“Fa la la la la, la la ka-ching,” sings Dwight Schrute on the hit TV show The Office.
It’s cynical, but not so far off. During this merry time of year when we are supposed to be celebrating holidays, focusing on family and giving to those in need, we find ourselves in Obsession Mode over gifts! What is my gift budget? How much can I spend on each relative? Where do I hide gifts so my kids won’t find them? And most of all, how am I going to find/buy/wrap them all by Christmas morning?! My first thought is always ‘get it done early,’ and that will somehow fix it. I usually start sometime in October, but here’s what inevitably happens: I just end up shopping for longer! Some gifts I find quickly and easily. Some I find online (I love shopping online, but that is a tangent for a different article!). And yet, I still procrastinate on the gifts that take a bit more thought and effort and suddenly… it’s December 23rd! Or worse–December 24th! I still need to get two more presents, have no idea what they should be, none of the presents are wrapped and one of the scarves that I ordered off Amazon is lost somewhere in Uzbekistan and promises NOT to be recovered before January 14th! Now I find myself on the phone with all of my family and friends trying to find last minute child care so I can run off into the night to shop for those last minute gifts and wrapping paper. I call my husband and remind him that he still has two more gifts to find, and the clock is about to strike midnight! I’m gasping for air just thinking about it. Stores see us coming, too, which doesn’t help. They stay open late the last week before the holidays with their Holiday “Sales” waiting for people like me. This was Dwight’s plan on this particular Christmas episode. He bought out all the local toy stores with the most popular toy of the season and sold them for a ridiculous profit out of his home. Oh, Dwight.
At the risk of writing a superficial holiday shopping article, please let me share with you that giving and receiving gifts is my primary love language. Nothing moves me more than when I receive a gift that someone has put a lot of thought into–that shows me they have really taken the time to get to know me better during their shopping endeavor. (Er- no pressure, friends and family members who are reading!) And on the flip side, part of the reason why shopping is such an epic adventure for me, is because I enjoy finding the perfect gift or gifts for others to show them exactly how I care about them. It’s hard for me to just throw something in the box and wrap it.
I find lists to be very helpful when it comes to holiday shopping. People make lots of lists during the holidays: Christmas lists for themselves, for their children, who to buy for, etc. I realized this year that I also have an unwritten list of holiday things that I want to do with my family. On it are items like:
- catching up on our rest
- baking Christmas cookies with my son
- paying visits to friends in town for the holidaysgoing to see Christmas lights
- going to the mall just to see it lit up
- drinking hot cocoa by our fireplace
- and more!
I would hate to know how many of the things on this list have been trumped by holiday shopping.
Ever since the end of summer, I have been turning this idea of holiday shopping around in my head, trying to figure out how to find more truth, hope and love for my family’s December. The problem is that the Shopping Monster is still hiding in my closet next to the wrapping paper and breathing down my neck. Then it finally hit me- an idea so silly, it just might work:
Don’t stop reading yet, just because I couldn’t think of a better name for my idea! Allow me to at least explain what it is. Picture a late-breaking news story on TV during which we learn that all the leaders in the world decided that Christmas was going to be December 18th this year! What would I do?! On December 17th I would realize that I still needed to get those last two gifts, get my last minute child care, send my husband off to shop for his last two gifts, probably cry on the phone with someone from Amazon for awhile, and then I would stay up too late wrapping presents until the clock struck midnight on December 18th.
Friends, if you do the math, that would leave one whole week before Christmas during which I could potentially pour into my family and check off some of the things on my Family Christmas list. Can I fool myself like that? We shall see! For some reason, I do well with deadlines. Deadlines give me a date to which I can procrastinate. So, I think the only way for me to successfully ‘get it done early,’ is to move the present deadline back. If you do well with deadlines, too, you might want to try it with me this year, too! Especially because most of our schools run late into December this year. I wish you all a wonderful start to your holiday and shopping season. May you find joy in gift giving and lots of time with your families to reflect on what is truly important.
This post brought to you by Miss Sarah!