I think I am mostly done with my Christmas shopping. I will triage this weekend and make sure that the three older kids all have equal looking piles, both from us and in my sense of what Santa will bring. Today was my hardest bout of shopping yet, as I was mostly purchasing gifts for my husband. Shopping for adults is hard. I have begun to think that the kindest thing you can do for the other people in your life is have a hobby or a collection, so people always know what to buy you. “Oh yes, she always likes nice notebooks!” or “you can never go wrong with running gear!”
I suspect I may have gone wrong on a few things. Also, I drove to the King of Prussia mall in the driving rain, which combined several things I dislike:
- rain-induced traffic on I-76
- parking lots with few open spots, meaning I have to maneuver a large car into whatever is available, as opposed to something far away from other cars
- lots of people
And this was on an early Thursday afternoon! I took the afternoon off partly to go shopping so I wouldn’t have to go this weekend, when I’m sure it will be like something out of the Inferno.
This was my second trip to KOP mall this week, so that may be one reason for my foul mood. I try to purchase as many things as possible online but the honest truth is that I do like buying presents for people. And sometimes I like seeing things in stores, and having the existing merchandise make me think about whether the person would like it.
As stated earlier, I’m not 100 percent sure I succeeded. This is the inefficiency of gift-giving. That’s why my husband suggested a far more practical approach: figure out something we were going to buy for ourselves anyway, and say it came from the other person. In my case, I want/need a new phone (current one is circa early 2011) and a new computer (circa mid 2010). I should probably purchase them before the end of the year so I can deduct them on my 2015 taxes.
However, I really hate the idea of my phone — which I’m going to purchase anyway! — being my gift. I recently took the 5-languages-of-love test, and while it turns out I really like to be told I’m awesome, I’m not opposed to gifts either (or, frankly, anything else. All my scores were similar. I must just like to be loved!). I quote the website: “The receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you.”
If I go out and purchase my own gift, that means the gift giver has put zero thought and effort into it. I like the idea of someone thinking about me, and thinking about what I might like, and putting time and effort into something that will delight me.
As a side note, I’ve realized as an adult that I really love well-wrapped presents with gratuitous bows and ribbons. I have told myself it doesn’t matter, but it does! Presentation is part of the experience!
In any case, since I know how I feel about gifts, I try to think that way about giving gifts to other people. This is faulty thinking, of course. Just because something matters to me doesn’t mean it matters to anyone else, and I’m willing to bet that my husband does not actually value the fact that I braved the KOP parking lot. But I’m pretty stoked about the kids’ stuff. One kid who really likes showy stuff will get something showy. I was walking out of KOP mall with a giant bag and the dude tending one of the mall kiosks said “Whoa, you don’t mess around.” Yep. I got what I came for, and now I can stay out of the mall for the next year.