Christmas Gift List Negotiation

Y’all know my preference for Halloween over most things, and that’s just my personality. Contrary to popular belief, I do genuinely enjoy the Christmas season. I do. I love the decorations and the fun, cheesy movies and I love Christmas carols even though I’m not religious. I love spending quality time with friends and family and the giving spirit.

What I do not like is how gift giving has morphed into a really robotic rat race in my family. I don’t entirely know how it got this way and I don’t know how to undo it. It irks me every year and this year it’s irking me even earlier.

What happens is this: in my family and extended family, it’s customary for each person to send out their Christmas list to everyone else. Excellent, nice. Then what happens is that some family members go out and buy up all (or almost all. or a good chunk.) of the items on said list immediately, leaving little else for others to get. What also happens is that there is this flurry of a million emails from various family members calling dibs on items or just informing us that items have already been bought for so-and-so. There is often another flurry of emails from folks asking if such-and-such was already bought for so-and-so? and if not, can I buy it? thaaaanks. This leaves me with an inbox full of emails from family and a whole hell of a lot of anxiety.

Once all of this happens in rapid succession, I have some choices to make. I have to decide if I want to try and open family members’ lists right away in an effort to beat other people to the “good gifts,” whatever that means. I have to decide if I want to send those emails asking if this gift has already been bought or not, and to do that I’d have to wait for responses before being able to just buy the damn thing. I have to decide if I want to then be the sender of the email saying hey I just bought such-and-such for so-and-so FYI ok byeeeee. And once I start getting those emails from others, I have to decide if I am going to go through them all so I can keep track of what has already been bought and what is still available.

Do you see how quickly the innocent sending out of Christmas lists has morphed into something so…yucky? It’s ridiculous and it stresses me the fuck out every. damn. year.

I struggle with it because I don’t see my extended family very often and I want to get them gifts that they want and will genuinely enjoy, and so we tend to rely on lists for those reasons. I, in turn, enjoy getting gifts from my list. Do they all need to be from my list? No. But some I’d really like.

I’ve experimented with opting out of different aspects of this Christmas gift list negotiation over the years. I’ve tried completely ignoring the flurries of emails and just bought from the lists what I wanted. That meant that some people got duplicate gifts and I included return info just in case. Less than ideal, but okay. There’s been a few years now where I’ve gone completely off the reservation and – gasp – got gifts for people that, gulp, weren’t on their lists! Did they enjoy them? I honestly don’t know. Was that Christmas season way less stressful for me? Hell yes. Were those gifts given from the heart with each recipient in mind? You bet they were.

A part of me would like to just do completely away with the gift giving. Just get rid of it. While that would definitely be easier, I do enjoy giving gifts and I’m not gonna lie, I like getting them as well. Just not this way. Not like this. Somehow the Christmas spirit got lost and I have no idea how to find it again. What’s the number for Hallmark?!

Soooooo here I find myself at the dawn of a new fa-la-la-ucking Christmas season and I have those same decisions to make. Maybe, for 2020, we can all agree that the adults get booze (their favorite kind of booze!) and the kids get candy (again, their favorite!). Or maybe we could all just take a fucking peppermint chill pill and settle down with the damn emails.


Day 16

What My Christmas List Says About Me

This year, I had trouble coming up with things to put on my Christmas list.  This is because I have a one-year-old and I live in a new house that is largely empty, which means I either want crap for my kid that I am too cheap to buy myself, or I want big-ticket items like sofas and wall-to-wall trampolines.

So what did I end up asking for?  I can’t believe I am about to tell you.

  1. Money for a mattress

Yup, I have become that person.  The one who asks for money.  It’s just that we’re trying to save up to furnish our home and saving is hard.  And our current mattress is decidedly not.  I’m tired of waking up with a hurtee back.

What this says about me:  I’m old and cranky.

2. A dustbuster

Oh dear.  I actually cringed when I saw my fingers typing the letters that make up that word.  But…I need something smaller than my hugeass vacuum to suck up the 763728294 messes that my kid and cat and husband make everyday.  I can’t drag out my vacuum because my back hurts from our damn old mattress and I’m lazy.

What this says about me:  I have become my mother.

3. Infinity scarf with pocket

So, I saw these on The View (maybe I should stop typing right there) and I thought they looked cute and practical!

What this says about me:  I am the caricature of a SAHM.

4. An electric toothbrush

I have been meaning to get one of these for myself, because I do the Type A thing where I brush super hard and I need to not do that.  But then I looked, and these things are fucking expensive.  And Christmas is right around the corner!  On the list it goes.

(Fun fact: My family exchanged lists, and I saw that my dad had the exact same item on his list.  And then I swear I could hear my brother roll his eyes all the way in California.)

What this says about me:  I am cheap.  I have also become my father, apparently.


 

And this, my Psychos, is why alcohol flows freely during the most wonderful time of the year, to cover up the shame.

What embarrassing things do you have on your list?!