The Gift Giving Grinch

I’m completely frozen in my tracks. My brain doesn’t even know where to start. There are millions of options and no options. There are strategies. There are fun, creative, thoughtful ways to go about this, but....

I don’t want to do any of it. I don’t want to buy the first gift. Not even for my children. Not even for my husband. 

I don’t even want to open a gift. I’d rather not. I will, but it’s like I’m being forced to decide something right there on the spot. I’m supposed to respond with something right then and there and be glad about it and there is not space to process. 

But, I’m no grinch. At least I don’t think I am.

First, I envy all of you that are such good gift givers. I love how joyfully and easily you find meaningful gifts and present them so well (Karen, Jessica, and Mary -- I'm talking about ya'll!!!) 

There’s a book that came out when we were young loves and just learning about what love really is. It was a little cheesy but this guy had some ideas about love that have stuck with me all these years. The Five Love Languages. You’ve probably heard of it. 

Gift giving is one of those love languages. I didn’t identify with a single bullet point on that list.

That didn’t strike me at all as a way to show love. I’m a terrible gift giver and receiver. TERRIBLE! Ask my family. There will be a chorus of “Amens”.

So how am I supposed to navigate this season of giving when it makes me feel blue and sad and wrong and low and deplorable and defeated and guilty?

I’ve no good answer for this, but I know I’m not alone. I know there are some kindred spirits out there feeling pretty low right now. 

So, what exactly is a gift? What is love? Time. Praise. I love to give you my time. I love to have you in my home and feed you and talk to you and know about you. I want to give you food, space, peace, words, lots of words. I want to DO something with you or for you. I’d rather clean your toilet and change your child’s crapped out diaper than give you a gift! 

I love to write letters and I love to receive letters. I love to be told that I’m doing a good job and to tell people they are doing well. I love colors and sounds, music and wine. I want to hear the story of christmas over and over and over. I want to light candles and hang lights and smell cinnamon and bake stuff and have you over to eat it. 

I’d like to take you canoeing, swimming, biking, running, painting, something. Do something with you! I’ll even get my nails painted!

And I absolutely love traditions. Every every year. Advent wreaths. The 25 day paper chain. Light the candle. Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel. And please kids fight over who will light the candle and blow it out because it wouldn’t be real without that. Egg nog. 

Stories. Songs. Charlie Brown Christmas Trees. Bad ornaments. Mulled Wine. Christmas Carols a million times. The Christmas Story. Manger Scenes. Lights. Candles. 

And I do love gifts. I don’t want to not get them. I do want to give them. I’m almost basically 40 now and so I guess I’m a little bit grown up and enjoy getting a gift without having an anxiety attack, but, I’m still terrible terrible terrible about giving them. I honor and respect and am awed by people that so easily and joyfully and lovingly give gifts. I want to speak your language!!!

However, I know you’re out there. Non gift givers. I want you to know you are not alone (or maybe I am the only one and then I am definitely crazy and need help). But, if you don’t want to buy a gift for someone, ask them for coffee. Take them to a movie. Go on an adventure. Make them a cake. Wash their car for them. Take their kids away for an hour. I want to be a good gift giver, but it will probably look different than a box with wrapping paper on it with doilies and candy canes and special golden paper notes…Part of the problem is that what I want to do is give everybody and nobody an amazing gift and amazing gifts are hard to find. 

Well, except the ONE. 

To bring it all back around. The point of this season. HE did some pretty serious quality time for us and we weren’t even nice to him about it. We wanted the gift wrapped in beautiful robes and sparkly things and he came just in an ordinary wrapping. Swaddled. For you and for me. 

Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel.


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