Archive for December 23rd, 2018


12.23.18 … And even though we’re adults…

Christmas Tradition #16: Shopping and Gift Giving

I have a love hate relationship with shopping and gift giving. I figured out who Santa was at age 3, told my brother who was 14 months older, and my sister put the fear of God in me that I would never receive a Christmas gift again. I wish Santa was real, that he’d figure out what to get everyone, make the gift (with or without elves), wrap it and deliver it on Christmas Eve.

I would say I put a lot of time and money in my gift giving, and my returns do not justify the time or money. I would say my mother is generally in the same boat. My sister has a generosity of spirit and is a creative gift giver. I always enjoy her gifts. My father played a great Santa but was never particularly good at gift giving, and there’s a story there. My husband has never been particularly good at gift giving, and there’s a story there. Two of my 3 children are pretty good, but the other never plans in advance.

Since I can’t conjure up Santa, but only his spirit, I try to be the thoughtful and creative one, but I fall flat, but maybe this year will be better. Anticipation of Christmas makes me feel like Scrooge and Grinch at the same time. I don’t want to be bothered and maybe I want to ruin it for everyone.

Over the years I have learned a few lessons. Never give a garbage disposal to your wife especially if I can’t be installed (my father). Never give clothes if you do not understand their style (again, my father). Dutch wooden shoes are a big no, even if you think they are interesting (my husband). Anything that is the last one, the display item, even if you get a big discount, should be left at the store (me). Instead, go for personal to the recipient … not personal to you. And finally, shop early, wrap early and then enjoy like my city grandmother did (whom we called Nancy Dear, another story). She had everything bought and creatively wrapped by Thanksgiving.

So what do I enjoy about shopping and giving? As for shopping for the gifts, I’m a miserable shopper. I hate the mall, but I procrastinate way to long even to get things on the internet. Amazon is not my friend. I think I can find it cheaper, but I often wait and can’t find it at all. And Amazon wrapping is not creative and they often forget the gift tag. But I do love to share time, events and adventures. An aside here…does anyone remember shopping and then the store would wrap it and deliver it the next day. Maybe that is what my grandmother did! She was a buyer at Davison’s.

As for gifts that I’m pleased with, I like giving something that encourages a passion or meets a real need if the recipient would be greatly and positively impacted by my gift.

So my next year’s resolutions will include learning to plan the gifts by asking for a list, finding a shopping partner and meeting for breakfast and making shopping fun, even if it is for catalog or internet shopping together, making the gifts personal and being creative with the suggestions and wrapping and delivering them personally, if at all possible. Be more like Santa, use less Amazon Prime.

I have lots to do today … opening my Amazon Prime boxes and tracking my missing boxes, wrapping what I have and finding gifts for the missing items. Sheesh, this definitely is not what Christmas is all about!

But every year I get that Grinchy/Scroogy feeling that my heart is growing two sizes and I am being transformed. But then I relapse and forget the lesson, and the cycle starts again.


And this WSJ article was timely:

“And even though we’re adults—we know to be grate­ful for the thought and ef­fort some­one puts into giv­ing us a gift—a bad one can still burn. We ex­pect our friends and loved ones to un­der­stand us best. A bad gift can feel like a lack of recog­ni­tion and con­nec­tion. “You feel mis­un­der­stood,” says Daniella Ku­por, an as­sistant pro­fes­sor of mar­ket­ing at Bos­ton Uni­ver­sity Que­strom School of Busi­ness, who stud­ies gift giv­ing.”

Source: You Got Them Exactly the Wrong Thing, Didn’t You?,

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December 2018