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Navigating The Christmas List Minefield

Illustration for article titled Navigating The Christmas List Minefield

My friends, it's that time of year again. Though really, I got the question much earlier than I normally do.


At around 7:25pm EST this evening, my mother sent my brother and me the following text:

"Tomorrow December 1, Christmas lists???"

I copied it here exactly. Though this particular iteration of syntax... creativity is certainly better than the Texts in Email Structure phase she went through for a while.


Now, my parents are wonderful people and super generous, and I love them dearly, and I give myself anxiety every year because I know that whatever I can get them will never be as awesome as whatever they give me. This post is completely inane and it's just me whining about something that's super dumb because I start work tomorrow and #idontwanna #needsomecheesewiththiswhine. So if you want to lecture me on how other people have less and I shouldn't be complaining about this and why aren't I just happy with what I have - please take that shit elsewhere. I know all of that. I do my very best to give back to my community. My problems are not really problems in the grand scheme of things, but BOY do they give me headaches sometimes regardless. This is just a chance for me to vent, and to allow others who may be navigating similar familial-gift-giving-expectations-and-insanity to also vent. Just... everyone vent. We need it. Then go eat some more leftovers.

But this question is always SO DAMN LOADED. I have asked for a truly spectacular array of items in my life. Everything from super cheap books, to expensive kitchen shit. Half the time I'm trying to think of things that I need/actually use, and the other half is usually spent just staring blankly into space.


I never know how my choices are going to go down. You see, if I don't ask for anything nice or expensive or whatever, that will somehow end up getting me in trouble. Not entirely sure what the reasoning is, but it seems to be that they don't feel like they've really recreated the Magic of the Holiday unless I have at least half a dozen not cheap and sometimes very pricey gifts under the tree. But they are also nice enough that they want the things to be things I actually want! Once, for my birthday (granted, this is usually not as fraught with anxiety as the Christmas List), I asked for... I think headphones? Or some electronics thing that was small and not expensive.

I got an iPad.

Again, so very thankful to have such generous parents, but holyballs.

Because on the other hand, sometimes I'll ask for something that is expensive (and yet, on the face of it, LESS expensive than whatever it is they got me the last year or have gotten me in the past), and I get lectures about how it was ridiculous of me to ask for something so costly. I just... I don't know. This is all from the woman who bought me a kitchen aid stand mixer for Christmas because she didn't want me to feel like I had to get married to get one. I have never asked for one in my life. Honestly, I didn't think I would EVER get away with asking for one. I love that thing to bits, but it's not a cheap gift! And let's not get into the times that I've asked for something and it has somehow ended up being given to my brother. He's as baffled by this phenomenon as I am, trust me.


So now I have to wade into making My List, and hope that I ask for just the right amount of inexpensive and nice things, but not too much, and heaven forbid I ask for too little. Trust me, I've tried to ask them to please just let helping me to fly home for the holidays be my gift. Mom pouted for days and then put her foot down.

It's amazing how that one simple text can cause such a downward spiral into OH GOD WHAT DO I DO.


Maybe I'll just ask for a hand held power drill and a kitchen torch and let them draw their own conclusions... ;)

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