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“A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.”  Seneca

The holiday season gets me very anxious.  My source of anxiety is gift giving and tipping.  I think I have mentioned here before that I hate shopping.  I will do some online but I rather just put cash in an envelope.

But, how much?  For the personnel at my apartment building(8 people) and my office building (9 people) I have an excel spreadsheet that I keep track of how much I have given in the past.  I just update it.  Some people are gone, some new people have been hired.  Still, I obsess over it.

Do I give the same amount?  Do I adjust for inflation? Or do I adjust by how much they have helped me throughout the year?  If that is the case then I would give nothing to some.  In the end everyone gets at least what they got last year.  I have the feeling that I overtip, but I guess that is better than undertip.

What do I do about some people, such as my friends, that I cannot just put cash in an envelope?  My second go-to gift is a gift card.  But to where?  Starbucks?  Amazon? Or is that just lame?

I am one of those people that have good intentions.  Every year I plan on paying attention to people, to their conversation, likes and dislikes, so that on their birthday and at Christmas I will know what to give.  Big failure, I never put those plans in motion.  Pay attention to conversation?  That is so foreign to me.  I am too busy talking or thinking of what to say next.

“Thanks to my mother, not a single cardboard box has found its way back into society. We receive gifts in boxes from stores that went out of business twenty years ago.”  Erma Bombeck

Tonight is my last night at the mosaic studio before Christmas, and I still don’t have a gift for the owner/teacher.  She is such an amazing person.  She is so thoughtful and giving. Throughout the year she has given me little things here and there just because.  She already gave me a couple of things for Christmas.  I need to find the perfect gift for her, not only because of those gifts but because of the joy she gives me by having the mosaic studio. Her guidance and joy is priceless.

The clock is ticking… I can probably buy myself some time and announce that I have something coming, but its arrival is late.  Yes, I am considering lying and blaming the mailman.  I will probably just come clean and tell the truth: I don’t know what to give, so I freeze.

I am always hoping that people don’t give me anything, because the pressure to retribute is immense.  The more thoughtful their gift is, the more anxious I get.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love to give.  The moment I know someone needs something I am the first one to give/donate.  I struggle with coming up with ideas for people that have everything.  My problem is feeling the pressure to find the perfect gift.

For some new acquaintances I like to give a bag with 3 of my favorite books: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, and The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.  I also bring soaps and lotions with natural ingredients from Brazil as gifts.  Perhaps there is a bit of thoughtfulness in me after all.

Happy gift giving and receiving to you all! I have some more obsessing to do.

“Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!”  Neil Gaiman