Christmas Shopping

So today marks the official time of year that I start getting anxious.  When I was younger I loved Christmas time and especially loved buying and giving gifts.  I would be thrilled to watch people open the gifts I’d purchased on Christmas morning.  I think back to that time and observe I was either better at picking out presents or was just oblivious to whether or not people actually liked them.  Whichever it was, giving brought me lots of joy.

Somewhere a long the way though I have realized that I don’t really know what to get the people in my life.  The first Christmas Mark and I were dating I had so much fun buying his gifts.  I got several things I just knew he’d love.  Only problem was…he didn’t.  He’s not a very good actor either, so he failed at convincing me and from then on buying gifts for my husband has been nearly impossible.  His only true wish list is made up of items that are way too expensive and specific for me to try to buy (guitars and music equipment).  So I end up getting him gifts like rubics cubes and DVD’s he never watches.

My parents are equally as tough.  For the first 20 years of my life I bought my father golf balls and then one day I figured out as much as he loves golf, he just doesn’t play it that much.  For at least 5 years I have gotten stuck on Home Depot gift certificates.  Giving that gift always leaves me with an empty feeling though.  I wish there was something I could get him that was personal and appreciated.  But I got nothing…  And Mom, well she’s very particular.  Some years I do OK, but those are the years when either she or my sisters tell me specifically what to get.  If I try to come up with something on my own, I miss the mark.  I like to get her something she’ll use, like K-Cups for her Keurig machine, but I’ve sensed her disappointment on receiving something that is practical and not sentimental.  Then there is my mother-in-law who has extremely expensive taste and loves jewelry.  We have had great success in giving gifts to her, but only when we spend way more than my frugal side can handle.  Our last gift to her was a plane ticket here to see the girls.  As FABULOUS of a gift that was I could still tell she longed for an actual present.

My nieces are pretty easy.  I generally give them gift certificates and don’t feel bad about it.  I remember as a kid LOVING to get certificates and money so I could buy whatever I wanted.  I feel sure they have the same reaction.

What I have acknowledged the last few years is that what I love most about Christmas is giving.  Unfortunately I have made this realization because I’ve found myself feeling disappointed when Christmas comes and goes.  I am not disappointed at what I did or didn’t receive, but that I wasn’t able to make others as happy with gift-giving as it seems I once did.  So today, on Black Friday, the pressure is turned on.  WHAT AM I GOING TO GET EVERYONE FOR CHRISTMAS?!?!?

6 thoughts on “Christmas Shopping

  1. Renee November 27, 2009 / 8:47 am

    I’m really good at picking gifts. Let me know if you want me to go shopping with you sometime. 🙂

    But I bet people are far more grateful for what you give them than you think.

  2. Rob November 27, 2009 / 12:50 pm

    IF they have a favorite charity, they might enjoy you making a donation to it in their name. This year we decided we had more than enough ‘stuff,’ so we’re buying something for Best Friends animal sanctuary (a no-kill shelter) and limiting gifts to ourselves to something small and inexpensive.
    We’re already having fun trying to decide what to buy them (they have a LONG wish list since they have several thousand animals at their shelter in Utah.)

    • lesleehorner November 29, 2009 / 4:57 pm

      We have wanted to make “donations in your name” for the past few years but I’m not sure how well it would go over.

  3. ray November 27, 2009 / 1:05 pm

    Don’t feel alone with your thoughts of choosing the wrong thing. This is a national guilt thing. That’s why everyone buys too much. We’re trying to overwhelm our guilt. I focus on the “reason for the season” which is to express love to all. Guilt thoughts are released with a smile of understanding where its coming from. “Happy Holiday Season” with only thoughts of joy and happiness.

  4. rageomatic November 29, 2009 / 12:23 am

    I spent a lot of years hating gift giving holidays. My parents always insisted we write a really long wish list, then they would carefully buy not what I asked for, but the better, more expensive version they thought I would have asked for if I wasn’t a stupid little child.

    I would have far preferred a gift certificate to home depot.

  5. Tara December 5, 2009 / 12:36 am

    Leslee, I’ve enjoyed reading your blogs and the more I read, more I realize we are very similar. I feel the same way about giving gifts,the struggle of what to get and then the guilt. Good luck with your shopping! Oh want to add,my hard to buy for MIL, I’m getting her a recipe box and hopefully I can be creative with it to add personal touch. Just an idea, that is if she cooks!

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