Not sure if it’s my growing age or my evolving cynicism, but over the last couple of years, I have experienced a lapse in my normal amount of gratitude.
I typically consider myself a pretty thankful person: thankful for surprise visits, for time spent helping me with homework, and for freshly baked brownies. Thankful that Husband folds my clothes in an adorable way, thankful that my mother-in-law bought me a wedding ornament, and thankful that my friends surprised me with a beautiful flowers when I was up late studying.
So, what am I not thankful for? More fuzzy socks. Mugs. Cheap lotions. Generic cookie mixes. Homemade candy that looks like poop. The annual Family Christian Store clearance CD.
But I keep telling myself, “It’s the thought that counts”, say “That was so nice of you!”, and add the mug to my Goodwill collection while throwing out the candy.
But then, I wonder: was it actually thoughtful? In the era of Pinterest, Etsy, craft bazaars, and adorable boutiques, can anyone truly get away with the mass produced “Made in China” lotion and generic hot chocolate mix? And then I start to think: was the giver actually thinking of me or just thinking of making their holidays easier, cheaper, and more efficient? And if we are at a point where we need to make Christmas easier and more efficient, I wonder if we are doing something wrong.
So, here’s what I’m doing: I’m not baking cookies for the neighbors. I’m not making baskets for house church. I’m not taking mugs to my co-workers. I’m not buying anything for that random friend that I’ll see for our annual holiday lunch. I’m buying thoughtful, personalized gifts for my immediate family and calling it “Christmas”. I need to be fully present way more than my co-workers need my cheap presents.
Silent, stress-free night for me. (But I’ll still say “thank-you” if you buy me more fuzzy socks).