The stress of holiday gifting

Published: December 23, 2013, 2:52 pm, by Jen Mulson

grinchI am admittedly a bit Grinchy during the holidays.

It’s a lot of things: The pressure of buying gifts, the forced merriment, the drinking, the sugar overload, the increase in socializing. And then to top it all off, I’m supposed to say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas back to people when I don’t feel very merry at all. It makes me feel like a lying liar.

So it was reaffirming to read a blog by Krista Tippett, the host of “On Being,” one of my favorite NPR programs, voicing a similar sentiment.


Read it here:

A handful of years ago, I tried to make my holiday season less gift-y. Anything to lighten the stress load. I told my family and then boyfriend to please not buy me anything. I certainly didn’t need anything, nor did I want more stuff filling up my space. Plus, I figured they would appreciate not having to go shopping for me.

Well, this went over like a ton of bricks. They railed against it. My brother asked my mom what was wrong with me.

However, it did make the month of December feel better for me. So much less pressure to find the perfect gift. Plus, no parking lots and an easy, peaceful January when the credit card bill came due.

But this year and last year, I’ve caved. I bought presents. It might have had something to do with my 2-year old niece and 3-year old nephew. Gifts for kids are incredibly easy – everything is brand new to them! And they love whatever it is, as long as it’s brightly colored and makes cool noises. 

But then I felt like I had to get adults gifts, too. I’m not sure why. And while I certainly enjoy giving gifts, I do feel a little cranky at letting myself bow to the pressure of Dec. 25. But what can I say? I’m Grinch Mulson, nice to meet ya. At least I’m in good company.