March 14, 2013 by kitcac
I wrote this just before Christmas. I didn’t post it at the time because norovirus came along and distracted me – literally as I was typing this post, the vomit began, I could hear the barfing happening upstairs, oh it was everywhere!
I can’t believe that I am committing this to writing. I like Christmas, really, I do. But I hate giving gifts. It makes people rude beyond belief.
Bear with me here, I am not as evil as I sound.
I like thinking about what people will like and I like doing all the Christmas shopping and I like wrapping the presents up, trying to make them look pretty but usually failing miserably and they look like a cat wrapped it whilst being attacked by a bear and I end up with sellotape in my hair, or stuck to my lip. That hurts a lot. Just like some of the reactions to the gifts. It hurts.
That is why the bit I don’t like about giving gifts is being present when they open the present.
It fills me with panic. I have been thinking about it today and my chest is a bit tight. I might need my inhaler. It really stresses me out. Its Christmas in three days.
Deep breaths, deep breaths.
I panic because I just don’t want the gift recipient to open it and think “its shit”. I can’t cope with the reaction to the gift. Even if they look pleased with it, I still think “they are smiling but they think its shit”.
I have had a bit of time on my hands lately and I have been doing a lot of over-thinking, in fact I have done loads and loads of over-thinking about why I panic like this. I have finally figured it out.
My fear of gift-giving stems from when someone opened a present and then told me straight to my face “its shit”.
It didn’t take a genius to figure that deeply rooted psychological fear of someone saying “its shit” was based on someone saying “its shit”.
The gift in question was what I would have considered a fabulous gift if I had received it. It was a hamper of different items, all based on a central theme and coloured co-ordinated, even down to the box I presented them in. I had spent a not insignificant amount on it, especially as we were on a very tight budget at the time (if you look around the House of Hooks, you’ll understand that we actually still are)!
The recipient looked at the gift, appeared to have a positive reaction to it and so I automatically asked the (supposedly rhetorical) question “oh, do you like it?”
I wanted to die. I still do when I think of that moment and how horrified I was that I had got it so badly wrong. Or had I got it wrong? Was this just an example of terribly bad manners? I hope so, but the damage had been done. I wanted to cry and still doing thinking about how god-awful I felt at that moment in time. I wished that the earth would open up and swallow me, but I did a fixed grin that probably made me look bonkers. But I wanted to flounce out, there and then.
Admittedly, when I was younger I know I had similar reactions to gifts that weren’t what I expected and I am mortified to this day at how rude I was. I can’t excuse my younger self’s lack of manners, but this particular recipient was a fully grown adult human being who told me that my thoughtful gift was “shit”.
Since then, I have found it extremely difficult to be in the same room when gift-opening is going on.
Depending on where I am, I will go to the loo or the bar or I make an excuse to look for something hidden in the deepest corner of my handbag which will kill some gift-opening time. I don’t want to see the recipient’s initial reaction to the gift. I can cope if they have already opened it and thank me afterwards, but to watch them open the gift is terrifying to me.
I keep thinking “I bought a shit gift”.
I looked into whether there is a name for it and the closest I found was “doronophobia” which is the fear of receiving gifts. Doronophobes fear the donor’s gaze and are fearful of opening the gift as they feel that they have to perform a reaction for the donor.
But that’s not what I have. I suppose that I have the opposite fear. I can’t cope with the reaction. I wish I didn’t have to do the whole gift thing. But that just seems mean of me. There is a valid reason, but it doesn’t have a label, its just gift-induced panic.
So in summary, I have a fear that doesn’t even have a name. That’s how weird I am.
And it will be gift-giving overload time in three days. And then there’s Boxing Day.
It really is the most wonderful time of the year.
As it turned out, JWop was really badly affected by the noro and so we didn’t leave the house for the whole Twelve Days of Christmas to contain all the poo and sick… Norovirus: the gift that keeps on giving.