My Christmas Gift is a Grateful Heart

posted in: Wholehearted Living | 8
This year, my Christmas gift to my loved ones will be my grateful heart. Allow me to explain.
I love surprises—as long as they are happy ones. Sadly, I am rarely surprised.
The last time I was left gobsmacked was last Christmas when my best friend and her family showed up on my doorsteps—unannounced. My husband was the only one in the Know. This was a secret he managed to keep the entire time.
I was rendered speechless upon their arrival in my home. My bestie’s visit was a fantastic surprise.

My Love of Wonder

My love of surprises is birthed from my fondness for wonder. Wonder means “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.” Wonder is such delicious childlike awe. Inside of me, there is still a little girl who loves to be awed.

Christmas Gift Giving Rules

My obsession with the element of surprise means we DO NOT open gifts on Christmas Eve—ever. Opening presents on Christmas Eve has only occurred twice in my entire lifetime and both events hold negative memories.
Once was as a child, my mother gave me a gift early. I cried. The other incident was in college as an international student. I spend the holidays with a family that chose to open  ALL their gifts on Christmas Eve. My worst Christmas ever.
For Christmas and birthdays, I will either demand of my loved ones either an extensive list of items they might want or just buy something I think they want. I also keep a running list throughout the year of gift ideas.
This proclivity means that if you ever go anywhere with me and exclaim you like something, that something may make it on my list as an idea.
For me, gift giving is serious business.
Incidentally, I am a bit mystified about my enthrallment with giving gifts combined with my lack of enthusiasm at receiving gifts.
Meanwhile, I love giving—I find the whole experience thrilling. I, however, do not necessarily enjoy receiving them. Despite my giving high, receiving gifts garnered zero points when I took the love language test.*
*You may find the love language test here.

Wonder Rules

My surprise infatuation extends beyond Christmas.
I love planning surprises such as meeting my hubby unannounced for breakfast, baby showers, etc. I find surprise planning a great thrill. I love mystery.
Furthermore, I never discovered the gender of any of my babies before birth. The idea was utterly unthinkable for me. The thrill of discovery after their arrival earthside was beyond words. As a matter of fact, I am always a tad disappointed when my family and friends find out the gender of their babies ahead of time. For me, it is just not the same. I am well aware I am in the minority on this one, and I am perfectly okay with being different.
My Christmas Gift is a Grateful Heart

My Hubby Christmas Gift Shopping

My husband—knowing his wife well, as well as wanting to please me—really tries hard to surprise me. He rarely pulls it off. There are various reasons for this:
  • I am our family’s accountant: I make the budget and balance the checkbook.
  • We share the same online accounts, for example, Amazon.
  • Most of the confirmation links come to my email.
  • I receive the package, and the name of the place he ordered from is boldly listed on the box.

Sneaky Rules

Over the years, we have tried to implement new ways to shop:
  • I transfer money to my daughter’s account, and he can use her debit card to buy online.
  • He has my packages sent to our daughter-in-law’s address.
  • He pays cash when shopping locally.

To No Avail

So far, the “sneaky” rules have not been overwhelmingly efficient.

For instance, by mistake, he gave me a receipt I was not supposed to see. Or, a package intended for me was delivered to our home. Or, yet again, even though, he went into my email account to delete the confirmation notice, he forgot one.

Typically, I would be pretty bummed.

I get more of a thrill in the surprise than the actual gift.

Not this year!

I have new rules this year.

My Christmas Gift 2017 Rules

Yes, I like surprises. So what?

My hubby works hard shopping for me. He puts forth time, reflection and heart to please me. This year, I will be delighted with everything, even the gifts I already know I’m getting. I don’t even intend to tell him I know.

I won’t lie if asked a direct question. However, if my love doesn’t ask, he does not need to know his sneaking around was not always successful.

On Christmas morning, I intend to smile and bellow with glee at everything I receive. Everything.

This year my focus is the people around me and the joy I can bring to them. I will spotlight my loved ones, and I will enjoy their surprised expressions. I think I might even wait to open my gifts until they are all done opening theirs. I don’t want to miss any of THEIR awe.

My surprise this year will be their faces, their shining eyes, their smiles, their hugs, their laughter—every bit of their effervescent joy.

As I write this, with Christmas still two weeks away, I am smiling.

This year may bring my best most wonder-filled Christmas yet!

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