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Asking Questions


A post for the bad gift-giver


Buying gifts is very hard for me. Tyler and I are notorious for shopping on Christmas Eve and kicking ourselves for not figuring out sooner that purchasing a gift online that takes two weeks to ship won’t work out. I’m also the mom who has missed birthday parties because I totally forgot to buy something ahead of time and once I remember, I know I’ll never make it there with a gift.

Why can’t I get my act together and love people with something perfect, tied up with a ribbon? Why are my gifts commonly in grocery store bags instead? And why am I always hollering in a crowded shower room when they ask “Who’s this from??” – “Oh, that’s from me”?

I used to think this made me a bad person like I didn’t love them enough to take the time to get them something they’d love. And this can have some truth to it but I’ve realized that it’s not the thought that is lacking. It’s that I overthink gifts and it paralyzes me to actually make a decision. Maybe if you’ve felt the guilt of being a terrible gift-giver, you can find some freedom today as we identify what those things are that cause us to struggle and how to think a little more rationally about it.

1. We have unrealistic expectations.
I know she will sort of like this but I kind of want her to be obsessed with it and maybe tell me 2-3 times how much she loves it.

Reframe: Lower your expectations. We talked about this a few weeks ago when we talked about expectations and again when we talked about giving. Let go of the expectation that your gift has to be the favorite of the season. This reeks of our pride and isn’t the best way to go about the holidays anyway. I’m so guilty of this thinking that what I give reflects completely on me. I have to reframe my thinking and remember it’s not about me.

2. We are terribly practical.
We won’t buy them something if we haven’t heard them explicitly say they need that very thing. We take the cues for gifts so much to heart that if we don’t get them, a gift can’t possibly be right.

Reframe: Remember that sometimes the best gifts are things we would never know to ask for. Do you know how many customers we have throughout the year that buy because they got it for Christmas and loved it enough to give it to others? For the one who loves cooking, maybe that friend you are gifting to that doesn’t cook as great could use to hear the best new tool that she’d never find on her own? Release yourself from feeling like it has to be something they already want. Some gifts we don’t know we want until we see them.

3. We don’t want to mess up.
As if I have one Christmas to prove myself or this one gift will be attached to my name for life.

Reframe: Yes, there are gifts you will always remember getting, but in the grand scheme of things, how many is that compared to the number of gifts you actually received and don’t remember? Your personal worth or how much you love someone is not tied to one gift.

4. We want it to be thoughtful.
I will not buy someone a candle. I don’t know why, but it feels generic. But here’s the thing. If someone bought me an Illume candle, I would LOVE it!! I don’t usually treat myself to a fancy candle so I’d literally never enjoy nice candles if everyone had my attitude.

Reframe: Cliches can still be thoughtful. Cliche gifts became a cliche for a reason. We love getting candles. Maybe don’t buy your dad a tie, but if he loves them, don’t feel guilty that it’s the biggest cliche gift for dads there ever was. The checklist my gifts have to go through sometimes makes it near impossible to buy anything.

5. We don’t want to waste money if they won’t like it.
If I am going to spend money on something, that terribly practical part of me wants to know it won’t be wasted. It kills me to think of a journal sitting there unused. It’s my minimalist nature to only keep what we use. I don’t want to give anything to someone that they will have to think about giving away.

Reframe: We simply aren’t responsible for how someone uses our gifts. And this little struggle reveals my controlling nature. Make the simple shift of thinking and release responsibility for the outcome of the gift and know that giving from the heart is our job. That’s it.

So friends, do you struggle to give gifts?? Have any of these thoughts paralyzed you? You aren’t alone!!

And because I assume you are still shopping, check out our shop or check out our gift guide to figure out which gift would be fitting for each person on your list! The last day to order for Christmas is December 16th!

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