My mother's birthday used to be fairly simple. Since she's born so close to Christmas, we would roll it all into one day. That changed about nine years ago when some of my friends began coming to the house to drop off presents for my mother as a way to show their gratitude toward her. When we noticed this was becoming a pattern, we started creating a holiday party every year the weekend before Christmas. My friends come over, we eat, we chat, we sing, I make them do a ridiculous scavenger hunt that involves a Christmas Village, and then we exchange gifts. The more people express wanting to come, the harder buying gifts for everyone becomes so we've started to do a secret Santa. I think the secret Santa is a wonderful idea! It's fun, it keeps people from feeling obligated to buy multiple gifts for people, and it can motivate people to get creative with their gifts. A majority of my friends aren't too difficult to shop for and that makes it a bit easier for everyone.
Except for me.
I always get the one person in our group that is a complete enigma.
Every. Single. Year.
It never fails! It doesn't matter how many names are put in the hat or what number I pull, I always get this one person. This year we used a secret Santa computer generator and when I opened my email, I still saw this person's name staring at me. This person is lovely and I love them dearly, but shopping for this person always makes me nervous. What if they don't like it? What if this is the wrong color? What if they hate it? This thinking results in me going into a spiral and spending days upon days upon days contemplating whether or not I'm going to find the perfect present. I've chosen to call this my secret Santa curse, this is one of the small ways the universe chooses to balance my life. Everything has been going smoothly and according to plan, so naturally, I had to yet again have the one person that's the most intimidating to shop for. Fortunately, I've managed to discover a gift that I believe is going to be pretty, unique, and still true to this person's interest. This experience has taught me that the best way to handle gift-giving is to start absorbing the smallest bits of information about the person you're giving a gift to. I like to think I listen well, but this has taught me I listen when I deem it seriously important and I need to listen better at all times. We should pay attention to the people we care about, not only when they're in distress, but daily. So, next year, when I inevitably get this friend during secret Santa, I will hopefully have listened better through the year and be able to know exactly what gift to give.