This year I decided that I hate Secret Santa.
It was always something offices or faculty lounges do around the holidays and in those settings it seems appropriate. I mean when you have 35 employees or more, workplace Secret Santa’s serves as a perfect opportunity to share and ‘get to know’ the basics about someone you see almost every day. Do they drink coffee? Is there anything they collect? Do they have a beloved pet?
So, I’m all in favor of Work Santa but when my intimate family decided we would draw names for Secret Santa to save money, I gritted my teeth but gave it a chance. In hindsight, it might work perfectly if you were drawing from a huge family pool but when you only have 6 people who agree to do this exchange it is slightly, if not thoroughly underwhelming.
Then add the rule that no one can choose their own spouse…you are limited to 3 people. Once choosen, those three people make up a wish list with the agreed upon dollar amount and you have a very boring gift exchange. My son in law actually thanked me for the Christmas gift and I wasn’t even his Secret Santa!
In the good old days, I worked very hard to find the perfect and unexpected gift for my adult children and husband. Even the little stocking stuffers were fun to search for and sometimes ended up being the most favorite gifts. Now I realized the old saying “It is better to give than receive” is totally true.
While it’s always nice to receive a present, my joy comes from finding that perfect gift. I’m not vain enough to think that my gifts are always perfect. I’ve had some real bombs but every year there seemed to be that one person that I literally, 'Nailed It' as my grandson would say.
Last year, my father sternly announced, well dictated, that he no longer wanted anyone to give him Birthday, Father’s Day, or Christmas gifts anymore! He declared that he had enough stuff and didn’t want us to bother. At first, we were all a little bitter and kind of like; “Fine, we won’t give you another Flipping thing.”
For a year we managed to recite that phrase every holiday but I noticed that it made us sad in the end. Sad that he didn’t want to see what we had thought of this year. Sad that he didn’t see the joy it gave us to see his face if we surprised him or found something different but perfect.
I let this silly idea go for a year but vowed to buy him something when I FEEL like it and when the gift fits the moment. I agree that no one needs another plaid shirt but when that plaid shirt you’ve been wearing for 9 years is looking tired, maybe it’s time for a new print?
My husband has at least 10 pairs of Khaki pants and too many plaid shirts from his mother but every once in awhile she will gift him with a treasure she found at someone’s garage sale and he lights up and keeps it safe. The smile on her face is priceless and as she beams, we all tell her what a great gift that was! Her joy makes it worth keeping all those pants and plaids stored away quietly.
Next year I refuse to do Secret Santa with my family. I think I’m going to suggest that we just stick to low priced stocking stuffers and keep it small, simple, and maybe creative?
Just making this declaration made me smile inside knowing that I have an entire year to find that perfect gift and maybe, just maybe, one of those gifts will be the one that I ‘Nailed it!’
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