I am not a gift person. I enjoy a gift, of course, but I'd far rather give than get. And I'm not just saying that. But I don't like giving just for the sake of giving, either. I have come to hate the fact that Christmas has become nothing more than checking things off your list of What To Purchase. I shop all year, generally starting at the fabulous day-after-Christmas sales. When I see something on sale that fits someone's personality, I get it. I enjoy this. The stress kicks in when I find myself a gift or five short, and it's 2 weeks before Christmas. Suddenly I'm all WHAT THE HECK DO I GET? A PACK OF SOCKS IS GOOD, RIGHT?! Stress.
I hate being put on the spot about gifts, whether it's what I want or what to get others. Because I prefer to give rather than get, I have no list for myself. Ever. In fact, the only thing on my list for the past decade has been "good kids." I mean, is it really too much to ask to have kids that do not argue, antagonize, backtalk, or have tantrums or meltdowns for just one day? Yeh, I thought not, too, but clearly we're all delusional about the magical powers of Christmas. So my list is that simple, and other than that one request, I'm hard pressed to think of something that I need. Or even want.
And one of the biggest stresses for me during the holiday season is when someone says, "I need a list of what the kids want for Christmas." I know, I know. Of all the things to stress me out, this should not even rank in the top 50. But the thing is, the kids are not needy. We have a tight budget, and the kids know that asking for things in the $100+ range is just not an option. And they're good with that. They are kids, and they did have lists, but they were rather less than helpful. Take Josh, for example. He wanted an Otter Box for his iPod Touch. That was the extent of his list. That's what we got him, so when grandparents asked, I had nothing to give them. And Becky had an extensive list, but everything was $10 or less. And a lot of it was jewelry on Etsy. I was not about to get her $50 worth of earrings for Christmas, and nothing else. At one point, I had to just plain tell her to ask for something that costs more than $20. WHO HAS THIS KIND OF PROBLEM? Luke had a list, but his birthday is the beginning of December, so his list was pretty much exhausted early in the month.
It dawned on me this year that I got exactly what I wanted for Christmas. My kids rock. They are not about getting and asking and wanting. My kids, in fact, know that giving is far better than getting. And because I'm a mom and have bragging rights on my own kids, I'm just going to say that my kids rock. My family is my happy place. On any given night, our dinner table has several extra kids around it, and the chaos is wonderfully fun. I love listening to my kids laugh and play with each other, even when it's so loud that we miss the UPS man at the door trying to deliver packages. And there is very, very little bickering or backtalk in our home.
This year, I got exactly what I wanted for Christmas. I'll never remember the gifts I got, but in 24 years I am convinced that I will still look back on the years when my kids were at home, gathered their friends to our table, and laughed together until late into the night. And the best thing is that this gift is new to me every single day.