Christmas is a time for busyness, for baking, for time with family, and focusing on what matters most, but at its secular core, Christmas is about giving gifts. Even the best of us with the best of intentions on showing our children the true meaning of Christmas, can’t get away without purchasing presents for people we don’t know well or those we only see a couple times per year. We also give gifts to our co-workers, our staff, our kids’ teachers, our social gatherings…all in the name of Christmas. Now, let me be clear, I don’t think giving gifts is bad or wrong. My point is…I’m not good at giving gifts to anyone because it isn’t my love language.
Have you read the 5 Love Languages book by Gary Chapman? I believe very strongly that understanding how you receive love and how you show love to others is important in our relationships. I know that physical touch and quality time are my love languages. My husband values words of affirmation. Even my children have different love languages. For example, just before I was leaving on a mission trip, I had 2 hours before I needed to drop off the girls with my mother-in-law. One daughter wanted to sit with me on the couch and cuddle up watching our favorite show. My other daughter closed the door to her room and spent the 2 hours making me pictures and letters and bracelets to take with me to give to others. They both show love in such different ways!
But I digress,
The Christmas season is my favorite time of year…except for giving gifts. I like shopping, but I don’t find enjoyment in giving gifts. Even for my husband and girls, gift giving can seem daunting and time consuming. I end up purchasing the easy stuff–what they see when we are out and about–rather than spending time being creative or thoughtful. It’s not that I don’t want to give them gifts. In fact I wish I could buy them whatever they wanted! The point is…if I want to show the people I love how much I love them, giving gifts is not my love language. For me, it doesn’t accurately express my love. I would rather spend an afternoon with that person or sit on the couch watching a movie or chatting at a coffee shop or even doing their favorite activity with them! I know that at Christmas we really only value gift-giving and serving as a way to show love and kindness.
I wish there was a Christmas song about the importance of a Christmas hug. Yeah, I know there is a song or two saying “all I want for Christmas is you,” but why does it have to sound sexual in nature? Why can’t it just be “all I want for Christmas is a hug”? or “All I want for Christmas is quality time with you in our pajamas binge-watching Netflix and drinking good coffee.” That is all I’m asking for.
And to a degree, this is what I would love to give to others. I would love to be able to spend an afternoon with my mom or go to a game with my dad or watch my nephew so my sister can have an afternoon to herself. I wish those could be my gifts. I would love to go on a trip with just my husband…or spend one-on-one time with each girl–because in the busyness of life, we don’t get as many of those moments during the year as I would like.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily want to hug my staff or go on a trip with my girls’ teachers–they probably wouldn’t want that either! Giving gifts to acquaintances or for social gatherings does seem most appropriate. These gifts also don’t have to mean very much. I can buy something easy, bland, or even basic, and it’s good enough.
But buying presents for my husband, my girls, and my parents should have some thought or at least some heart behind it, right?! I try, I really do try. But I can’t ever seem to buy something that is meaningful. I tend to buy what I like… and hope they do too. I actually admire those people who are thoughtful and caring enough to know just the perfect present for each person. I think it must be a sixth sense. And I don’t have that. I know when you need a hug, but I have no idea whether you need a Patagonia jacket or a Kendra Scott necklace. And you’re probably thinking…neither!
You’re also probably thinking–“what an ungratful lady!” Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Though my “love” meter doesn’t fill up because of gifts, I’m always genuinely surprised and happy when people buy me things. In fact, it usually makes me feel quite unworthy of the gift I receive. I’m always shocked at the generosity and thoughtfulness of people I know. I don’t know what this says about me and the gifts I give…maybe I’m not that thoughtful or generous…or maybe I would rather give something other than a “thing.” If you’re a physical touch or quality time person, Christmas really isn’t your gig. And I’m both.
So it’s now the 6th of December. My cards are sent out. My baking is underway. My decorations are up. All I have left is shopping. I actually really like to shop, but again–gift idea probs. So I’ll do what I normally do–walk around downtown Stillwater and purchase from local businesses the best presents I can find for the people I love. And when they open the gift sometime around Christmas, no matter their facial expression, I’ll give him/her a big hug–because that’s what brings me joy. So if you receive a gift from me–ever–just know that a good solid hug will probably follow. That’s my real gift to you.
With love and warm wishes in the middle of the busy Christmas season,