What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Shopping Avoidance

I should be shopping for Christmas presents...I should be writing my Christmas card letter and sending it out...I should be cleaning my house...I should be baking...

My 91 year old mother in law has been staying with us this past week and every time she walked by our Christmas tree she would say, "That Christmas tree looks so sad. It needs some presents underneath it."  Numerous times throughout the week she repeated this comment along with expressing the desire to go to the local Dollar General store to purchase some "tree gifts."  No, I don't believe she meant gifts for the tree...but "tree gifts", as I have come to understand the terminology, are little gifts that really aren't anything of major significance, but just some fun or simple little gifts to give to the family...almost more like "stocking stuffers", but they go under the tree before Christmas Eve apparently.

I tried to explain to her that in my family's tradition, we never put any gifts under the tree until Christmas Eve. The only presents that would be "present" under the tree prior to Christmas Eve would be gifts that arrived either through the mail, or gifts that came from friends or neighbors or people not in the immediate family.  Of course, when I was growing up, my parents would not even put up the Christmas tree until Christmas Eve...and we would help decorate it until our bedtime, but it was not completed until after we children went to bed, and then it would be a surprise to see it on Christmas morning, along with all of the gifts that we had never seen until that moment as well.

Of course, I found out in later years that one of the reasons we never saw any presents under the tree before Christmas morning was because my mother rarely finished her Christmas shopping until a few days (or less) before Christmas, and that she was usually up until 2:00 A.M. Christmas morning wrapping gifts.  Now, to her defense,  my mother worked full time and at that time we did not have any local shopping centers or malls.  Shopping meant traveling at least thirty miles or more to the big city.  But I think my mother may have suffered from "Christmas Shopping Avoidance".  At least that is what I am naming it. Why? Because I have it. Seriously.  Not just in the sense of being a procrastinator, but I literally have panic attacks when I try to go Christmas shopping...just thinking about it and writing this for all the world to see gives me sweaty palms and heart palpitations.  If I could afford to do so, I would gladly pay someone to go do my shopping for me.  But they would have to figure out what to get everyone and where to get it and if they would really like it...and ....and....well....you see what I mean?  I know...all you great shoppers out there that have had your Christmas shopping done since July...some even since last January...maybe some in October...or perhaps you waited until "Black Friday"...but you got it done. Your gifts are exquisitely wrapped and under your perfect tree, and you are now baking cookies and gingerbread houses and taking gifts and cookies to your neighbors and children's teachers and the old folk's homes and ....and...and...here I am writing about it and not doing it....

I haven't written my Christmas letter yet or sent the first card. I can't even think of what to say...most everyone knows everything already about me and our family....so what is there to say that you don't already know?  And, it isn't that I don't want to give gifts and do nice things for others...I just seem to be locked in place and frozen in space...I can't do it.  Yes, it has been a difficult year for us. Yes, I think it may have something to do with that.  Yes, I need to deal with it.

Okay, so today I gave in and took my mother in law to the local Dollar General so she could buy some "tree gifts".  And then we came home and I actually wrapped them for her, and we put them under the tree. Now every time she walks by our tree she claps her hands and says "Now the tree looks so happy!"
"The Tree Gifts"
Yes, she has dementia, and yes, she says a lot of things over and over again. But this resonated in my heart as a plea for me to get on with Christmas.  Quit avoiding it.  Embrace the joy of giving to others. Don't worry about what to get, where to go, or whether or not they will like it. Just do it. They will love it. They aren't expecting anything especially remarkable or expensive or wonderful.  It truly is the thought that counts... the fact that you cared enough to step outside of yourself and do something for someone else because you love them.  That's what Christmas is all about. Doing something for someone else because you love them.  That's why God sent His only Son to earth in the first place...because He loves us.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life..."
John 3:16

Ok, I get it.  I need to embrace the joy of Christmas again...stop avoiding it.   But I need God's strength and help.  I know He'll be there for me.  He always is.

Thank you for listening friends.  Just say a prayer for me.  Oh, and Merry Christmas from me to you! Not sure if the Christmas letter will get written or sent...but...well, you already know everything anyway, right?  Even some things I probably shouldn't be telling you. Now you know more of my "deep dark secrets".  Good night everyone. Thank you for letting me ramble on. God bless you and keep you all in His tenderest care.


  1. God bless you,Pamela, and Merry Christmas. I have finished my shopping, I enjoy everything about Christmas except the crowds! OH and gift wrapping! As a little girl I don't remember gifts under the tree, we just got our gifts on Christmas morning.

    1. Yes, wrapping is the other part of the shopping that I have a difficult time with. I usually do my wrapping all in one day, sometime prior to Dec. 24th. This problem is not just this year. It just seems to be much worse this year. I am still working of course, and then we have had my MIL here most weekends, and also it gets too dark in the evening to go out and drive home the 32 miles through the forest where there is nothing on the road except deer, bears, raccoons, etc., if I should break down. So All these things are working against me. But I will get it done one way or the other.
      Merry Christmas! If you'd like to come shop for me, you're hired! :)

  2. Merry Christmas to you too Pamela. I'm glad that you gave in and took your MIL for the tree gifts. At least seeing her clap as she goes by the tree is more uplifting than her worrying about the sad tree over and and over again, huh?
    Gift shopping makes me panic too. I insist on detailed gift lists and usually find something specifically asked for. We are not done at all, will go out for more on Tuesday next I think, then I got to plan our christmas meal....our Christmas will be on the 20th because Pete has to fly back home to CA on the 21st. My Dad will still be here with us until the 26th though, so trying to figure out how to entertain him will be interesting!
    You've had a bad year....time to celebrate that it is almost OVER!! In 2011 when my mom died and so many other bad things happened I was thrilled to see it end on New Years Day!! Ha! HERE'S TO A NEW YEAR AND ALL GOOD THINGS TO COME! Love you Dear Pamela.

    1. Yes, it did make her so happy, and I enjoyed doing that with her. However, she couldn't make it if we traveled the distance I need to go to do my "real" shopping, and I don't want to leave her home all day with my hubby after he's had her alone all week....so....somehow it will get done. It always does. But I wish Santa was really real and that I could just give him my list. LOL.
      I am so happy that your son and Dad are coming. You will enjoy them...and your Dad will enjoy seeing where you live and meeting his great-grandson for the first time. It will be a special time. Be sure to take LOTS of pictures of your time together. It will mean a lot to you in the years to come. Thank you for your words of understanding and comfort. This too shall pass and we will have Christmas. God is in control.

  3. I'm just seeing this tonight! Someday we'll just have go shopping together so we can panic together!! I was determined to send cards this year too--but so far, nothing! I've finally got my tree up, but no lights or decorations yet! I need more white lights first--I didn't like the led lights I bought last year so I took them all off! Who knows when I'll get time to get more--if I can find any now! Everything I say I will do next year, never seems to happen, so---boohoo!!! I guess I'll go to bed and think about it another day!! Now---don't you feel better? lol I love you, Sister!! We're two peas in a pod!!

    1. I just saw your comment tonight! We need to have "therapy" together! LOL. I guess this is genetic. I love you TOO, sister!!! From the other "pea" in the pod.


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