When you’re young Christmas is all about the receiving of gifts, any concept of giving gifts doesn’t really compute. We rely on our parents to buy us a gift for the other parents and any siblings we have. And when it comes to extended family we might sign our name in a card or two or even a gift tag but that is the limit of our involvement.
As we grow a little more we are maybe asked for an opinion on what to get the people in our lives, you might even take some baked goods in for your friends at school but again we don’t have to worry about it. Mum and Dad, have it under control!
Once we start earning, things shift, we are expected to not only decide on what to buy for the Dad that has everything and uses nothing, or the brother who just wants the latest most expensive game for whatever console he is on. But we are also expected to pay for it, wrap it and present it as a gift. We do have a bit of calm in this decision making storm as this responsibility for gift buying is pretty much kept to the closest family members and you can still get away with a name on a card for the extended family. You don’t even have to put the effort in to sign it really as you know mum will do it for you.
However, this does not last. I have discovered that once there is a ring on your finger and you are no longer a loner in this work you are required to take full responsibility for purchasing gifts, not only for your new husband, but your close family, along with your extended family to include all Aunties, Uncles, Cousins and Grandparents. For me that is a lot of people as both parents are one of 4. But now, this is extended even further.
I am also not expected to do all this for my husband’s family, he is 1 of 4 and the other three all have partners, there are his parents, his granny, his uncles and aunties, and a few cousins too. Now I love his family I really do but I have only known them a little while and so trying to decide what to get them is tricky. This is made even harder when Alan’s answer to what can we get your mum is ‘I don’t know, let me think about it’……argh!
I have managed to sort it all out (never fear Rogers this year there will be gifts for you, picked and packed with love) but it don’t half make life more expensive.
Combined we have at least 38 people to sort gifts for and that doesn’t even include gifts for one another. I mean it’s insane. Then there are the cards we are expected to send. I mean he hasn’t even posted or handed out his Thank you cards from the wedding. Postage isn’t free either!
Now don’t get me wrong. I totally get that everyone is in the exact same position every year. But why has it become this stressful thing of trying to get a gift for everyone that they will like, gifts for people that keep them happy, ensuring gifts for cousins are equal to ensure no one is offended. This constant battle with ‘will they actually like or use this?’
I love Christmas but being an adult has definitely taken some of the charm out of it. I love getting gifts for people and seeing them open them. It is funny to think how it shifts, I used to hate giving gifts, just receiving them as any child does. But now, I would rather gift gifts to the ones I love than receive them. This is what is making this year so hard. I currently don’t have full time work, since just before the wedding I have been trying my hand at a bit of freelance work when my job ended the way it did (that is a long story for another day). This means I have limited finance, and rely on my better half bringing home the bacon, and bread and milk….you get the idea.
This has meant I don’t have money to really buy my husband a present let alone anyone else. I have resorted this year to making many gifts, I have the time and the ability so that has kept me busy. Alan’s main gift is handmade and made with love but I still feel like I’m short changing him as he has worked so hard the last few months, which he has done for us. For me. So I can continue to do freelance design work whilst also having time to be creative and keep up with the washing! (he does a very muddy job)
As an adult Christmas is different, priorities change, expectations are added, responsibility grows and it looses some of the magic. But I think this year it has helped me to realise that life is what you make of it, even if that means literally making things for people!
I am just glad Alan gets a free Christmas tree from work and I have been able to get the odd job in the run up to Christmas to add a little bit of the needed sparkle back into what is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year!