What gifts did you give and receive this year?
A side note: I am a terrible gift-giver. My perfectionism and anxiety take over my brain when I think about giving to people (other than my children, who are really good sports – and I know them REALLY well.) But the thought of SHOPPING for others gives me a panicky feeling. I would love it if I had the time to make things for others – but my reality doesn’t support that right at this moment. Maybe next year. Even my husband, who I know SO well…I just get so caught up in needing it to feel exactly, perfectly “right.” Original, and proving that I know him almost better than he knows himself. I want a guarantee that he’ll like it. That it’s the exact RIGHT thing.
And so, my history of gift giving has degenerated into buying things for my husband that I know he wants because he explicitly tells me he does. Not so…awesome. Practical, yes. Awesome? No.
To be fair, I’m not even that good at buying my SELF gifts. I need to be talked into it. I have to play devil’s advocate to someone (usually my husband) until he convinces me that I deserve it, until he gives me permission that I can’t give to myself.
What is that?
I’m so afraid of being wrong. Of doing the wrong thing. Of fucking up publicly. Of being embarrassed. Of people realizing that I’m not as smart as they thought. If I miss the mark with my gift selection, does that mean that I don’t know them as well as they thought? That I’m selfish, and don’t pay attention to their likes and dislikes?
I know that I’m being harder on myself than anyone else would be. Because I’m not judgmental of others and their gift-giving – I fully ascribe to the “it’s the thought that counts” school of thought when I receive gifts from others. I’m not sure why I don’t believe that I’m worthy of the same benefit. Hmmm.
Gifts to MySelf
As mentioned, well, several times now…I purchased myself a membership to Goddess Leonie’s Goddess Circle, which was a huge departure from my normal need-to-see-it-touch-it-know-100%-it’s-a-good-choice way of being. I agonized for days before making the purchase. And yes, my husband had to talk me into it. It was a great gift, and it still inspires me to be gentler, to be hopeful, to try new things. To dream BIG.
I also gifted myself a monthly membership to HerbMentor.com, which I also LOVE. I love having the access to all that reputable KNOWLEDGE in one place. Lore, history, an encyclopedia of herbs, videos and tutorials on tons of DIY herbal remedies/care products…it’s the awesome. Don’t get me wrong – I love books. But having this extremely affordable membership gets me access to what feels like about 20 books in one place, in addition to a forum of very knowledgeable people who I can call on when I have questions. I love love love it, and highly recommend it!
I gave myself the opportunity to take a banjo class. I picked up some good tips on playing, but the class itself really didn’t meet my needs (I didn’t gel with the instructor’s style, and the time of day was really murder on me). Here’s something interesting – I didn’t beat myself up about it being a “failed” class or wrong choice or anything, which is a departure from the past. I’ll even admit to skipping the last class of four because I was so uninspired by the instructor – and I didn’t feel bad about doing so. In the past I might have forced myself to show up because “I paid all this money! Blah blah blah.” But I let my lessons on sunk cost lead me to a better choice for myself. I don’t regret taking it, and I don’t regret dropping it.
And of course there are the intangibles – the moments I carved out to write, the times that I let the dishes sit unwashed in the sink so that I could meditate or draw or play guitar or dance with my children. These tiny moments of conscious breathing, of deliberately embracing my life, might be the most important gifts that I gave to myself.
Gifts to Others
To my children – I feel like I have explicitly given them the gift of art this year. I seriously stocked our art cabinet with tons of supplies – copious amounts, so that I wouldn’t feel bad about them “wasting” them if they so desired (and let’s be honest, that’s what 1 ½ year-olds do!). Paper, paint, watercolors, glitter glue, brushes, pipettes, toothpicks, playdough…and the opportunities to use them.
But I love it. I love seeing them create. I love how it’s different every time. I love how some days they are so focused on their work and others they participate for 2 minutes and have had their fill. I love watching them make decisions, try new things. I love seeing them feel pride. I love being excited for them.