Whenever I receive a beautifully wrapped and thoughtful present with a hand-written note, I instantly want to both hug and strangle the person who gave it to me.
There. I said it.
You see, I am not a good gift giver, or rather, I am not a very timely gift giver. I cherish all my loved ones, but am pathetic at getting the gift to its intended recipient anywhere around the occasion’s physical date. Alternately, I’ll buy a present, but it was a last minute buy and I feel a degree of shame in giving it to them.
I share this, hoping I’m not alone. Have you too made it to the Christmas morning finish line exhausted, slightly hysterical, only to become suddenly, ever-so-slightly resentful of the people for whom you bought the gifts in the first place? Gifts which had seemed appropriate and well chosen, albeit decided upon while one surprisingly strong elderly lady’s elbow was in your left eye while a writhing, screaming child strained against his stroller straps, the front wheel of which has been running back and forth over your right foot for the past few minutes while you agonized between a lacy pillow sham and an embroidered one; a sham indeed, revealed in the last sweat-filled moments of wrapping to be hopelessly lacking…
My chronic, yearly frenzy has caused me to view those who have the panache of gift giving with a mixture of awe and suspicion. I become insecure that there was a lesson in kindergarten I tragically missed. I telepathically will this miraculous creature to write a book on time management, and then gift me the cliff notes.
It’s fairly obvious it’s the time constraint which causes so much stress during the holiday season- a present must arrive by this date or you risk letting someone down. Why not try something else, and escape the holiday crush by being a more giving person all year round? Think about it: if there were fewer yule-tide checkout lines, looming Christmas day deadline drama and folks had time to enjoy themselves, this time of year wouldn’t sneak up on people (and their adrenal glands).
So next year, we’ll all give ourselves the gift of perspective and achieve inner peace. For now, we’ve got to get through this so let’s take a deep breath and summon up some grace from somewhere, probably very deep within– I often do this by connecting to the gratitude I feel for the work I get to do with The Girl Effect www.girleffect.org, an organization which is ending global poverty by empowering and enfranchising adolescent girls in developing countries– and remember to enjoy ourselves, even though it’s the Holidays.
If we can step away from the idea of giving gifts and arrive at a place where we live a life of giving- a life rooted in the well-intentioned if not always perfectly practiced art of living presently and joyfully- then we’re being, and doing, our best. And there is no shame in that.
Now go have fun! Put on something with sequins, spike your eggnog, and don’t drunk text anyone you don’t want to talk to in the New Year. Happy Holidays!