I’m crap at Christmas presents. Well, that’s not exactly true. I actually enjoy buying stuff for people. It satisfies my second-X-chromosome connected need to shop, neatly combining it with my equally second-X-chromosome-connected need to please other people. And I delight in finding gifts that match my friends and family, I really do. There’s a kind of creative satisfaction in it. Don’t ever get me started on the whole ‘just give them a gift card’ copout… which is only marginally better than the ‘ask them what they want’ scenario. And as for the ‘go buy yourself something and I’ll wrap it’ shirk… Pffft… But that’s a whole other story, what I want to tell you about are the two ways that I’m crap at Christmas presents.
The first of my Christmas gifting fails is due to the fact that I’m not a last-minute-impulse gift buyer. I’m a yearlong purchaser-hoarder. Whenever I see something that I think will be just right for X, I get it right then and there. And then I stash it away and forget what the hell I’ve already bought… and I go on squirreling merrily away until some time in late November, when I spread out the plunder and start the annual pre-Christmas-wrapping self-flagellation ritual.
Really? Is she really going to like that?
Am I thinking that’s perfect for him because I’ve already given him one of those?
Is this enough?
Is that too much?
Should I swap that for a blue one?
You know how it goes. And it goes on and on and on until I finally bite the bullet and begin the annual Christmas-wrapping ritual —which involves lots of tinsel and glittering, colour-coordinated ribboning and black-and-white movie watching. Very therapeutic.
Once everything’s wrapped, the panic subsides… Sort of.
The second way I’m absolutely crap at Christmas presents is very closely allied to the first way I’m crap at Christmas presents. You see, because I have this stockpile of great stuff that they’re gonna just love, it’s as if I have premature-gift-ejaculation-syndrome.
If, at any time …any time at all… not birthday, not holidays, not any damn special celebration of even the most miniscule kind… if I happen to spend time with this person and they even kind of sort of maybe vaguely hint at something that kind of sort of maybe reminds me of the thing I have amassed in my hoard, I’ll go get it and give it to them right away. Yep. I just hand it over with a stupid grin and it’s all over. In an instant.
I don’t think I’m Robinson Crusoe here. There must be others who share my Christmas-crappiness and there probably isn’t a double-X chromosome bearing human being alive who doesn’t experience some sort of anxiety about the whole festive season thing. That’s why champagne and chocolate were invented, right?