After two years of spending Christmas in NYC, I finally found my way back to my family. Though I am excited about being with them and eating food I haven’t had for years, I had somehow forgotten how stressful this time is. What am I buying everyone? What do they want? Will they use it? Will they appreciate it? Do they already have it? Can I afford it? Some people start buying presents months in advance, but according to BBC, most people bought the presents on the day they called “Panic-Saturday”. I managed to come to Norway empty handed, which apparently baffled a lot of people; why wouldn’t you buy the presents in NYC? While soaking in the question, I started wondering why there is so much focus on the presents during the holidays… Having basically been alone the past two years during the holidays, I really appreciated getting phone calls right after dinner and hearing about what they’ve been doing all day. Hearing from them is all I needed.
“What do you want for Christmas?” – a question immensely feared because I can never quite answer it. I don’t like having to tell people to buy me stuff, and I definitely cannot tell them to buy what I want, simply because of the price. This leaves me in getting something in-between that I most likely don’t want. There’s nothing like getting a soap set by a generic brand that you wouldn’t use even if someone paid you. This might sound harsh, but when people spend money on you, it leaves you obligated to keep it, if not use it. I won’t always return presents, simply because I appreciate that the person spent time picking out something for me, even though it didn’t match my taste. The norm states that bringing wine to hosts is rude because it implies that you believe that their taste isn’t good enough, and personally I feel that buying soap sets and make-up sets, unless wished for, do the same thing. Are you giving me a soap set because I smell or because you couldn’t find something that you knew I’d enjoy, such as chocolate. Yes, I love chocolate. And tea. And that’s even cheaper that soap sets if that’s the issue. Also, I am not complaining, just amazed by some of the gifts I have gotten throughout the years.
So what am I trying to say? I wish that people would stop putting so much focus on gifts, and rather appreciate the other joys of the holidays. Why can’t the simple things be enough? What about helping out with the dinner or purchase a trip together somewhere? Why not appreciate people rather than stuff? Let go of quantity and worship quality. After all, you can always re-purchase stuff.
Having said that, I wish you and all your near and dear Happy Holidays!