Personal Growth
Comments 4

The Anxiety Found in Gift-Giving

Giving gifts can create anxiety or anxious feelings with people we love

I’ve never liked opening presents. Well, maybe as a child before I’d developed awareness of other people watching for my reaction and the sight of a wrapped present with my name on it gave me the equivalent of a sugar high. But now I can’t stand it.

Trying to find presents for other people stresses me out.

Giving the gift stresses me out.

Getting gifts stresses me out.

I worry about every step of the process, which totally contradicts the point of it all.

But I worry the person won’t like what I got them, that they’ll pretend they love it but already own it, that it won’t fit, that it’ll reflect how little I actually know them. I worry that when I open a present that my reaction won’t seem genuine, that I’ll seem ungrateful. that it won’t fit right, that I won’t actually like it etc etc.

If you’re a naturally anxious person and are struggling with gift-giving this holiday season, just remember this: it’s the thought that counts. It’s such a friggin’ cliche to say that, but it’s true. Don’t kill yourself with anxiety over finding the “perfect” gift for someone. Just do your best, wrap it, and let it go. If you have second thoughts, just remind yourself you’ll have another gift-giving occasion down the road to do better.

If your anxiety is really out of control just be frank with the person. Tell them you’d really appreciate it if they helped you out and told you what they wanted. Or you can go the route I did when I once told (aka yelled at) my mother “You’re impossible to buy gifts for!”  I promise it was yelled in the most loving of tones.


  1. seasiderosie says

    LOL sorry for sending you a gift! :P But I guess it doesn’t count, because I won’t be there to stare at you. 0_0

    But seriously, I, too, always stress myself out about this crap. Every year is like that episode of Friends, where Joey and Chandler get stranded before they can go Christmas shopping, and so they give everyone toilet seat covers, sticks of gum, and (two!!!) cans of soda, and Ross is all, “Oh gee, now I wish I’d bought you TWO sweaters.” :P Every year I ask my dad what he wants, and every year he says, “Nothing.” Every year, he takes all of his presents and puts them on his trunk. He does not ever take them out of the gift bag. Eventually, he has to move them to his closet. SIGH! I try. Trying and failing is better than those years when I didn’t try at all, because he DOES care. I got him socks this year. He HAS to wear them, he needs them, so I win!

  2. Leyna says

    Oh man, I am fully on board with this situation. Also, anxiety about giving someone a gift that they will open in front of other people. Finding Xmas gifts for Scott really stresses me out b/c not only do I worry about him not liking them, I worry about what his family will think since we’re with them all. Plus, his bday is 3 days before Xmas, so that’s also a public event.

    Also, your facebook status just reminded me of this blog’s existence so now I’m catching up on all the posts I’ve missed. Love you!

    • If all gift-giving could be a secret affair (aka I could open all presents by myself preferably under the bed) I would appreciate a lot more. Thanks for reading, boo. I appreciate it! I love you and miss your face.

  3. Pingback: Why sharing content is like giving a gift | People like to share

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