Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Santa Chromosome: I Don't Have It

There are twelve days 'til Christmas and I have not bought a single Christmas gift.

Some people, like my sister Sarah, seem to be blessed with elf blood and a Santa chromosome, which allow them to create, think of, and procure the PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT every year. {Or if you're like Sarah, five or six of those per person until you have to be cut off by your mother.}

Then you have people like me.

Where gift-giving fills Sarah with glowing light and sparks of passionate generosity, it fills me with feelings of Titanic-sized ineptitude and an irrational annoyance at anyone who has dared to become important enough to warrant a gift.

Luckily, because I seem incapable of normal human attachment/affection, there are only five people in the world whose gifts must be PERFECT AND THOUGHTFUL AND SHOW HOW MUCH I CARE. But when you're an obsessive, deeply loyal perfectionist like myself, five people is plenty enough to give you heartburn and a stomach cramp when December 1st hits the calendar.

I'm sure lof people have trouble picking out gifts, but normal issues/experiences/feelings have a way of becoming extreme emotional hurdles when the ever-dramatic Stephanie deals with them. When I try to analyze my ineptitude at gift-giving, it mostly ends with my insulting myself with comments like, "You just suck at this because you're selfish and lazy and don't love people. Why don't you just go kick a kitten while you're at this?"

My dad says it's hard for me to get into the gift-giving blitz because it doesn't resonate with me personally. I don't put a lot of stock in material things, so thinking of presents is difficult. But that makes me sound like this incredibly noble, wise person, which I'm almost positive I am not. However, Daddy's answer is more encouraging and nice than my version, so sometimes I let myself believe it.

Actually, come to think of it, there's a little bit of evidence to support that theory. A lot of times I get so paralyzed by the prospect of gifts and stores and money and using money at stores to buy gifts that I end up giving homemade presents.

One time, I made Cassidy a Wordle of memories, phrases, movies, songs, etc. that reminded me of her. I made it in her favorite colors and framed it and gave it to her. She liked it. For her birthday, I once wrote my grandma a poem. That was a big hit. Once for Sam, I made a CD of songs that reminded me of him. He liked it, I assume XD

My dad was definitely right about one thing:  personally, I don't put a lot of stock in material things. That's not to say that I wouldn't love a journal with writing in a different language, or crazy eyeliner, or Batman Converse. However, it's the foreign language, the craziness, and the Batman that make those gifts. It's not the journalness, the eyelinerness, or the shoeness, if that makes sense. It's not the actual item; it's the evidence that the gift-giver really KNOWS me, and tried to find something I would like.


So, in the middle of all this, I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that I'm just really bad at buying people presents. It will probably always intimidate me, and I will probably never be great at it.

But I think if I put real, long-term effort into them, I can give pretty good presents when it matters. I think the people who I care most about will always have enough depth to know when I care, whether it took me $50 or 50 hours to produce proof.



  1. i love this. i am almost exactly the same way to the letter. i hate buying things for people. i'd much rather make them something meaningful. and then i even get nervous and anxious about that and freeze up and hope they like it because oh gosh, what if they don't? and it's a lot of stress. i'm always glad when the holiday season is behind me.

  2. I'm the same way. I love giving gifts, but I get really worried about if they'll like it, and I tend to get things that are actually thoughtful. Or, in my brother's case, I give joke gifts. Usually they're still thoughtful though. In the same way, I hate getting gifts that mean almost nothing. We had a Secret Santa thing at school that lasted the hole week, and on the last day, my secret santa gave me Pink body spray. Not only do I very rarely wear any sort of perfume, but I'm not very girly in any way. The person didn't really seem to think about something that I would actually like. It kind of made me sad.

  3. Natalie: Exactly! While gifts from the heart are usually more meaningful, they're a lot more risky too.

    Wolfdog: Aw. Yeah, that would be a little disappointing.