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