Christmas seems to be all about lists. Lists of presents to be bought; lists of people to meet; lists of food for Christmas day; lists of presents we would love; and the list goes on.
These lists can alleviate the pressure that some people feel at Christmas time but they can also take from the heart of Christmas – especially when it comes to presents.
Present lists can make gift giving so clinical. You hand your list around to your people and then you are given lists from your people and you just buy what’s on them. No thought has gone into buying the present.
I know Christmas can be very hectic, because unlike birthdays, there is more than one present to be bought. There are usually quite a few and the thought of having to think of unique presents for each person can be very stressful and time consuming at a time when people are time poor.
However, if you are finding that you are getting stressed at having to buy for so many people and life would be so much easier if they told you what they wanted, then maybe, as harsh as this may sound, it’s time to scratch that person off your Christmas list. Buying for someone should be a pleasure not a pain. And if you’re thinking that Christmas is the time you can get people to buy you exactly what you want – then we have forgotten what presents are. When did receiving a present become a right rather than, as corny as it sounds, a beautiful privilege to receive?
This year my girlfriends and I (both the Australian and Irish set) decided to do KK and the rule was no lists. There was some stress around this but when it came time to unwrapping the presents there was much excitement as none of us knew what we were getting. And, do you know what? Everyone loved their gifts. Why? Because we all know each other and went out of our way to get something we thought our friend would love.
A present isn’t meant to be a need. It’s supposed to be something frivolous, something you wouldn’t buy yourself but would love to have.
This happened with my KK presents. I would never have bought them for myself as I couldn’t justify it. That said, I loved my gorgeous earrings; my awesome “Australiana” throwback tea towel (there’s no way I’d spend that money on a tea towel but I can’t wait to hang it in my home!); my bag (I couldn’t justify buying myself another bag – but when it’s a gift there’s no need to do so); and my fabulous turquoise beret (which I never would have bought for myself, as I didn’t think I could pull it off, but it hasn’t left my head since I received it!).
Going off list can be risky because the recipient may not like it but nine times out of ten, people get it so right. The one time out of ten that it might not be to taste, it still brings a smile to your face because someone has thought of you and gone to all of that effort to buy you something they think you’d like.
So this Christmas, why don’t we try to ditch the lists and go back to the core of it all and use our hearts to decide on what we are giving to and receiving from the people we love most.