Did I Join an Ornament Exchange or a Popularity Contest?

I wanted to try something new this year, so I finally gave in to the urge to sign up for an ornament exchange program with fifty or so of the closest facebook friends I’ve never met.  We all came together through the mutual love of all things Disney and spend a lot of time online asking each other questions about how to survive large crowds at the theme parks and/or posting pictures of our fabulous vacations to others (knowing that we are probably sending some followers into fits of jealousy).  It’s all a lot of helpful fun and I love being a part of it, so it just made sense to sign myself up to exchange a special ornament to commemorate the past year.

The only real requirement was that we had to send an ornament that was somehow specific to the state we live in.  I figured that it wouldn’t be that damn hard to find something “Colorado-centric” and looked forward to the challenge.  Of course, I never can remain patient about things and decided I didn’t have time to make it to the mall to find the perfect gift.  I ended up at the craft and hobby store and decided to paint the ornaments (I couldn’t stop at just one) myself.  I spent hours using markers and paints decorating a birdhouse and a ceramic ornament and even put together my very first dreamcatcher.  I was pretty happy with what I had created and was pretty sad when I had to ship them off to my person—but knowing that I would be receiving something pretty awesome from someone else took the edge off of my dismay.

The hubby shipped the ornaments for me and I waited to see what would be arriving with my name on it.  My facebook friends started posting pictures of the wonderful ornaments they were getting from Tennessee and Florida and I searched hourly to see my person post about the ornaments they had received from Colorado.  One week after the package had been sent I broke down and checked the tracking number to see if my person had gotten their package.  Yep, it had been delivered two days previously.  Hmm, no mention on facebook.  I figured they were probably busy.  I could be patient a couple of more days—they’re probably just too busy shopping and doing holiday things.

Then I started to get ramped up because people in the ornament exchange were beginning to get a little perturbed when it became apparent that some people were sending more than one ornament (with candy and treats as well) to their people.  There began talk of others feeling cheap with what they had sent and deciding that another trip to the store was in order. (It actually reminded me of parents trying to one up each other with elaborate birthday parties).  More and more pictures began to get posted.  I looked to see when my person would mention the ornaments I got them and nothing ever happened.  One week stretched into two weeks and I started to actively dislike the person I sent my ornaments to.  Did they think they weren’t good enough?  Were they upset that I didn’t send any candy or other goodies?  What was the deal?  Why weren’t they sharing pictures of their gift with the rest of our group?

It didn’t take long for me to start getting angry at how this whole thing was turning out.  Rationally I knew that it wasn’t even December yet, but I wanted to have some kind of payoff for my efforts.  Merry Christmas, right?  I finally allowed myself to stop hating on the people that received my gifts and began to worry about when mine was going to come in the mail.  Every day became an exercise in disappointment when nothing showed up.  Maybe my name and address never got shared with anyone.  Maybe it got lost in the mail.  Maybe…

I never expected that my participation with this exchange would make me feel so disenchanted and I guess I put a little too many expectations into something I didn’t have much experience with.  I mean, I don’t even know these people, why did it matter so much how everything was turning out?  I admit that I spent more time thinking about it than I ever should have and I decided that it mattered so much to me because I need to know that people care.  Even people that I don’t even know.  I wanted acknowledgment for my work and a virtual pat on the back that everyone else could see.  I wanted to get something from someone that showed that they put in effort just for me and that no one else would have it.

It’s actually pretty funny writing this down right now because I realize how much I sound like a whiny baby.  Am I so hard up for someone to say something nice to me that I would sign up for an ornament exchange just so I would get SOME attention?  Apparently the answer to that question is yes (and it isn’t the first time I’ve needed attention).  And I’m sharing this silly fault with you—the other group of people I share my stories with in order to get attention—because I’m hoping that you will all fill the void that was created with this whole Christmas experiment.  I don’t think I like myself too well right now.  Sigh.

Well, this crap ends now.  I am thankful that I had a great time making the ornaments that I did and I am hopeful that my person likes them enough to put them onto their family tree.  I may never get to see what they do with them and that is okay.  That whole matter went out of my hands when I shipped them across the country.  I hope they live long and prosper.  I will probably get my ornament in the next few days and then I’ll feel dumb about putting this all out for the world to see, but it will all be good.  The holidays are here and I wish nothing but the best for everyone and everything.

© DRB 2015

Want to comment?

