Tuesday, November 06, 2007


The decorations are up and the sales have begun, but I'm not a big gift giver and I still am drawn to the urge of getting out there with everyone else. I am not a big nick knacker and try to only give a gift because I have found something that speaks to me that this person must have or I like to give something I know they would use. Sometimes this happens around a holiday or a birthday, and sometimes it happens randomly.

I started baking for Christmas gifts when I was a kid and over the years, these cookie gifts became actually more expensive then buying store bought gifts but I felt like I was giving a part of myself to my friends and family and could more accurately express my emotions through my cooking. After all food = love!

Well, not everyone sees these cookies as a gift. They've almost become expected. I realize that everyone has different gifting views and traditions so it's difficult for me when I want to give in a non-traditional way.

So last year I started knitting and had planned out all of these gifts I was going to make over the next year. It's now November and I haven't finished a single one. I feel both an internal and external pressure to be able to give a gift which isn't gone in a few bites and can be wrapped in paper and put under a tree. But I don't want to become that aunt or grandma who gives those gifts that she thinks are GREAT but aren't really received well. I was one of those kids who totally didn't appreciate the time and effort put into a handmade gift, so I don't expect much more, so should I bother?

This is a really tender spot for me because I want to please people and to make them happy, and frankly I want to be loved and accepted. I realize a gift does not make or break the love but there is still this psychological thing in there that makes me want to throw aside my values to please others. I don't know if I am projecting or if the number of gifts and how big they are is really as important as it seems but it sure feels like it.


Starshine said...

Cherry, the quality of your relationships with loved ones will not change on the basis of a gift given.

I like the idea of you giving in a way that is meaningful to you...you show your love by baking for people. I still remember (and still dream about) the delicious lemon cookies you brought to my bridal shower--partly because they were delicious, but mostly because they were made by you with love!

ML said...

I agree with Starshine where your relationships with loved ones won't change based on the gift they get from you.

You're so thoughtful in your gift giving.

Autumn's Mom said...

There is too much pressure we put upon ourselves when it comes to gift giving. How about we exchange hugs this year??? I already got yours ;)

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

This stuff drives me nuts...I feel the pressure, too, and I don't know why. I enjoy giving gifts for Christmas, and the desire to get people just the right thing, so they will know how much I love them...and what if they don't like it? Or what if there is no perfect gift, because they have everything they need? It's hard.

Angie said...

Hi Cherry - we were just having this discussion at our house. Meaningless gifts drive me crazy. There have been so many occasions when I received things that obviously were an 'after-thought' and really, they just should have saved their money. Homemade or handmade gifts are awesome, especially food! I say, 'go with your gut' and you can't go wrong.

Have a great day.

C said...

Great post, Cherry!
I think the most special gifts are ones that are from the heart. I love homemade/handmade gifts. I've been making gifts for the past few years. Some of my family and friends don't appreciate it and would rather me give them a brand spanking new flat screen TV, but they're going to have to settle for cookies/baking or some kind of crafty/artsy thing.

When I found out my brother's wife was having a baby, I taught myself how to crochet a baby blanket for my nephew. I can now crochet...but I only know one pattern! LOL!

The only sucky part about the upcoming holiday season is that it's expected that people give gifts. I hate that feeling. I give because I want to and it makes me happy, but I would hate it for someone to feel obliged to reciprocate (and vice versa). *sigh*

Gina said...

I agree with all the wise comments above. That being said, anyone who doesn't appreciate yummy baked goods needs to reprioritize.

MrsGrumpy said...

I know how you feel about that. I always start out meaning to make gifts "meaningful", especially for our nieces and nephews, and then the pressure of making their dreams come true crashes in. I say, do what makes your heart feel good.

Karen MEG said...

I think that little piece of you that you put into your gifts (or a lot of you, that's a whole lotta baking and knitting - wow!) are just wonderful.
We find it hard because we've been the only ones in the family with children for years, so we've been inundated with gifts for them. We usually do a gift exchange (pick names) for the adults, but that's tough because most people have anything they really need or want anyway. It's almost more about having something to open under the tree, which seems odd.
I like your kinds of gifts as they really come from the heart.

cgilbert said...

I made an agreement with all of my friends years ago to not exchange any gifts (either adults or children). It's been really rewarding in that we all can actually spend more quality time during the holiday season, rather than stressing about what to buy the person who has everything (which many people in our culture are). Every year, my wife and I buy only 4 gifts...for my parents and hers...we got our brothers in on the "agreement", as well as ourselves. When we started doing this, people told me I was "cheap" or "crazy"...but in the years since, many of my friends have followed suit and they generally appreciate how much less stress they feel around the holidays.