“You’re gorgeous, you old hag, and if I could give you just one gift ever for the rest of your life it would be this. Confidence. It would be the gift of confidence. Either that or a scented candle.”
~ David Nicholls,
I was talking with a girlfriend yesterday. A very organised girlfriend who’s a bit of a mother figure to me. She’s had the family Christmas shopping done months ago, and everything is wrapped, waiting to go under the tree.
‘Gee,’ she said, ‘I wonder what abominations I’ll get this year…’
I asked her what she meant.
‘All I want is a good nightie. A comfortable one in soft cotton that’s nice to sleep in. I give hints all year, but the kids and grandkids always get me some horrible thing with cartoon animals, or David gets me some lacy sexy thing that appeals to him but is scratchy and synthetic and awful.’
‘Could you go with them to choose it?’ I asked.
‘No! Then it wouldn’t be a surprise.’ My friend pulled a pouty face worthy of a five-year-old.
I smiled. She is adorable at nearly sixty, and one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I know. ‘Would there be better presents for them to get you?’ I asked.
‘Yes!’ she said. ‘Books, chocolate, bath products, perfume. Any of those would be good. Even a colouring book. The complete Harry Potter series would be even better. I’ve alway wanted to read that.’
‘Well, tell them that’s what you want. Write a list for them even. Then go buy yourself the nightie you want and put it under the tree from Santa for you. That way everyone’s happy.’
‘But I can’t do that!’ she protested. ‘Christmas is about you being thoughtful for other people, and them being thoughtful for you.’
And therein lies the problem. Worth. Not everyone is as thoughtful or observant or organised as my friend. No-one else knows that her definition of Christmas is about other people being as thoughtful for her as she is for them. Or that thoughtfulness is a soft cotton nightie. Why can’t my friend be thoughtful for herself too?
You’re always doomed to disappointment with a set-up like that.
Christmas is not a test of love and worthiness. Don’t treat it as such. Don’t wait for others to demonstrate your worthiness based upon a framework they can’t even access.
I get that surprises are wonderful. You can get a surprise from the smallest thing. A surprise means you didn’t know what gift you’d get. Surprise! Let the gifts others give you be accepted in the spirit of surprise, gratitude and appreciation. Or good manners, if that is all you can muster, and especially if there was no thought, love or care reciprocated.
This year, if you really have your heart set on something, give it to yourself. You are worthy of the thought and consideration you give others. You are worthy enough to spend your own money on you.
My Christmas gift to myself this year is going to be prawns in white sauce served on toast with a glass of champagne. That was Ceddie and Marga’s (my grandparents on my mum’s side) favourite Christmas breakfast. I miss them heaps, especially at Christmas. My husband doesn’t like prawns. That’s okay. I’ve asked him and he wants a full-on Canadian breakfast. We have the technology to do that.
It’s okay to be kind and thoughtful to yourself, and to meet your own needs. If you don’t treat yourself like that, how will other people know to do that?
Big love and hugs, Nicole xx