44 Comments

  1. Your birdhouse is ADORABLE. And this is why I don’t Secret Santa anymore, unless the group is FIRM on the upper price limit and I know them pretty well. Too many opportunities for disappointment….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am beginning to think I won’t do this again. I still haven’t heard anything from the person I sent an ornament to and I still haven’t received on. C’est la vie. Thanks for the bird house compliment, I really had a great time painting it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. BUT SEND THEM ONE FLAMING BAG OF POO AND THEY NEVER EVER FORGET.

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  2. Everybody feels this way at some point. Thanks for being honest about it!

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  3. I totally get wanting to be rewarded for your efforts, especially hand crafted efforts!

    I too have a… need for attention. It’s not something I had to face until I moved away from my friends for work! The things I felt seemed legitimate but when I’d think about what I was saying, I thought the same thing, “I sound like a child whining for sweets!”

    I don’t know how to fix the need to be noticed… If you do, give me a hint!

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    1. If I ever figure anything out, you’ll be the first I contact! It’s been a day and the status hasn’t changed, but I’m not feeling as bad about it. Probably because I wrote all of my frustration out to you guys.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Glad it helped! It’s probably my #2 reason for writing!

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  4. The birdhouse looks lovely. Was the person you sent the gift to supposed to send one to you? Maybe there’s no acknowledgement because they haven’t sent and they feel guilty? Either way I would feel sad too, you can see everyone on Facebook having fun, the fun you wanted to have and you’ve been left out. Like you say, writing it down gives perspective and you know it’s not the end of the world, but it still hurts. Hope you feel better about it soon☺️

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  5. Oh boy! And I just got sucked into the whole secret santa thing yesterday! And your reaction-that would be my reaction too! Urgh. The what if moments are going to ring in my head the whole week now! Happy holiday

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    1. I am hoping that your endeavors turn out differently than mine is. Have a great holiday!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope so too! Happy holidays.

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  6. I agree with the others who commented. I just need you to know I would have done the same as you as well! I sometimes obsess over FB “likes”. Embarrassing 😜. That’s not normal. Your expectations are normal considering the effort you made.

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    1. Oh, I have a thing about fb likes as well. It’s kind of amazing how we get worked up over things like this. Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I fret if I don’t get any blog post “likes” so I feel ya.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I really don’t think you are being out of line or whiney. Yoou sent a gift to someone you within a grop of people you don’t know. Common courtesy would and should prevail that they post a picture and say thank you. Or, private message you a thank you! Either way personnaly I don’t think I would be a part of the group anymore especially if I didn’t recieve an orniment. I would feel free to mention it in the group before I said byseeya!

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    1. It turns out that there are a lot of people that are beginning to express dismay in not hearing from the people who received their ornaments. I privately messaged my person and haven’t heard anything but others are expressing and asking their people on the group page. About five people commented on not hearing from the the people they sent their ornaments to and a couple of them have since had responses. Someone wrote to me yesterday that I should give the benefit of the doubt and I’m giving it the college try! Thanks for commenting.

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      1. I do hope you get a thank you. 🙂

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  8. Sounds like me with Pollyanna’s and secret santas. I refuse to participate anymore because every year I would get someone who wanted gifts out of our mandated price range and/or I would never get one because the person quit the company 2 days before. I don’t think you sound like a whiney baby, if you do, then I am one too. Merry Christmas!

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  9. Hopefully you’ll receive an ornament in the mail soon. The little birdhouse is so cute, I know I’d be thrilled to receive such a one of a kind gift. Much better than mass produced…a unique piece of art from a real person! 🙂

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    1. Thank you! I am going to try not to pounce on the mailman any time soon, but I still can’t wait to see what comes. Have a great holiday!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, and wishing you and yours a very beautiful Christmas season 🙂

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  10. So sorry for your disappointment. It truly would be, and is a shame that things turned out the way they did. Your birdhouse ornament turned out very pretty. Remember that there are more important things to worry about. The world has gone crazy and God still loves us all. I hope I am not sounding uncaring. I would be very disappointed as well. And very angry. I would have to be asking God for forgiveness. It is not worth the effort to be angry at someone you don’t know. I do hope that your ornament will come soon. Have a great week. 🙂

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    1. Thank you. I am feeling much better today and I am just trying to go with the flow. I hope that I get a response, but it
      won’t be the end of the world if i don’t. And you’re right–there are so many more things to be focusing on! Thank you for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m just saying, I would LOVE to have a handprinted ornament from Colorado on my tree! I can only imagine how it feels to have expected to be able to connect with someone on a personal level, only to feel snubbed in the end.

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  12. Reblogged this on HarsH ReaLiTy and commented:
    Honestly I don’t think you are out of line and I would be pissed off as well. It isn’t about the objects or their value… it is simple common courtesy that so many people fail to recognize these days. Yes I would be pretty mad and I think you have every right to be put off! The ornament looked great though! -OM
    Note: Comments disabled here, please visit their blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for everything Jason.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No worries! I hope you have a good weekend!

