Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Never thought of that

As soon as the Halloween candy went on the sale rack, the fake trees, ornaments and wreaths popped up at every store in the universe. Only 35 days until Christmas says the countdown clock. While I loathe the ugly stepchild treatment that Thanksgiving seems to get, I find myself thinking about Christmas-present buying as soon as the calendar flips to November 1.

Sometimes it’s difficult to buy for my nieces and nephews who live so far away; I hate that I don’t really know what they’d love. I rely on their mothers for hints and suggestions (time to get those ideas emailed my way, Heather and Jill!). And I get worked up about finding just the right gift for Sean’s parents and mine. It’s hard to buy for people who never ask for anything and who seem to genuinely have everything they need. Their wants are hard to pry out of them.

As a result, by the time December 25 rolls around, I’ve generally over-thought each gift I’ve bought and have convinced myself the 47 other ideas I had were better. Not exactly the best way to spend the season celebrating Jesus’ birth…

But last week, I had a conversation that has transformed how I’m going to approach the upcoming Christmas shopping season. My friend Carole and I were talking about how quickly the holidays are approaching, and I mentioned how much trouble I sometimes have with shopping/gift-buying decisions. Carole said, “Oh, I never enter a store without praying first.”

What? This has never crossed my mind. Ever.

She went on to say she’s a terrible gift-giver and knows she needs help and guidance before making any purchase, so she always asks for the Lord’s help when buying gifts.

I pray about my kids and husband and extended family. I pray for healing for loved ones who are ill. I pray for my friends and about college decisions and for spouses for my kids. I pray for a hundred other things during the day, but I have never even considered praying before shopping for gifts.

After mulling her words, I realized my friend had the right idea. I pray about stuff I don’t know how to handle all the time. Why would this be any different?

I still want lists from my nieces and nephews, and a hint or two from the parental units would be welcomed, but I think I’m going to adopt Carole’s approach to gift buying this season. I usually dread shopping, but after taking this to heart, I’m actually looking forward to the next five weeks of the crazy Christmas shopping season. Because it's not seeming so crazy now.