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The Anti-Giftee Gets Gifty

I don’t know how it started, but for much of my adult life I have been an anti-giftee. I don’t like getting gifts. Not for Christmas. Not for birthdays. Not even for new babies. Maybe it’s the money thing. Maybe it’s a self-esteem thing. (Do I really deserve something so extravagant?) No matter, I am a person who does not like getting gifts. At least I was. Or maybe I still am. I don’t know.

It started last month when my friend turned 40. I went out and carefully picked a gift I knew she would love. (Weirdly, I have no problem buying gifts.) I got her two Pandora charms including a friends one. You know, the kind that has two parts? I figured she could keep on half and give the other to her mom or her little girl, both of whom she counts as best friends. Yes, she is one of my best friends, but I really thought she would share it with someone in her family. Instead, when she opened it she immediately said she was giving it to me. I was honored and excited. Soon after I got an invitation to her surprise birthday party, so I went out to buy a third charm for her to replace the half she was giving me. (I have a figure in mind when I buy gifts, and by giving me half, her gift didn’t hit that figure anymore.)

Okay, so here’s where it gets interesting. I have a Pandora bracelet, but it’s not real. I got it at one of those fake Pandora parties. Still, I didn’t care. Pandora is Pandora, right? Uh, not exactly. At my friend’s 40th surprise party as she was kissing everyone hello she stopped, sat down, and gave me my half a charm. I was really excited. I had a real Pandora charm, and one that signified a wonderful friendship. And yet as I sat there in the middle of her birthday bash trying to put my new charm on I encountered a problem: The fake Pandora bracelet does not accommodate real Pandora charms. Drat. At that moment I decided that, despite seven years of no Christmas gifts being exchanged between myself and my husband, I wanted a real Pandora bracelet. So I planted the seed, telling my husband that although we really don’t exchange, he could — if he wanted to — get me one thing. He could get me a blank silver Pandora bracelet. If he wanted to.

He took the hint and bought me what I wanted. I got it on Christmas morning, and had so much fun putting all my fake Pandora charms and my one real charm on it. It is beautiful.

On Christmas night I was lying next to Big Girl after tucking her in. She asked me about my birthday, which is approaching next month. And then it hit me. A strange feeling. A feeling that begged for another gift. And so I told her: “You can ask Daddy to get me a Pandora charm. You pick it out. And if Grandma asks, tell her to get me one, too.”

I’m still not one for big gifts. I don’t want diamonds or expensive stuff. I still get crazy when I take in more stuff than I’ve discarded. (I have to do a huge sort and purge after this Christmas, for example.) But I’m starting to see how nice it would be to get a pretty pair of black boots or one or two Pandora charms. Yes, I firmly believe it’s better to give than to receive, but receiving — every once in a while — is sort of nice, too.

What’s your favorite gift of the season? Do you exchange with your significant other? I’d like to know.

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