Stocking Traditions

It is Christmas Day, and my wife and I have just finished opening our stockings. We’ve use this method of gift exchanging for most of our relationship, and it’s something that I really cherish.

I’ve always found gifts problematic because it’s a very social activity. There are so many rules around it, and I’ve always had trouble knowing what sort of gift to give, how to figure out what someone might want, and how much to spend.

My family puts a lot of pressure on things like finding the perfect gift and spending enough on someone, which honestly makes the holiday season really stressful. My wife’s family is nothing like this, and it took a while to get used to. Even with their celebration was low-key, I still found it stressful. I’ve gotten more used to it, and I became more excited about celebrating with them, and my wife and I used their model for our own Christmas celebration, which I deeply enjoy.

On Christmas Eve, we exchange pajamas and books, and then in the morning, we eat cinnamon rolls and exchanges stockings.

The way we do stockings is that we agree on a set amount of money we each get to spend, depending on how the budget is looking. This is helpful because I don’t have to guess how much I should spend. One we’ve got an amount, we have the attitude of ‘go and use x dollars to fill my stocking with things you think I’ll love!’. There are items that make it into the stockings every year, like candy and chocolate, fun socks, and themed coffee mugs. The rest is a mystery until Christmas morning, and that’s what makes it fun!

I never thought that I’d be here telling you how much I love Christmas, but I’m so glad my tiny family has traditions that make me so happy!


6 Word Stories pt. 18

Well, at the beginning of the week I had zero upcoming surgeries, and now I have two. Both of them are good, one is the start of a therapy that should make a huge difference for my POTS, and the second should finally resolve the hip pain I’ve been having, but boy, after months of nothing happening, it’s all coming together! I also had a lovely birthday, and I think I’m handling being old (aka, 30, really well).

  • Doctors need to stop touching me
  • I guess being old isn’t awful
  • Other cane users smile at me
  • Everything I wrapped looks like potatoes
  • My health keeps me from life
  • Pet a puppy, best day ever!
  • Do your cats just…stare sometimes?

I hope everyone has a nice holiday, whatever it is that you do or don’t celebrate!

Theory of Gifts

As the Holiday Season rolls around, I thought I’d share a theory I have about the giving and receiving of gifts.

The day before I headed out to an Eating Disorder treatment program several states away, a good friend of mine came over the day goodbye. In addition to well wishes, he brought with him a sort of care package, containing a mixed CD, and a copy of his favorite book.

The concept of gifts has always been hard for me. In my family, there’s a lot of stress around gifts, and I’ve spent most of my existence despising both giving and receiving them. While getting gifts still makes me anxious, I’ve gotten better at giving them. Enjoying crafting has made me take joy in giving someone something that I’ve made just for them. But until recently, gift giving has largely been me having fun making something, and them enjoying it.

And don’t get me wrong, a lot of times that’s what gift giving is, and that’s great! But sometimes, gift giving is deeper and more connecting than that. It’s taking a little piece of yourself, things you love, things that help you, that’s that are important, and giving them to someone that you care about. Gifts like this are saying “I can’t be with you right now, but here’s a little piece of my soul for you to keep until I can.”

When it’s framed like this, it actually takes a lot of stress out of the whole gift-giving process. It doesn’t really matter if I like what someone gives me, because I like the fact that they wanted to give me something. And it applies in the other direction too, someone I’m close to will recognize the act of gifting as special, no matter what it is.