Allow Me To Sound Ungrateful For A Moment

I hate receiving gifts. I realize this pretty much puts me in the weirdo category (but you already knew I was there, didn’t you?) and makes me sound pretty ungrateful but since Christmas is coming, I might as well share.

It’s not that I don’t like the gifts themselves. I (almost always) do. It’s just that the act of someone handing me something, something they selected just for me, and expecting me to open it in front of them, while they gauge my reaction moment by moment, it’s just too much. My anxiety level hits an all time high (you know, except for this, probably one of my favorite posts I’ve ever written).

My face gets instantly red, something I like to call pre-embarrassment – when you feel embarrassed about something that hasn’t happened yet (like not liking the gift you received) and may not happen at all, but your whole face just predicts the embarrassment that will happen any moment. That the person eagerly awaiting your reaction will see right through you and know that the gift they thought was perfect just wasn’t. Which is funny because I think my friends and family are pretty awesome gift givers. So this isn’t even something that really happens to me, but the possibility is always there.

But this also strangely even extends to gifts I’ve bought myself. I’ll frequently order something online only to leave it sitting in the package, unopened. N will get home from work later and see a package sitting on the counter. The child in him immediately wonders “Ohh what is it? Open it! Open it! Open it!”. For some reason, just leaving it doesn’t bother me at all because I still feel the anticipation of the joy of whatever it is. And I’m putting off the disappointment if I find that it isn’t exactly what I expected (sob…the blouse I ordered from Loft in whisper white is see thru? DEVASTATING).

The whole gift-giving thing makes me uncomfortable in general because I feel like it’s too much. Yes, I know I’m loved. I’m very lucky that way. So receiving a gift feels like such a truly kind gesture. There’s love behind even the most practical gifts (Like the AAA membership my Dad gets me. He wants me safe. Such a simple thing becomes so meaningful). Maybe it’s just that gift giving involves all the feelings. It’s a barometer for how well the people in your life know you. How much they get who you are as a person.

All this is to say, Christmas really brings out the weirdo in me and I’m thankful that most holiday gatherings involve wine.

  • I can relate to this. There is too much pressure put on the gift-giving aspect of this season and if we could manage to avoid it altogether we would. It just feels like pressure at this point.

  • Lauren Harrelson

    My parents give us AAA for our birthdays every year. Seriously, one of my favorite gifts ever.

  • I love to get gifts, I do not like opening gifts in front of those who have given it to me what if I don’t look excited enough to get it,what if they think I don’t like the gift really can be stressful

  • I am on the same page. This year, my husband and I told our parents not to get us gifts, and instead we would plan to do something together. We managed to get them on board, and I am extremely happy about it!

  • I’m with you on this one. I don’t completely hate getting gifts, but I could certainly do without it. I get a ton of joy from finding something perfect for my loved ones and I’m just never as psyched to receive a gift.

  • Kimmie Merkley

    YES. This exact reason is pretty much why I never wanted birthday parties growing up. I could not deal with having to react the right way! And my bridal shower and baby showers were so tough on me- I felt like I had to act the right way to show my appreciation. Christmas is always tough for me for that reason- I’m so glad someone else feels the same way!

  • Oooh wee! I get what you mean. Unfortunately I’m not anxious to verbalize how unhappy I am with a gift I get especially from my mom for example! lol. I did hurt her feelings a bit one time so I need to learn to be more gracious and smile through it haha! but I honestly don’t think she GETS me. Hopefully now that I live with her, she’ll do better with the gifting.

  • Beth Mitchell
  • I tried to talk my friends into not giving me a baby shower for this exact reason. There is something so odd about having to sit there in front of people and open the gifts that they chose because I invited them to a shower. So awkward.

  • I can understand the feeling. My coworkers threw me a surprise baby shower, but I feel so awkward during things like that. All I can think is how everyone is waiting to see my reaction and how should I be feeling right now. It’s so weird. I was very thankful but too socially anxious in things like that to cry happy tears or anything.

  • I hate when people expect reactions for gifts… it is the most uncomfortable thing. I’m more comfortable conveying that in a thank you note. I agree on the barometer feeling… and I struggle with that a lot. I don’t want it to be, but for me, it does feel like a deeply personal thing. On the flip side, I love giving gifts.

  • I also get uncomfortable when it’s something you didn’t want or need. All the “thought” is still there, but now you have this thing with emotional baggage attached that you have to figure out what to do with!

  • I feel weird accepting gifts too. I always feel like I’m not showing the right amount of gratitude. What if they think I don’t like it, when I actually really do?? It’s just awkward and always feels fake.

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