Are you a Gift-Pro or a Gift-Doh?
There’s a whole realm of emerging data on giving and receiving Christmas Presents & it’s all saying one thing: - for a stress free Christmas, get the balance right. Give and receive gifts in equal measure for the value they possess, not for the money they cost.
Do you plan & buy well in advance or leave it to the last week? The amount of time you allocate to buying gifts (at any time, not just for Christmas) is paramount and we all know that at this time of year, time is in very short supply. Leaving your shopping to the last minute is all well and good if you have no time to shop earlier, but it does
· reduce the choice available to you
· increase the chances of you paying more for something you don’t really want
· often leave you with a ‘could have done better’ guilt trip.
· raise the stress levels.
Making the purchases aside, there’s nearly always a bit of tension when you give a gift and also tension when you receive a gift. Here’s the reason why.
When you accept a gift, the acceptance becomes recognition of dependence on the Giver which results in tension as nobody likes to feel dependant on someone else. To relieve the tension, you decide/become obliged to, repay the Giver by giving them a gift. You are now both (Receiver & Giver) on the gift exchange see-saw! It can be a good place or a bad place, depending on which seat you occupy - the one on the ground or the one with their legs dangling in the air. I’m not saying being at the top of the see-saw isn’t fun, it is, but not when you’re rushed off your feet with a hundred and one things to do.
It is the sense of imbalance that drives the gift exchange system in a perpetual up and down tinsel covered motion. At other times of the year (birthdays, anniversaries and other special gift-worthy occasions) time helps to dissipate the tension. Christmas is a frenzy of gift swapping and there is little opportunity to avoid the tension unless you can learn to balance the system.
For many (I will go as far as to say most), Christmas brings on a dose of stress because we are trying to get a very fat Santa down a very narrow wood burner flue! When under stress, we make poor decisions. Our normal thought processes are clouded as if someone has sprayed fake snow over our logical brains and we feel the need to compensate for any ‘debt owed’ from last Christmas and/or any possible ‘perceived debt’ from the imminent one. To add to a gift debt or even to match last year’s is a personal no, no. We must do better, bigger, brighter, and bolder than last year or risk personal humiliation. Don’t do it! It’s bad for your health. Be a Gift-Pro, not a Gift Doh!
JUST ME: My Christmas shopping trip last week was a success as I put my gift buying plan A into play. I had two nightdresses to buy for two special little girls in my life, my Grandgirls. I limited my choice by wanting unicorns, (the girls love unicorns) but shopped with a plan B up my sleeve (flowers will be acceptable) to avoid disappointment & failure. I found one nightdress that was more than I intended to pay, in one shop and another that was reduced in a sale so was less than I intended to pay, in another shop.
GIFT-DOH! The nightdresses weren't the same monetary value so I was treating the girls differently. That would not do. I would have to buy another gift to make up the money spent on one, not the other. Then one would have only one gift and the other would have two. That wouldn't do either. I would have to ……………. Time was ticking away, along with my budget and my sanity.
GIFT-PRO! The Grand girls would never know how much the gifts cost; the cost would be irrelevant because they would be sleeping with unicorns.
The girls would never know how many steps it had taken to go from one shop to the next; the mileage would be irrelevant because they would be sleeping with unicorns.
The girls would never know how much time I took in choosing just the right nightdresses; the time would be irrelevant because they would be sleeping with unicorns.
The values of money, time, and effort are irrelevant when giving to those you love and care for. The delight of the person receiving the gift should be the driver for your purchase. What would delight my Grandgirls more? To wear a flowery nightdress to bed or to get to curl up and sleep with unicorns?
There’s a whole chapter devoted to buying gifts in my Christmas book available on Amazon. It includes the ‘Gold Star, Extra Thoughtful, Top Class method of choosing gifts for any occasion, not just Christmas’, so hurry and get one!
A tip is for life, not just for Christmas (from the book)
Should you receive a gift that is not to your taste, accept it graciously. Thank the giver for the thought & effort they went to (????), not for the gift itself as your insincerity will show through. That way, your thanks will come across as genuine rather than a non-verbal “what on earth do you think I’m going to do with this?”