When does the shift happen where the excitement of Christmas becomes more about giving gifts than receiving them? I know it sounds corny and maybe cliché, but this is really how I feel these days — this year, in particular.
It has been a long time since I have compiled a straight-up Christmas Wish List for myself. When I was young, I would take the Toys ‘R Us mailer and cut out the toys I wanted and paste them on my letter to Santa. As I got older, I sometimes requested one or two big-ticket items from my parents, such as a new pair of Doc Martins, a pair of designer jeans, or an art set. However, I have always loved the nature of surprise gifts, and my parents always seem to know the perfect thing to get me, even if I hadn’t thought of it myself. When I’m asked to provide a wish list prior to the holidays, I am hard-pressed to think of something I want, and steer them toward surprising me instead.
On the flipside, however, I have found myself easily and excitedly coming up with my gift list for other people. Throughout the year, I often see something or hear of an idea that I think would be perfect for one of my loved ones, and I have tried to make a point of documenting these ideas for future reference. Although some people (cough, cough — my husband…) can be somewhat trickier to shop for, I make a valiant effort at getting gifts that I truly think are special and will be well-loved by the recipient.
I don’t want to speak too soon, but this year, I’m pretty sure my efforts have paid off. As we wrapped our gifts the other night, I could not help but feel proud of the items we had selected for the people on our list. Although there are very few (if any) impressively expensive items, each gift was lovingly chosen and/or made specifically with the recipient in mind. I cannot wait to see each one opened, and share the stories behind each gift.
I was so anxious to give gifts this year, in fact, that I’ve already begun! Anthony shares my gift-giving anticipation, and as a result, we exchanged presents on a Saturday a couple weeks ago. Anthony had been doing some solo shopping that morning, and I don’t believe the wrapping paper was on my gifts for more than an hour before we simultaneously suggested we open them all immediately. Unfortunately, my actual gift to him will not arrive until January (although I did make a big production of wrapping a preview of it up in a box), but I’ve been wearing the backpack he so carefully selected for me to work every day since.
Receiving gifts is fun, and of course I appreciate the thought that went into the presents I will receive this weekend, but I can’t help but be anxious about my own offerings to others. It almost feels selfish, or at least self-absorbed, to be so excited about any gifts with my name appearing in the “from” section of the tag, but I truly do hope the items are the perfect choices that I think they are.
Of course, the “reason for the season” is not gifts at all, whether giving or receiving; I love the opportunity to spend time with loved ones, participate in long-lasting traditions, and revel in cherished memories while creating new ones togethe, but giving gifts obviously becomes a big part of it all. It is a way for Anthony and I to show our love to people we don’t see nearly often enough, and to hopefully leave them with a reminder of us at times when we can’t be there ourselves.
Those of you who can expect a gift from me this year (probably most of those reading this…), I’m not trying to get your hopes up, but I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed!
Merry Christmas to everyone — I can’t wait to be “home”!