Of all the possible shopping days before Christmas, I’m hoping this was the worst one, because at least it is over now. I have such a conflicting bunch of feelings about the whole subject that I almost feel ill with confusion. I’m not a big shopper at any time of the year so I guess it’s no surprise that I hate it now. In no particular order, my twelve thoughts on Christmas shopping.
1. It makes no sense to me that what was supposedly the birthday of Christ is now an occasion to shower ourselves with presents to the point that most people don’t even care whose birthday it was. When it’s your birthday who do you think should get the presents?
2. It makes no sense to me that I should buy something, anything, whether or not it’s wanted or needed, just to meet the unrealistic expectation of a present for everyone.
3. It makes no sense to me to try to gift everyone I care about all on the same day (or even in the same month), not timewise, not financially.
4. It makes no sense to me that I should shop for everyone on the same day or week that nearly everyone is shopping for everyone. Living for hours in a checkout line is not good for my health/sanity.
5. It makes no sense to me to buy gifts in July so that I can give them in December either. Why wait?
6. I remember childhood Christmases. There were many good things about them but right in the middle was the MAJOR thing – what’s in those packages and what am I gonna get? Not proud of that but, hey, I was a kid.
So about this time I’m deciding that there will be no Christmas shopping for me. I will not let marketers lure me into this insanity. And then I get these thoughts…
7. Someone gives me a gift and pretty much blows me away with their generosity. I have to thank them. I want to reciprocate in appreciation. I have no idea what to get them.
8. No matter how much someone tries not to care about presents, when everyone else is getting them, those who aren’t wonder if anyone cares about them. I want them to know I care. I have no idea what to get them.
9. Time is a worthwhile present and I want to give it to the people closest to me – but all in the same week? Across five different states? How am I going to get any shopping done? What else can I get them? I have no idea.
10. I have to get them something useful, something they will love, something that says I know them and care about them, something that doesn’t make them feel obligated to buy a gift for me, something not from the dollar store, SOMETHING THAT I DIDN’T GET THEM LAST YEAR. I have no idea what that is.
11. There is a beauty in glittering, wrapped packages with ribbon all over them. People need to have pretty stuff like that to look at. They are like flowers – here today and gone tomorrow with the after Christmas trash pick up. But they have their moment.
12. If I could find that perfect gift, it would actually be following the example of what God did when he gave us part of himself, his son. If I could give it in love it wouldn’t matter whether it was on the same day as Jesus’s real birthday. If I could give it sacrificially it would be meaningful and cherished by the recipient. But honestly, I have no idea what that perfect gift would be.
I’m not going to tell you how I handle this dilemma, but I do manage to get through the season. What are your thoughts and feelings about shopping and gifts for Christmas?