Christmas Confusion (& anxiety)

One of the most frustrating things about the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas for me is the buying of Christmas gifts. I am eternally conflicted when it comes to gift giving.

As a recovering people pleaser, I feel pressed to get the perfect gift for each person on my list. That means that when I am shopping, I am constantly reassigning in my mind a value to each gift I am purchasing and most likely being driven bonkers by the disconcerting “feeling” that I may not have chosen the right one for this person or that person on my list.

I wish I were like others who I perceive are making an easy list, checking it once, going on-line to purchase what they’ve written down in rows on said list and being satisfied with what they’ve gotten for those that were lucky enough to make their list. In my mind, these are the normal ones–those folks who do not agonize over gift selection and can complete their shopping in a few days, having everything wrapped by December 10th.

I don’t know why I struggle like I do, or keep receipts (convinced my choices will have to be returned), or pour over list suggestions for days; writing, erasing and writing again what I think will work for others. Too many options make me crazy, and gift buying, even more insane. It would be better for me if I got gift cards or cash for everyone on my list, but I have found through trial and error that this is not a solution either–the recipients are not happy to have paper or plastic on Christmas morning.

Often the frustrations of life send me toward food, where I have built a habit out of eating to sooth. This option being no longer open to me, I have to find other ways to keep my anxiety levels even during the holiday buying season. It seems like this year is worse than last. Maybe that’s because I haven’t prayed about the process enough this year. Why do I always think of that as a last resort?  Perhaps those I’m buying for are behind in listing items they would like to have for Christmas 2012 and that is what has me stymied. It also might be that I’m more concerned about spending this year. I have said for at least a decade that the two haunts that follow me through life and most notably torment my soul are named Food and Finance.  Whenever one or the other threatens to invade my serenity, I lose focus.

What is the solution to my holiday buying conundrum? I’m not sure. I still don’t know what I’m getting for 95% of the people on my list. All I am sure of is that with regards to gift giving this year, I’m trying to remember that I don’t have to be perfect and that the returns line at major box stores was created because there are millions like me out there, trying our darndest to get the perfect gift, but falling short of that goal.

How does gift giving affect you at Christmas time?  Are you one who buys for others what you like for yourself, or do you try to anticipate what others want and get that for them at Christmas time? 

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I Survived Thanksgiving Day 2012

I made it!  Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I am still standing.  Woot, woot!

Yesterday found me at the home of my brother and sister-in-law.  There, our family celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday together. I ate discriminately, and did not lose my head.  As a reward for self-controlled eating, when I weighed myself this morning the scale had not moved.  Again, woot, woot! I took my own advice and followed the Top Ten Rules for Holiday Eating that I had previously shared here.  I did eat a slice of my niece’s famous pumpkin roll, but did not indulge in the seven (yes, I said seven), different types of pie that lined the side board two hours after lunch. I also said “no” to those items on the table that did not look like they were worth the calories.

This year, I did not drink my calories-no soda or booze for this girl.

I did not fear the food on the table, nor did I court it, like some sugar-starved addict.

I was asked to say grace before the meal, so I accomplished rule no. 3.

I was also able to remember that the food on the table, gorgeous spread that it was, was just food.  I could have any of these options any day I chose to have it.  Remembering this keeps the food in perspective for me.  I don’t have to swallow everything in sight today, because if I choose, I can recreate that dish tomorrow.

Thanksgiving Day 2012 is over and I am satisfied with how I handled the eating pressures this holiday naturally brings. I’m also grateful to all the bloggers I follow who have encouraged their readers to have a plan as they move through the holidays.  Next hurdle, 2012 Christmas and all the treats at the office.  Here’s hoping I get through that sugar ladden gauntlet too!

Top Ten Things to Remember During the Holidays

With the holidays quickly approaching, I’m trying to remember a few things about food and how important it is to stay on task with my eating.

1. Don’t drink your calories.

2. Don’t live in fear of food.

3. Trust God.  Remember to be thankful.  Say grace before eating.

4. Focus. On. Family.

5. It’s just a holiday–not a campaign to abolish starvaton across the globe. Children of other nationalities will be just fine it you don’t eat it all.

6. It’s just food-it has no power you don’t willingly hand over to it.

7. There are ways to reverse engineer great recipes so they aren’t heavy laden with fat and sugar. Explore and enjoy!

8. Sweat is your best friend…move, whenever possible.

9. Spread the love, not the cream cheese.

10. Greek Yogurt loves muscle, and muscle loves greek yogurt.