So ... is this petty?
I've just finished wrapping the first batch of Christmas presents. (With eight kids, you start your Christmas shopping in January!!)
Only these presents aren't for the kids; they're not for my husband; they're for me. Yes, indeed. This year, I included myself in my Christmas buying.
Here's why: I love Christmas. I always have. I love the music, I love the lights, I love the shopping (though I loathe shopping in December, and almost always have it completed before then). I love picking gifts for people I love in off-beat, out-of-the-way spots. I love finding surprisingly unique stuff in big, boring box stores. I love waiting for the kids to come into my room in the dark on Christmas morning.
I do love it. But in recent years, particularly now that my kids are older -- though why that makes a difference, I'm not sure -- I've noticed that I give a lot more to Christmas than anyone else around here. Which is okay. I'm the momma, and I love Christmas. But I also GET a lot less than anyone else around here.
I organize Christmas. (Of course I do. I'll bet most women do.) I plan, I administer, I see that everything gets done: lights, music, baking, gift-buying, wish-lists, wrapping, cards, phone calls, mailing, visits ... And I've always loved every second of it.
Last year, for the very first time, I realized I was *not* loving Christmas so much. It was less joy, more obligation; less celebration, more work. I suddenly felt, for the very first time, that I was *giving* more than I was *receiving*. Giving more work, more planning, more obligation; receiving less joy, less vibrancy, less glee, less celebration. These are all internal to me; it is no one's fault, and there is no blame, even to myself. But the reality is, my attitude is shifting, and I have to accommodate this lest I begin to dread Christmas, as so many do. And I would HATE that!
The feeling of giving more than receiving is probably why, for the very first time, I *noticed* that my pile o'presents under the tree was smaller than everyone else's.
There are good reasons for the smaller present pile, and I don't resent it, not exactly, but ...
A little of the joy of Christmas scrubbed off me last year. This makes me sad. So, this year, as I shopped for everyone else, if I saw something I liked, I bought it for myself. Not big things, just little special things. I'm not sure how I'll explain these extra gifts under the tree! Perhaps my clients will be unusually generous this year?? (I don't want my family to know I've bought them myself, or they'll feel guilty/blamed, and as I said above, this is internal to me; there is no blame or guilt.)