The Pressures of Gift Giving
There’s no doubt that gift-giving (or gift-receiving) is one of the most prominent parts of Christmas today. Thanks to the over-commercialization of Christmas, gifts are the number one star of the show.
However you may feel about the meaning behind Christmas, you probably participate in the traditional presents under the tree ritual. While we could talk about how that is not the meaning behind Christmas or the reason for the season, I’m going to discuss a more solvable problem of the pressures surrounding gift-giving.
I don’t have kids and I can’t imagine how difficult it is to shop for children for Christmas. I know how much effort goes into the wish list and keeping the element of surprise and excitement about Santa Clause. However, this is the first year that my newly-adult self has discovered the true challenges of gift-giving.
There is no simple one thing that makes the process of Christmas shopping hard. Everyone loves receiving gifts. Everyone also loves giving gifts. In order to give a gift you’ve got to do some shopping or pretty well thought-out crafting. When I was younger I would get my super close friends something small, or make them something for Christmas. My parents would get their stockings stuffed as I tried to convince them that Santa did it, not me (yes I really did that). Now this year after steadily working for 6 months and living full-time with my parents I feel the need to be more serious about my gift-giving.
So naturally, I spent a couple hundred dollars.
And then, of course, spent many hours trying to figure out how I spent all that money (I still have no answers).
I really don’t know why this is a thing the majority of America does. To show our love to one another and honor Christmas, let’s spend endless amounts of money.
In the Bible, people come to see Jesus bringing him gifts as their offering. I would assume this is where the gift giving tradition stems from, but I also find it weird that we gift things to other people and people gifted things to Jesus because he was Jesus. We’re just ordinary people giving gifts which makes us feel really good and stressed at the same time.
As enjoyable as it is giving gifts, it’s become increasingly stressful. Yesterday my friend called me about how her boyfriend and her got the same gift for the boyfriends dad. And her and boyfriends mom got the same gift for boyfriend. Instead of showing our love or gratitude in the form of gifts, there’s becoming a growing sense of extravagance. Loved ones have to have the same amount of money in their Christmas presents. Our gift has to be special and not on the list of “worst gifts I’ve ever received”.
I have no proposed solution to this problem; it truly seems to be a Christmas conundrum. Instead of making small talk about the best and worst gifts you’ve received, maybe try changing the attitude and think about the best and worst gifts you’ve given. Everyone has those gifts where it was super last minute and they just aren’t satisfied with what they got their loved one.
Keep the conversations and feelings focused on celebrations! Merry Christmas