Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gift Perfectionism? When is It Enough?

So yesterday's post got me thinking again about how I tend to approach gift giving.

I find it often very difficult to buy, or rather, choose, gifts. Whether it's for my husband or my sister or a friend, it's rarely easy.

Sometimes I am lucky and the perfect idea will come to me in time to find and acquire an item. More often, I am undecided about what I should choose. And here is where I run into problems around Christmas time. I want to find thoughtful gifts for people. And yet, I'm never sure if what I end up with is good, if it's ideal, if it's best, if it's right, if it's enough. Oh boy. Is it enough!?

I've concluded that I suffer from gift giving perfectionism, which as you could guess, is as debilitating as any other kind of perfectionism. I always worry that whatever I chose is not the best choice. Will they like it? Will they appreciate it? Will they think it's enough?

There we go with the enough stuff again.

Is it enough? Isn't it enough that I spent time thinking of what they'd like? But I always wonder. Is it enough that I found something to surprise them with? Is it enough that I spent time and money and energy on this project? Is it enough that I give them "only" this one special thing? Is it enough that I wrapped it up in anticipation of their unwrapping it? Because that is what I live for, after all; I love watching the unwrapping.

But too often, even after I decide on the one special thing, I'll worry or decide that it's not good enough, or not enough enough, and I'll buy an additional present. And at some point, I'll often find myself cruising through shops, snatching up more gifty items to "round out" my offerings. It's wearing. It's a wearisome panic.

The worst part is that worrying about my choices means that I sometimes put off those choices until it's very late in the game. Some birthday presents never get given because I panic over the right choice. I don't know why it's such an issue, especially since I've cultivated more of a go-ahead-and-make-a-choice attitude in other areas of my life.

Perhaps it's because there are so many choices. I usually rely on parameters to help me narrow down other decisions, but in the great wide open shopping days of November and December, there are few parameters to help me limit the options or ideals.

An artsy thing? Some wooden spoons? is that enough? Spoons AND a cool spatula. No. Not kitchen ware this year. How about a book? A shawl? Do they need a shawl? What about a pretty one? Maybe they'd rather a gift certificate? Oh hell, I'll get them some chocolate. Chocolate AND a gift certificate.

Oh, I enjoy creating a variety package, but this extra worry wears me out.

Maybe it's because there are a few people on my list who I worry will be critical of my choices. (Now, that's a big one. Are there a few people tainting the well of generosity?) Maybe it's because I can't come up with any good ideas. Or anything I can afford. Maybe it's because I'm placing too much on any one gift giving occasion. Maybe I'm worried it won't look good, whatever it is, as if I don't measure up to some ridiculous standard. Oo, I'm getting some ideas about where this is coming from now... Ooh, or do I feel cheated if they don't seem to like it enough for me? Now that's another angle to think about.

Maybe this year, I'll think about this and watch for clues and see where this worry is coming from.

Maybe I'll give myself a pass and say, Ya done good. You did enough. And I'll be happy, dammit. And they'll be happy too, dammit. And if they are not, it's too bad, dammit. :)

Time to wrap up this post; it's enough. ;)

1 comment:

Lori said...

And here I am, having only bought one I have to buy birthday presents. I won't have time to worry too much. Good thing we only buy for the kids at Christmas or I'd be in trouble.