Christmas Isn't Christmas Without... Presents
Trying to think of some ideas to keep me going, I asked the youths I work with what they considered a Christmas must.
Ok, yes, Christmas is heavily associated with giving and receiving gifts, but since this is my primary source of anxiety, I try not to assign so much importance to it. I studiously avoided Secret Santa gift pools at the office or otherwise because... ugh.This oppressive sense of failure smothered me every year: I suck at gifting presents. This translated to I suck.
In a perfect world, everyone would just do Christmas stockings, and we would spend $25-$35 max on silly things, and the stakes wouldn't be quite so high. But it's not perfect, and the blame for that lies squarely at the feet of Barbie, Hot Wheels, Macy's, Sephora, Kay Jewelers, and car dealerships nationwide. If I have to hear one more time, "Give her the gift you'll know she'll love," I may light myself on fire (probably not). Because what I hear, loud and clear, is "this is you renewing your worth as a human being for the year, and if the person you're giving this present doesn't melt in a puddle of gratitude and excitement that you 100% accurately guessed their human essence and translated it into a material object, well, you are the weakest link." You think you don't hear this also, Dear Reader; you think I should go on anti-anxiety meds (probably should), but you hear it too, just much more softly. Last year was amazingly bad for me. I didn't put a single thing in the mail. For anyone.
Sometimes, though, I've hit the jackpot. The year I had the idea for Kirsty and me to go in together on a bread machine for Mum (she was only talking about it for the past 10 years!). I also spent a good 3 months drawing a representation of a character that my friend loved; I framed it, and when she unwrapped it, went ballistic with excitement.
This year, when Brunch club suggested Secret Santa, I coaxed my stomach to unclench and said, "sure." When they passed around the hat for the office Secret Santa, I not only put my name in, I took a name out!
I don't know if I'm going to strike the sweet spot with everyone this year. But I've tried to find little somethings that convey how much they improve my life; that I was thinking of them, and wanted to ease a burden of theirs, if only slightly. I don't know that socks really communicate that; but then again, wet, sweaty, cold socks, or socks with a hole in the toe is a heavy burden to carry.