Awkward Holiday Moments: We’ve all had them.
Maybe it was the strange and experimental hand-knitted thing you had to thank your distant relation for.
Maybe it was the bikini calendar your older female relative gave your husband on Christmas morning in front of your impressionable young children… Oh! And your husband’s ex-wife, because, naturally, she had to accompany your family on your exotic vacation. This is just a completely hypothetical situation of course.*
Maybe it was the year you gave everybody in your family hand-made ornaments and you received a disproportionately expensive–and unwanted–technical gadget from someone you knew didn’t have money to spare.
“You” are so cheap!! Ahem.
Or maybe it was the time you enraged your own older female relative by re-gifting a very fancy Stevie Nicks-style shawl, which she’d given you, to your daughter, because it went so perfectly with the vintage bridal veil you’d gotten for her dress-up collection.
And then you had to make your daughter cry by rescinding it. Again, this is completely hypothetical.***
What is it about gift-giving that pushes so many buttons?
Answer: It’s because there is so much pressure to express not only our love, but our deep understanding of one another through our gift-giving acumen. Finding the present that’s just right for the recipient proves how well we know them, what they want, like, and need. It shows we care.
Or at least, that’s what we’ve been led to believe.
We grow up–or at least many of us grow up–with all sorts of messages that birthdays and Christmas (and I suppose Hanukkah, though I can’t speak for that) are the time to get just exactly what we want. Those days are supposed to be picture-perfect.
What a set-up for disappointment and hurt feelings. Reality can never live up to the dream.
Unless its your first Christmas and you’ve been given the wrapping paper tube AND toilet paper tubes wrapped in wrapping paper. Then it’s awesome:
Many people think gift wish-lists and registries are crass.
But we instruct our kids to write lists for Santa, which gives us a cheat sheet to their desires. Why is that taboo when we’re grown up? If we’re going to throw around hundreds of dollars on each other, we might as well spend them on things we know our loved ones want or need.
So….. if you’re reading this, this is what I want/need: iTunes or bookstore gift cards. Dark chocolate (non-dairy). Massage or pedicure gift certificate. Gift certificates to the fabric store or plant nursery. Help with yard-work or home repair. Babysitting. A night out with you. A lunch date with you. A heartfelt phone call. A hug and a good conversation.
And Fiesta Ware is always a safe bet:
What awkward holiday moments have you experienced?
How do you communicate with your loved ones about gift-giving?
*By hypothetical, I mean it happened. To me.
**Okay, okay, I thought that. It was me.
***See first note above.
- What Were They Thinking ? Awkward Family Holiday Snaps (youviewed.com)
- Holiday Stress? Drop to the Floor and Assume a Yoga Pose, Says Awkward Activewear Ad (mediabistro.com)