Giving and Receiving Train Wreck

Presents Thanksgiving's gone. And though I'd like to weigh in on world peace or other culturally stimulating topics, I must turn my thoughts to the challenges of buying presents before the 25th. For me, part of pacing Christmas is the planning so that we, in fact, don't rush around. However, this is a tortured exercise, at least for my family, because we demonstrate just how lousy we are about giving and receiving gifts.

It seems easy to say "I'm great at receiving gifts! Just try me." But hold on. Who hasn't opened a package and heard the "whawhawha" music in their heads, forced a smile and began lying to prevent a relationship kerfuffle? You give a quick hug and immediately change the subject by inviting the next person to open a gift.

But I find the giving part even more difficult.

The usual questions fly: Can we get lists from people? How do we avoid doubling up between our two families? What's our price per gift? How many folks can we realistically cover on our budget? I married into a large family and we have the added challenge of at least 4 immediate family member birthdays in December, two more if we add close friends. It's an expensive month whether we spend a wad on gifts, or spend of wad of time weaving baskets from the heart (full disclosure: I've never woven; if I did it would NOT be with all my heart).

The problem arises around expectations. What do people expect to receive? Does the gift represent an adequate symbol of how much you care?


How appropriate. With the year ending and advent coming next week, we just talked about this in my church's young adults group. Thoughts we had concerning the holiday season were: * stressed about getting everything done in time * concerned about how to give meaningful gifts * feeling pressured into "experiencing" Christmas in a certain way (tree lighting at Rockefeller Center, Christmas muzak, decorations arranged just so...) * dealing with family and personal relationships which may be heightened I found the time a very helpful way to prepare for the upcoming season and to focus on the things that are truly important at Christmas: celebrating Christ, serving God, and sharing joy with family, friends, and strangers As an aside, someone mentioned the website: which I think has a great mission: Worship More. Spend Less. Give More. Love All.
Wonderful points fellow Pointificator! It's good to have you aboard, Jeff! I struggle with this too. Mostly from the end of things that I just adore finding just the right gift for someone and for seeing someone feel special and cared for. The trouble is the price tag. Each year I take the opportunity as a challenge to my creativity. How can I show my love and honor God in my stewardship. It's tricky though!

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