Sunday, September 20, 2009

Getting Out of the Gift Box

The Story of Me and Weddings, Graduations, Birthdays, Showers, etc.: I never get presents handled on time. I know why. If you really want to know it's because I'm an egomaniac in this one particular area of my life. No, really. I'm stuck in a box of my own making, and it is very elaborately wrapped and sports a handmade card. What that means is that I'm too fussy to go buy a gift card at Target and JUST PUT IT IN THE MAIL. It feels like a cheat, a cop out. Yes, it's true. I feel like I have to send fabulous, special presents that truly show how much I love the person, (really that show how creative and what a good friend I am-terrible to type out loud, but true) even though I know that all they really want is a gift card from Target or wherever they are registered or just a lovely bouquet of nice green bills. Sheesh. So, because of my silly habits, from this year alone I have about 5 weddings that have gone unacknowledged, plus several missed baby showers, a couple of graduations and well, pretty much all the birthdays in just my family alone. I won't even talk about my friends' birthdays. Thank goodness for facebook for at least a few of them...

So, what to do?

One solution is this: one of my bestest pals and I have a sort of pact, which is that we are not legally or emotionally bound to honor birthdays or any other holiday on the actual day. We can celebrate whenever it crosses our minds. I like that. (BTW, it worked in reverse for me. I acknowledged her birthday approximately on time this year. Go figure.) Anyway, if I take this approach, then I can send out some very late gifts without any self-consciousness or worry about how I will look in the bargain. I'll just focus on showing how I feel about the person on the other end. Which is what it is really about.

I know this is not a huge deal. I did not keep a list of the people I invited to my wedding who did not send presents, nor do I hold any ill will for them. I got late presents and it was actually kind of fun. I know that it's the thought that counts, not the Emily Post perfection of the execution. But I really love people. I want to show it. I am so blessed and showered with love from the dearest family and friends in the world and I feel like I'm not holding up my end of the bargain. See, there it is again. I'm worried about how I will look! Ack!

Back to what to do: I'm just going to do it. I've actually started. One gift at a time from the stack of lovely announcements that I've placed in plain view, right by my computer. Of course this will happen as the budget can absorb it. I'll check to see if their registries are still open. If not, then the old reliable gift card it is. The gifts will be simple, the note inside the card will be heartfelt, and the card will probably be...storebought. Sigh. I have to let that go. By the end of the year, hope with me friends, I'll be caught up and maybe relax about my expectations and just enjoy the moment of connecting with someone I love who thought to include me in their special day.

Plus I have to remember that I'm good at being a friend in other ways. So, if you haven't received an appropriately timed gift or card from me, remember that I love you in a hundred other ways and would do anything for you. And I wouldn't care how I looked. I'd come in my jammies if you needed me.


  1. Hopefully you know that seeing your sweet face is the best present you could give me :)

  2. Oh! I SO have the same problem. Someone once gave me a rocking reindeer.... Oh wait, that's a different story. LOL Had to throw that in, since you were talking about gifts. In all seriousness, I have the same problem, an I love to buy gifts for people that call out their names, and I don't like to buy gifts for people just cuz it's time to buy a gift. I used to shop year round and keep stuff stashed away, but the fam has gotten too big for that now. I have resorted to what you're doing... gift cards. and a love note. :-)

  3. You DO give fabulous presents, but paleeze! It is not required. Any amount of remembering is more than what's expected, I say! I have a hard time feeling like presents are necessary at all for adult friends. I like taking people out better. Probably selfish because I just want to get out, and WHO doesn't want to spend time with me?? (ha ha.) But as far as presents I'm supposed to give, I do want to be creative, and it is hard for me to pick things. I want to have the "best" present--just right. But I never succeed. Luckily, I don't dwell on it. Is it because my family is so casual about it? Jake's family is ON TOP of presents and cards. They probably think I'm a total loser.

  4. You are one amazing woman!! I miss you. I think you are so wonderful and genuine. What a great problem to have and I promise everyone will still feel loved because it is coming from YOU! But I totally see what you mean. This makes your horror at the Christmas Party make even more sense! :-)

  5. I hear you my friend. I have SUCH good intentions. sigh. like did you notice I didn't even acknowledge yours OR Corinne's birthday and I saw you both within a week of the day!!

    I like random gifts. I'm all for that! I still keep thinking I'll send Matt's half-sister a gift card for their wedding from over a year ago!!

  6. The random gifts is a great idea! I always get behind, and then give up. If I miss the February birthday niece, then I can't very well send the March niece a gift, right? It goes on and on.aa

    (I received a wonderful gift from you, on a day (actually a moment) when I really needed it. I think about that day often, and how much your visit helped me.)


Thank you for sharing your insights!