Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bah humbug

Christmas really stresses me out. This is despite the fact that I have so far managed to avoid ever actually hosting a holiday celebration, so my duties on the actual day are limited to peeling the odd potato and scraping my overly-excited children off the ceiling.

No, the stress of Christmas is experienced in the weeks running up to it - it's the gift buying that's the problem. I'm one of those pathetic people you see standing stock still in front of a heap of gifts in the store, picking one thing up, then another, then another, then another... frozen in a frenzy of indecision.

The problem, you see, is that I care too much. Being able to carelessly grab stuff is alien to my nature - no, I have to agonise over each choice. I have to consider whether Aunt Mabel would really appreciate the lavender-scented talc gift set or would she prefer the cute fluffy bedsocks? Aggghhhh, the decisions! Ultimately Aunt Mabel probably couldn't care less and they'd go into her bottom drawer to be recycled for next Christmas, but that's not the point. It's the potential shame of getting it completely wrong that stymies me every time.

Is this a gender thing or am I simply neurotic? Alpha, as a prime example, puts in an average of an hour on the high street every Christmas Eve and returns home with armloads of strange or wholly inappropriate things (wrong sizes, dodgy colours, so practical it's insulting) with his head still held high. How is this possible?

Maybe I should just leave the gift buying to him next year. Then at the very least I'll have someone else to blame...


Anonymous said...

Don't you know by now YLM that men do not feel guilt - or only for a fleeting second when cornered. I would delegate all future gift buying to Alpha. Praise him on his esoteric choices.Smile radiantly as he passes said gifts out to family members (his family will adore him anyway, yours will blame him anyway - and feel sorry for you). Seems like a win/win situation to me. No stress. No sore feet. Alpha a hero.

sweetpeabart said...

The solution to the craze is to live 1,000 miles away from family so there IS no face-to-face giving. ;-) Then, send out nice cards saying that you donated the money you would have spent on gifts to an organization you like to support.

It's a way to make a gesture while remembering people you care about, without all the fuss.

Besides, it seems to me that all the pomp of Christmas is really meant for the children anyway. As an adult, I don't expect, need, or want any gifts. It's about the kids.

People who judge you based on what you do or don't give them as a Christmas gift just don't get it.