The gift hook, as in “get the hook” or what? I think I know what he meant, when he confided that he left me the holiday flowers and champagne at my door, that there was a hook for him. He said he felt anxiety last week about the whole gift and holiday business I guess. Well, hello, he’s not the only one, but hey men are not so insightful sometimes. He talked last night on the phone when I called to thank him, quite a bit about this “hook” he felt. He said he wanted to look at his attachments, that he’d entered into relationships before by positioning himself as being needed. He said he thought he wanted me to need him, so that was the hook to the gift.
My first clue that he was conflicted was the drop off on the front step, rather than a holiday hello that we had earlier discussed by phone. Now I admit to being every bit as standoffish, every bit as conflicted, although I handle it in a different way, Mars and Venus and all. I had gotten him a silly “stocking gift” - actually, I just got a whole lot of festive holiday type stuff at the bargain stores back at the first of December, and wrapped them up for various friends. Sort of a caffeine jag at the dollar store type of thing. I only got a few real gifts for anyone this year, and even those personal gifts were small and generally in the “joke gift” or “gift exchange” category. So yes, I am also adrift in the world of attachments. There are a couple of these “stocking gifts” which are now irrelevantly sitting out in the garage…holiday cheer the week after Christmas just doesn’t cut it. Note to self, don’t do that “stocking gift” dollar store blast again next year.
And remind me not to stock up on chotchkies for those freakin’ hand made greeting cards either. I’m retiring from the greeting card game. They are fun when they’re done, and people seem to enjoy receiving them, but they take way too much time. I have a whole box of bows, mini garland, special paper, gold tissue etc. that I didn’t use this year, due to the psycho meltdown of my housekeeper in mid-December, setting me into a dark non-festive mood. A girlfriend told me the story of losing her nanny the week of Thanksgiving, so I guess the holidays just amplify all the emotions that we all have shored up inside. Attachments, as my friend said, guilt, longing, nostalgia, you name it.
A final note on my gifting reflection is a fairly close girlfriend who sort of remembered my birthday, but not exactly. She got the day wrong, no card, and gave me a import store gift, which was identical to the gift she gave me last year! I do like it, and conceivably could use two. But the feeling of my birthday not really being noticed is what stung a bit. I’m not big on the inner child stuff but I do remember that from childhood, when my birthday was blurred into Christmas. I felt cheated. Of course I got her a chintzy joke Hanukkah gift, so I guess what goes around comes around. I did make her a nice birthday card, and a special little gift I knew she’d like. So maybe it doesn’t come around literally. A number of other friends forgot completely, but hey it’s not like I’m making a little spreadsheet or something, hmmm, maybe I should….
The non-event of Christmas is fading from memory, as the ham and spiced apples are eaten up. Ate the last slice of pumpkin chiffon bakery pie for lunch, and I don’t even like pie. Bought myself a few sparkly presents online, as “consolation prizes” I guess. The new year is ahead, and we’ll start anew giving to each other, sometimes giving generous gifts, sometimes not giving much at all, and sometimes giving a lot of misery. Giving and receiving seem inexplicably tied. We have a new year coming up, another chance to sort it out.