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?