If you’ve read my book then you might remember the chapter on mine and Brent’s first married Christmas together. Lets just say it wasn’t exactly full of puffy hearts, awe, and wonder…

Have you ever rejected a gift or a kind word? When Brent and I celebrated our first Christmas together, we were struggling to make ends meet. Our money tree was not sprouting, though our efforts suggested it should be. We both worked hard at full-time jobs and rarely saw each other. We were just starting out and had very little. Needless to say, our first Christmas was financially tight.

Brent and I decided we would set a very small budget, $5.00 a piece, to buy a gift for one another. The next day, on our lunch breaks, Brent headed straight for the mall, and I headed to the Dollar Store! I was practical and bought him things he liked such as gum, Armor-All, a wrench, and a 10 pack of no. 2 pencils with the name “Brett” etched in gold on them (Brent is a very hard name to find).

I paid the damage, went home, wrapped it all up in one box, put a $5.00 bow on top (it’s all about the delivery, people), and called it a good venture. As I placed this remarkable gift under our Charlie Brown tree, my eyes immediately bolted to this object lying helplessly alone. My heart went out to it for it had clearly been attacked by a large dose of testosterone. Can we all agree that men do not possess the “wrapping” gene?

It didn’t take long to figure out from the outside exactly what it was. It was a Remington wet/dry razor. I’d wanted one forever! And there I sat in a glorious knick-free shaving dreamland until I was interrupted by reality, “I must return this gift!” He went way over our $5.00 budget! Like, 600% over our budget! So I hopped in my car, unwrapped the gift while I drove to…let me see…yes, the price tag is still on it…Sears. With much remorse, I returned the wet/dry razor, and then promptly headed straight to our bank to deposit the money back into our account. I thought I was being so wise and practical.

Brent thought otherwise. I think he was shocked, probably wondering what he had married. Who was this disturbed lady? I’m sure his feelings were hurt and looking back now, I regret that. However, he did learn that I am a low-maintenance kind of girl. Although I require little and I’m not expensive to keep, I do have my quirks. When it comes to buying me a gift, Brent cringes in anticipation of how his ungrateful wife might respond. Poor guy, I should let him do nice things for me. It blesses him when I allow him to.

“It is more joyful to give than to receive” Acts 20:35 (NLT). I need to learn how to accept things from Brent and receive his compliments without a negative retort about myself, or lecturing him on how we can’t afford it. It brings him pleasure to do nice things for me, and I shouldn’t rob him of the joy of giving.

In time, we got through that debacle. He did forgive me and accepted our small budget shopping challenge. I think I ended up with some kitchen towels that first Christmas. Now that’s practical! In fact, I think I still have them. [Taken from “And Now I Choose”]

I learned a huge lesson that Christmas – I am a bad receiver. I will look for any reason or excuse as to why I don’t need or deserve a well thought out gift from someone. I drive myself crazy over this. I drive others crazy!

I love to give gifts! Oh-my-stars-it’s-the-best! I love shopping for others. I talked to a friend today and learned she does not like shopping at all. Like, ever. I just sat and stared at her, contemplating if our friendship could even continue on.

I have friends who’ve no problem announcing their love of receiving gifts! They’re the easiest people to buy for, too!

So all this babbling is to get to these questions…

Are you a better giver or receiver? Be honest. No judgment here!

And what are you really hoping to get this Christmas?

[One last thing… if you’re looking for a last minute super-duper-fantastical gift to give you can always gift my book! Come on – I had to!] 

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