Last week, I confessed to you all that I am a Christmas shopaholic. In addition, I tend to be a Christmas worry-aholic as well. In January, I have my gift budget in place and I enjoy browsing for gift ideas throughout the year. However, once December hits (and sometimes earlier), I begin worrying about the gifts I’ve purchased. Did I get everyone enough? Will they like what I bought them?
Will Mom notice that she got one less package to open than Dad? Is Granny sick of getting word finds every year? Is Eric going to be disappointed with what I picked out for him? Are my friends sick of Bath and Body Works (I should have bought stock years ago…)?
These concerns tempt me to continue shopping, even after the gift money we budgeted is gone. As I said last week, the quantity of gifts is not as important as the emotional quality of the gift(s), but when I enter into my December panic mode, it is easy for me to forget that principle!
Somewhere around the middle of December, I get sick of worrying and declare my Christmas shopping complete! As of tonight, I am celebrating finally being done with my Christmas shopping! Tonight, I went to Michaels looking for a few picture frames to finish up a gift to my mother and I found myself circling the store… just in case there was an awesome gift for someone I had overlooked.
After browsing for a half hour or so, it occurred to me that it simply did not matter if I bought another gift. The people that love me are going to love me whether I spend another two dollars on them or not. The people who don’t love me aren’t going to start loving me if I spend another two dollars on them. During the Christmas season, I can count on one thing: once my friends and family open their gifts, life is going to go on no matter how prominent or insignificant of a gift I give them. They will hug me, thank me, and we will go on from there. The stress of trying to make every gift perfect is not worth it.
Maybe you don’t stress about giving the perfect gift. Maybe you stress about waiting too late to buy gifts. Maybe your family places a lot of emphasis on buying expensive, glamorous gifts. Whatever the stress, choose to not let it take over the Christmas season. If you have to shop online to save time or you have to make a written plan to avoid procrastination, be sure not to overwhelm yourself with the trivial and temporal. After all, no matter what gifts you give, December 26th will come (unless Jesus comes back!), life will move forward, and only the relationships you strengthened during Christmas will matter. So, take a deep breath, enjoy your shopping, and don’t give in to the stress of the season.
Do you stress about the holidays?