Gift Fatigue

At the risk of sounding like a complete scrooge, this has really been a brutal month leading up to December 25th. Let me rephrase that. Even though so many wonderful things are going on in my life right now, sometimes it’s hard to remember how good I have it during the crush… and I do mean crush… of holiday expectations and schedules.

I’m pretty good at deadlines. Sometimes I finish in the nick of time, but I usually get done what needs to get done. I’m no stranger to, “it has to be done by Friday.” But I think the holiday deadlines, which I think is a much more appropriate term for this month than anything else, are really frustrating to me. I was talking about it today. It seems like the people I really care about, the people who I would do anything for, get lost in the shuffle of misplaced priorities.

Here it is, three days before December 25th and even though I’ve given out something in the order of 60 gifts so far this year, I still have not finished the gift for my best friend, let alone finished buying for my mom and dad, my sister and her family and other people who mean the most to me. I’m glad I gifted the 60 people I did. It’s a way to thank them for making my 2005 a very pleasant and prosperous year. But do I love them? Well, not like the handful of people I mentioned above.

I have gift fatigue.

And I think what frustrates me the most is that I really want to buy or make things for the people that mean the most to me. I’m just sad that they have become another deadline for me. It isn’t about handing a gift to someone I care about on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. It’s about looking someone I love in the eye, getting a chance to be in the same room
with them and saying, “I love you.” I don’t want that moment to be an out of breath, barely wrapped, what was left on the sale table when I had to run in at the last minute on the way to whatever party or family gathering I’m racing to get to. They deserve better than that. I deserve better.

I’ve certainly received some wonderful and generous presents already this month and I’ll probably be handed several more before Boxing Day arrives, but I think at this point in my life there is one thing that is more important than any object I might be handed, and that is the love of those I care about. Hearing the words, “I love you,” would be the best thing this tired, stressed out, overwhelmed boy could ever receive for Christmas this year. It might be just the thing to make me stop, take a breath, look up from my to do list and let the holiday crush roll off my back. It might be just the thing to remind me what I know in my heart are the most important things in my life.

The people I care deeply about. The people that when I try to tell them what they mean to me, I can’t find the words. The people who support and encourage and sometimes save me. The people who are so amazing they don’t even know it. I would like my gift to them be the ability for them to see what I see in them. What makes them so special to me. Why I couldn’t imagine a day on this planet without them. How lucky I am to know them. That’s what I want to give, not a gift certificate.

Tonight I spent a quiet evening with Morgan. I really needed it. A bit of calm in a whirlwind of holiday insanity. A little perspective before I take one more deep breath and head out into it again tomorrow. Thanks Morgan. Boxing Day will be here before we know it.

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