        Like

  13. I just went through the the same experience in a FB group…we were to send a small love package to a soul sister….i sent mine out, the recipient never posted a picture of what I sent her, though she did message me a thank you. I patiently waited for mine, it never came. She messaged me an apology, it’ll be mailed out next week,,,,,that was over a month ago. I felt silly for being so upset…..I won’t do it again.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I totally understand where you are coming from. Unfortunately, not everyone acknowledges other s effort. The ornament in the picture is beautiful. So even though the recipient didn’t say thank you…I do. You did a great job.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is why I DON’T do these exchanges. I have seen so many friends and theirs get upset because one would want to believe others have the same expectations and beliefs going into such an idea. And, like you, I know the crafty bug would hit, time and patience would be taken to create something unique that one would be proud of, and then left wondering what the other person felt. It’s discouraging when you cannot even get a simple “Hello… Thank You…” – common courtesy.
    The joy you placed in your ornament is clearly seen.
    *virtually pats back* 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would love to think I would want to join an activity like this again, but probably not next year. I need to just find the happy in making the ornaments for someone. Thank you for the back pat!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anytime!
        Always appreciate a fellow craftee’s work. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I LOVE this post. And I think the little birdhouse ornament in the photo looks FABULOUS! I fell the same way. Sometimes I get so caught up in doing something and I think it’s SO great, but yes, I do just want somebody else to acknowledge it. (It sounds like this group went pretty overboard in trying to one-up each other.) But when I try to remember and remind myself that I’m an adult, I tell myself the point was doing a good (great!) job, and knowing it. I shouldn’t need all that praise from others. (But hey, we’re human, right?!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for understanding me completely! And thank you for the compliment on my ornament. I had a great time painting it.

      Like

  17. I am a sucker for giving folks the benefit of the doubt, life happens, delivery trucks are late, or rolled over on highways, people get sick, but that is just me……..i don’t participate so I don’t get let down, or just join in where I won’t care if i get ‘forgotten’……TOOK LONG time to get this way but life is kinds of short. Happy day to you, sorry i dont’ make ornaments 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally have to start doing the same thing. I want to give people the benefit of the doubt. I don’t know them so I don’t know their situation and I need to stop projecting. I did have a really great time making them so I am going to stick with that feeling! Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem. I sort of felt like my two cents worth chime in…..I have had to learn hard way so try to encourage others.

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  18. I understand how you feel and must admit, I would feel the same. An acknowledgement that the ornaments were received is the appropriate thing to do. The ornament shown is adorable. I would have been more than happy to receive something that cute. It’s too bad the program turned into a childish game where my ornament is bigger and better than yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I think I would have felt the same as you. But I would actually be worried that the people I sent the package to never got in touch with me, even privately. Did you send them a PM just to check with them? Something like “Hey I saw that the package was delivered, I hope everything reached you in good order and that nothing broke on the way”. (Even if you didn’t send anything breakable). You never know, maybe their teenage daughter got the pakage and kept it for herself, maybe they’re going through a hard time at home and didn’t have the time/energy to acknowledge that they got it… Hopefully your package will come in soon. Was there a deadline to send it?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey there! I did PM them and I haven’t heard anything back. I choose to believe that life is busy and they just haven’t had time to get back to me. As far as a deadline for sending a gift I’m not really sure. I believe we were trying to get them all sent by the week of Thanksgiving. So there’s a good chance I’m just bellyaching about a lot of nothing! Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😦 Hopefully you’ll get news both from the family to whom you sent your ornaments and from the one who is supposed to send you some!
        You can anyway pat yourself on the back because you’ve delivered. Too bad for others, they will feel bad because they haven’t acknowledged your gift/because they haven’t sent theirs.

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  20. My dear, if the truth be told, most people would feel the same because the least one can expect after sending off stuff to others is an acknowledgement. That is simple courtesy and it is not rocket science. I would equally feel bad if I expended my energy doing something and the recipient does not bother to even say thank you. It is not the price of the gift that counts, but the thoughts behind it and the gift of someones time (in this case, yours) is very valuable. Sometimes, we humans simply fail in the simplest things of life. A fun idea would be turned into a pissing contest of who can give the most expensive and biggest gift.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was really surprised to see it turn out this way. I don’t think I’ll do it again. I hope they liked them anyway!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wouldn’t bother too if it were me. I hope so as well, though it is rude of them not to bother acknowledging receipt.

        Like

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