Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Non-optional social conventions

If the last few weeks have taught me anything, it is that I find I am kind of uncomfortable when people I don't know very well give me things.  Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful, just a bit uncomfortable.

Last week a couple of the ladies I work with at church threw me a baby shower and invited, well,  all the ladies at church. It was a really nice affair with fancy snacks and decorations and a flower bedecked "throne" and everything.  There were some people I knew rather well, and a few I have only ever passed in the hall and don't even know their names.  It was nice to talk to people and I got some very awesome things for the little bug.  At the end I was presented with a lovely list off who gave me what, and I realized I was stuck. Suddenly I am obligated to write thank you notes, and go to their showers (at least 3 of the guests are expecting soon themselves), and generally participate in the usual social customs that I have so scrupulously avoided for the last 6 years.   Or I could move.  I might do that instead.  But I will probably look up addresses and buy cards.  Although I still think a vocal thank you should be enough.

I hate the idea of giving gifts for the sake of doing what is expected. I always worry that I will get them something that they already have, or will hate, or will just take up room in a box or closet somewhere for the next 10 years. Babies are one of the exceptions, since it is really easy to know what a baby needs. But generally, gifts given just because the day demands it don't actually mean much too anyone.  I don't get people gifts for birthdays or Christmas unless at some point in the year I see something an think "Oh wow,  what'sherface will love this!" Then when you get something from me, its because I thought of you, and not because Santa Clause demands a yearly sacrifice.  Luckily for me, my friends and family seem to be of a similar mind, because I don't seem to have made them mad at me with this system.

So this is me, sucked into a convention I will probably never be free of.  And this is why none of you will ever get a Christmas card from me.  It's not a snub if no one gets one!

(Also, Go me!  That whole thing was typed one handed so as not to disrupt a snoring child)

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