News flash: It's far better to give than to receive!
Okay, that's not really a news flash. We've all heard the adage again and again. Many of us even agree with it.
I'm one of those who agree. I thoroughly enjoy giving gifts of any sort—time, service, something tangible of varying dollar amounts—to those I care about. This holiday season, most of the gifts I'll be giving will be handmade by me. Not because I'm uber crafty like so many other grandmas, but because after years and years of telling my family, "Okay, things are tight this year so Christmas is going to be smaller than usual," this year it really will be smaller than usual. The smallest ever, in fact, at least in terms of money spent.
All I want to add about that is Hallelujah for Pinterest! I'm so thankful the latest and greatest in social media has removed the stigma from presenting homemade presents. Or so I'm counting on regarding the gifts I'll be wrapping up and placing under the Christmas tree.
So, I like giving things, making things, presenting presents of varying awesomeness to my loved ones. Without a doubt, I prefer the giving far more than the receiving.
It's not only for the obvious reasons, though. While I love giving gifts, I'm not an incredibly selfless, altruistic person who wants nothing more than to give and give and give without ever getting in return. I like getting stuff. I like when someone has thoughtfully considered what might please me, make me smile, warm my heart.
The part I don't like is the pressure to make sure the one presenting me with a gift knows to their very core that I am indeed happy as a clam with what they've given. I'm not good at that part. I don't whoop nor holler nor scream in delight upon opening a gift. Even if it's something I have yearned for, begged for time and again. Not even when it's something special I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd receive (think DSLR camera from Jim last Christmas, an original The Eloping Angels from him many years before).
I sincerely appreciate every single gift ever given to me and every single gift that just might come my way in the future. I think it's the giving part of me, though, that really throws a wrench in the whole receiving part of the gifting tradition. Primarily because I want to give in return exactly the response the giver hopes to see from me. And, as I mentioned, I suck at that. No matter how much or in how many different ways I try to express that I lovelovelove whatever it may be and how thrilled I am it was given to me, I always feel I fail at being exuberant enough, loud enough in my thanks and hoorays.
And I hatehatehate that kind of pressure because I don't want to let down anyone who gives me anything.
My family—bless them, each and every one—continues to give me gifts, despite my neuroticism. They know me well enough, have seen enough Christmas mornings when I wasn't whooping and hollering, to understand I express my thanks and appreciation differently. Quietly. Sometimes with tears. In fact, it's become a bit of a game in my family to see whose gift will make Mom cry.
Which, alas, only adds more pressure. (See? Neurotic.)
I don't look forward to such pressure come the exchanging of Christmas gifts. I do, though, look forward to giving my homemade gifts to my loved ones. For it is indeed—to neurotics such as myself, as well as to selfless, altruistic folk—far better to give than it is to receive.
Sometimes and for some people, it's just the easier thing to do.
What percentage of your holiday gifts will be homemade this year?