I'm sure a few of you reading this are thinking, "um, I've totally been saying this for years!" Okay, well to those of you who haven't... this blog's for you. I have a huge issue with guilt as it is. In fact, my new therapist pointed out to me the first visit how many times I used the words guilt and guilty when talking about my feelings. I had never realized what a huge "burden" it was to me until she pointed it out. But this blog is more centered around guilt and Christmas, so I will forge ahead.
My first point about guilt is the receiving end. I've had this problem for YEARS... if my mom gets me a gift I don't like, I feel huge amounts of guilt. I know she put a lot of thought into it, spent her hard earned money on it and was probably quite pleased. So I feel awful if I don't like something. I think that this is the reason why to this day I abhor (and I mean ABHOR) opening gifts in front of people. I don't like having to fake a smile if I don't like something, but I don't want to hurt someone's feelings either. What tends to happen if I get a gift I don't like is that I put it in a closet for a year until I can let go. Then I feel guilty getting rid of it, but feel better about not hoarding things I don't need. It doesn't really bug me if anyone else gets me a gift I don't like... because it's kind of expected.
Next item of guilt: gift giving. I've never really realized how much guilt this brings until this year. I don't really emphasize Santa with my kids. I don't want to "lie" to them, but I don't want them to miss out on something that the kids around them are excited about. So I don't really tell them about Santa, I just don't NOT tell them about Santa. I let them think what they like based on the world around them, books, peers, mass media. They can't even make a trip to the doctor without being asked about Santa. But this year I was privy to seeing what both kids asked for from Santa. Each only asked for one thing and guess what- I hadn't bought either of those things! They were definitely not expensive items, I just didn't know they wanted them. I'm not big on the "make me a list of 100 things you want and I'll buy 10." I prefer at the age my kids are now to buy things I think they will like based on what their interests are. Now if I noticed them eying something on the shelf at WalMart, I might keep that in mind, but I don't ask them specifically for a list. I like to think I'm in tune with what my kids like. But anyway, I felt guilty knowing that neither of them got the one thing they asked for. Well, as luck would have it, what my daughter asked for was actually something I got for my son for his upcoming birthday. He didn't ask for it, I just thought he'd like it. So quick wrapping paper swap and under the tree it went with her name on it. That meant he had one gift less than her... which meant I needed to get him another one... which left room for the thing he asked for.
Does this make it seem like my kids are spoiled? I don't think so. But it alleviated a bit of my guilt, and that's what I wanted. I also feel guilty if I don't think the gift I got another family member is something they really want, but there's not much I can do about that.
Anyone else get Christmas anxiety due to guilt?