Grinching It Up (just a bit)

Every year at Christmas I struggle with gifting and the dichotomy of the thrill of receiving versus the trauma of giving.  I know that giving is supposed to feel good, and sometimes, when I’ve really thought about it and found the perfect present for someone – something that they actually really need and like and find useful – then it does give me that warm and fuzzy glow inside.  Unfortunately, “giving” at Christmas too often turns into a last-minute frenzied trip through the mall with a list of 20 people (most of whom I only vaguely know), frantically trying to find something that is both generic enough (so they could actually use it) and tasteful enough (so that my own aesthetic isn’t horribly offended.

Oh dear, that last bit made me sound (as the British say) like a right twat, didn’t it? I know it sounds terrible to say it, but if you really think about it, you know you’ve had to buy a present for your second-cousin’s boyfriend of 6 weeks who you’ve only met twice and can’t really remember his name … and is that really in the spirit of Christmas?  On the converse side, getting a present from your second-cousin’s boyfriend of 6 weeks who also doesn’t know my name is no great shakes either! I’ll likely end up with a pair of socks or a pair of dangly earrings that I’ll never wear. Or, god forbid, another fuzzy blanket. See?  It goes both ways.  So I guess I was wrong to say that there was a “thrill of receiving” because in fact, getting a bunch of crap that you don’t really want is just as stressful!  And that doesn’t even address the issue of where you’re going to put it all.

Sometimes the wrapping is better than what's inside.

Okay okay, I admit it. I’m totally a grinch.  I don’t really like Christmas. Bring out the cat-o-nine-tails and I’ll flagellate myself while you go and enjoy the turkey with all the trimmings.

I don’t mean to suggest that I hate everything about Christmas.  I can do without the religious bits, obviously, and the blatant commercialism I find offensive. But some of the carols aren’t so bad (Carol of the Bells and Drummer Boy are quite nice actually), and holly can be quite festive, if used in a tasteful decoration.  And I quite like the idea of preparing a special meal for your loved ones, even though I’m about the world’s worst cook.  See?  I’m not a totally awful person.

This was supposed to be a post explaining about the gift thing. Instead it’s been a bit of a manifesto, hasn’t it?  Hopefully you’ll all forgive me, because hey, if you’re mad, it’s probably because you’re offended, which means you really love Christmas, which means you buy into all that Christmas spirit and stuff, which means you HAVE to forgive me because it’s the Christmas Season, so there!  (That was totally awesome logic, wasn’t it?)

Basically, to make a long story even longer: we have developed a new gifting philosophy.  There is only one rule, and it’s pretty simple. Any gifts we give must fit into one of the following categories.
The gift must go into:
A. A tummy
B. A bathtub
C. A bank account

See?  Now is that so bad?  If you simply follow these three rules, you are guaranteed a more pleasant and stress-free gifting experience, on both ends of the transaction.  Option A is totally a win/win because everyone loves food and drink!  Option B is definitely biased towards women, but then guys usually complain that women are harder to shop for, so it’s a good tactic for them. And I’ve never heard of anyone, man or woman, complaining about a gift in the C category. Best of all, it helps you avoid the pitfalls of the hideous Christmas sweater, which we’ve all fallen victim to at one point or another.

Don't even think about it!

Please know that we’ll be thinking of you all and sending out happy thoughts of you into the universe. And if (or when) I’m ever forgiven for writing this post,  we will gladly accept happy thoughts from you too. Also, we’ll be on Skype all day on Christmas Day, so hop online and we can have a chat. That would be a gift we would really and truly appreciate.


Posted on 22/12/2010, in Speaker's Corner and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Does the gift of a Skype chat go in your tummy, your bathtub or your bank account?
    From my perspective, it is not about the gift, it is about connections. Connections are my favorite part of the Christmas holiday. Connections with family, with friends, with God or your spiritual beliefs, with bright shinny lights, with silver bells, with memories, with miracles, with music, with beautiful colors, with stories, with fun, with special food and drink, with joy and with peace. Symbols abound to celebrate these connections. Gifts serve as symbols to connect to others in a caring fashion. A gift is not always perfect, it may not be what your heart desired, it might not match you, but it is usually rendered with care. The message, I thought about you and I cared about you. It is a desire to share and to have fun. Maybe you will gasp, maybe you will laugh, maybe you will cry, maybe you will shriek, maybe you will be quiet, but you will experience a marvelous connection.
    Thank you for your connections.
    Valerie Noel Claus

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