The holidays are here. That magical time when all the money you saved throughout the other eleven months not only disappears, but turns red and bursts into flames. Talk about Christmas miracles…
When my kids were younger and easier to impress, I used to stock up on sale items throughout the year. A Lego set here, craft kit there, a movie or two from the bin… I’d stash them in the top of my closet and feel like my Christmas shopping was done by October. Of course, I would still spend way too much and half the time forget about my gift stash until Valentine’s day, but the efforts were there and they made me feel like I had a sort of super power. To shop.
Giving has always been my favorite part of Christmas. I love giving people gifts they would never guess. Sometimes the gifts are a total hit; guitar for Brad. And sometimes they are a flop; singing turkey hat for my brother in law. You just never know what I’ll give you. I may even do a big surprise and not get you anything at all. It adds to the mystery of me.
I like getting gifts too, but it can be painful. When I was a kid, I was rarely surprised. I don’t blame my parents, I was just overly observant and curious. I usually knew what I was getting and had to work hard to come up with a good surprise face. It’s taxing on a toddler.
Now that I’m a single, middle aged, self sufficient mom/grandma, I don’t get many gifts. I’m not complaining; it’s really okay. The few gifts I get are special things from people that love me (or pretend to). The smaller amount of gifts makes them more special than they would be if they came in groves.
The best gift that I have found, is the gift of time. I’ve given lots of gifts of concert tickets, mystery dinner parties, comedy clubs, movies, segwaying, etc. Groupon is my cohort in most of these creative gift endeavors. My goal is to not only give a gift, but to build a stronger relationship with the receiver. So far, this has been working with my kids. This year, for Christmas, I gave my 15 year old tickets to see a Queen tribute band with me. He was as thrilled as a 15 year old boy can be about anything and still be cool.
With my friends, my success has been different. Although they go with me and we seem to have a great time, I never get invited out with them again. In fact, several of them have completely avoided me ever since the outing we shared. Part of me believes this is because the time we spent was so fantastic and out of this world…they are afraid they will never be able to experience such joy again and they just shut down. The other, more realistic side of me has to wonder if I am just not as fun as I think I am. The fun I think we are having is really a cruel form of torture for the other person and they avoid me out of complete and debilitating fear for their life.
It’s really hard to tell. I guess I will have to pay more attention to the televisions that I have in my basement that monitor my ‘friends’ every movement. I will figure this out….cause I said so.