitled.
You know, you have them - "fringe people"... The neighbor, the pastor, the landlord, the co-worker, the boss, that one lady who always seems to get you something and you're not sure why but you still feel like you should have something for her as well.... It all adds up. Usually I bake something for most of those people - it tends to be cheaper in the long run and yet still shows I care enough to put the time into stirring batter and hopefully not burning down my apartment. "Here, Merry Christmas - I hope this doesn't kill you!" (Just kidding, I'm actually fairly skilled in this area, so it is one part of it all I can not stress over - oh, except for the part of actually taking the time to do it!)
And then there are the Christmas cards. I love Christmas cards - I love to make them, get them, give them...but, again, work! And every year I'm like "Do I write a letter to go with it? Do I just include one picture or more? Does anyone even read these anymore?" and the list of addresses gets longer every year.
Oh Christmas, you are certainly power-packed with reasons to stress, but I refuse!
It will all get done.
Each person on my list will have SOMETHING to open (or read or eat, etc) on Christmas, and the day will come and go with full hearts of gratitude, no doubt. There are plenty of things to get done between now and the 25th of December, but there are also too many things to miss if I don't stop and breath and take the time to enjoy them: Trimming the tree! Pictures with Santa! Looking at the Christmas lights! Peppermint Frozen Yogurt! Singing Christmas Carols!