There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward. (Kahlil Gibran)
Last night we had friends over for dinner. After we put our daughter to bed and polished off a pan of chicken enchiladas, I cleaned off the table and opened up our game closet. (Also known as our coat closet, but “game closet” sounds oh-so fancy, doesn’t it?)
We briefly considered Boggle and I pulled for the old standard, Scattergories, but we eventually decided on 90s Trivial Pursuit. As we set it up and debated whether or not reading the rules was in order, I said, “Mark got this for me a few Christmases ago, and I was so excited.”
As a matter of fact, I could tell you everything my husband gave me for Christmas that year – four years ago. Because he actually got me things I wanted.
See, my love language is gift giving. And while you might think this would make Christmas an automatic WIN for me, it does not.
Because nobody ever lives up to my expectations.
See, there’s not much I enjoy more than thinking up and buying or making the perfect gift for the people in my life. By giving them the perfect gift, you see, I’m showing them that I know them – and their personality/tastes/deepest desires – better than anyone else. By handing them the beautifully wrapped present
that looks like it came from a fancy store but was really bought on sale, I’m showing them that I can love them (love as a verb, of course, not a mere emotion) better than anyone else.
I’m showing them that I’m better than anyone else.
So when the recipient of my Best Gift Ever doesn’t react the way I want – in other words, gushing about how it’s a perfect present and how I’m the best wife/daughter/cousin/friend ever – well, I’m a little offended. Disappointed, even. Okay, I’m crushed.
[Did I mention that words of affirmation is my other love language?]
In the same way, I have perfectly ridiculous expectations of those who give me gifts. Because if they can’t give me something that illustrates how well they know me, how much they love me, how important I am, then clearly something is wrong.
I’m pretty sure I’ve been missing out on the joy of gift giving. A little ironic, given my penchant for presents, right?
This holiday season, I’m determined to give and receive with a better attitude. Because I’ve realized that by wrapping gifts in expectations as well as tissue paper and ribbon, I’m missing out on – and keeping others from enjoying – the joy of giving.
Are you ever disappointed by presents you receive? Do you wrap the gifts you give with expectations? Or do you truly believe that it’s the thought that counts?
P.S. You’re invited to my Giving Up on a Perfect Christmas carnival and giveaway this Friday. Have you ever eaten broken all the Christmas cookies? Or broken the news to your nephew that Santa Claus might not be real? Get frostbite while Christmas caroling or perform an embarrassing solo at the office party? Or accidentally electrocute the cat with Christmas lights?
No matter what kind of story you have, write a post and link up! Then enter to win a Lisa Leonard necklace. I hope to see you there, and I hope you have a wonderful, merry Christmas!Leave a Comment