I’m no fan of staying up late on Christmas Eve to wrap gifts only to have my daughters wake me up pre-dawn. I’m nearly finished, just a few more to wrap.
One would think completion of such a large task as wrapping would usher in a feeling of relief or satisfaction.
It never does.
After everything is neatly wrapped with personal tags dangling, I step back and look at the whole of my year-round efforts of thoughtfully hunting treasure for my family. Instead of thinking,” Wow! It’s beautiful!” I think, “Wow! It’s such a small pile.” It’s especially small this year.
We’re trained to think that our children will feel completely dejected if there's still standing room in our living room on Christmas morning. We believe our home should look something like the home of Herr and Frau Silberhaus in the Nutcracker mixed with an FAO Schwarz two-story display of toys; beyond enchanting.
It really gets under my skin. I fall for the illusion every year. I begin to feel like I’m a bad mommy because I didn’t scout out enough gifts. I didn’t give enough.
This tempts me to race out at the last minute and fill that void with more gifts.
The reality? I really don’t have enough time to think about what else could be truly meaningful. I’ve spent the entire year searching and thrown a lot of thought into the gifts that sit before me. To think I’m going to find the great and profound missing pieces in the last hour is a bit foolish.
If I did race out to buy more, it’ll likely be gift filler, meaningless stuff thrown in to aid in the illusion that quantity trumps thoughtfulness.
Why this feeling always overtakes me every year is a real stumper. It is far out of line from my standard shopping mentality.
Perhaps I need some sort of therapy for this. Or perhaps, we’ve been conditioned to think we will never give enough presents to our children. The latter is a horrible thought. It would be cruel if I had succumbed to this as a deliberate marketing tactic.
I need a distraction. I think hot cocoa with whipped cream and sprinkles, a fire in the hearth and a family game of dominoes under the tree might do the trick.
I think that’d make more sense than racing out now to buy stuff that’s going to be massively discounted in three days (both in the stores and by the recipient?). Beware of the hypnosis of a big sale. Are you buying it because it’s on sale? Or because you need it?
If you’re feeling an urge to spend holiday cash, wait a few days and then head to the thrift. There you will find rejected gifts still in their boxes. The original recipient might not have wanted/needed the item, but one person’s trash is sometimes another's treasure. And you’ll spend about 75-80% less than the original purchase price.
Does anyone else ever have this feeling? What's your manner of coping?