Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Epiphany

I was reading eternal lizdoms blog today about Christmas gifts. During middle of my comment I had a TOTAL epiphany. I wrote about how lucky I was having had a pretty stable happy childhood with my fair share of magical Christmases. My comment was about that and also how amazingly welcoming James’s family is and how I ended up crying on my first Christmas with them because I was totally overwhelmed by their gifts.
The best thing about Christmas personally is the OMFG gobsmacked look on someone else's face when you give the perfect present. It dawned on me that James doesn’t really get overwhelmed at all…
Each year I try and try to get a reaction from James via the GREATEST gift, but have to admit defeat. I get him the BESTIST prezzies but being he an Aspie, I guess, never gets that GIANT rush of joy that other people do.
At first I thought it was tragic that James doesn’t get that wicked rush of joy when opening presents. I would get disappointed I didn’t get a "OMG OMG OMG!!! that's just what I wanted YOU ROCK!!!!" from him. Every time he opened something that I had been dying to give him I’d expect a reaction. When I didn’t get it I felt a little bit of a failure. Now KNOWING that my gifts do make him happy and he genuinely likes the gifts I’ve been able to shift focus on the whole gift giving experience.
I won't be breaking my neck trying to achieve the impossible “magic reaction” This year, for example, I was tempted to get the entire back catalogue of Penny Arcade comics. YES that would have been WICKED cool, but we have had MASSIVE expenses this year we are trying to not go super-crazy with the gift giving. Instead I’m making him something (Hope he loves it) It would have devastated me watching him open the comics and then quietly sit and read them without probably looking up. He’d be WAY too interested in wanting to read them.
James and I had an email conversation about it this morning and he’s confirmed it. He agrees that when he gets a gift he's all: “Yeah that's cool. Just what I wanted. Thanks.” And I think he’s so interested in looking at the gift (reading manuals and trying to absorb the gift) that I guess he gets so engrossed and focused to get the simultaneous joy a gift gives. Don’t get me wrong, he's genuinely happy to get the gift but he’s hardly never pants-shittlingly overwhelmed.
It reminded me of something his Mum was saying about when James was little, they had to FORCE him to open presents at Christmas and on birthdays because once he had one toy he was happy to play with it.
Initially when I talked to him about it, James actually apologised to me. I had to assure him that I’d never wish for him to be different. I couldn’t imagine him being as emotional as me (I’m quite the opposite: HUGELY empathic, excitable and passionate) I think he’d probably be a sulky temperamental sod and I totally couldn’t put up with that!


Penny said...

That's really interesting Em, thanks for sharing that perspective.

I've never yet managed to get the wow kind of reaction from Rod - he's too deadpan, and plus the stuff that would really make him explode is too expensive to give as a surprise present. :-)

But I lurve doing it to Tim (and hopefully soon to Lydia). He's so easy to delight.

yodaobi said...

Maybe that's one of the REAL reasons we have kids
To share their delight...

aussiehen said...

I can totally see this, Luke's the opposite though fairly easy to get a "Wow" from although I admit there have been times I've failed.
The great ipod incident of 2006 comes to mind.

In return he's is fairly crap at getting me presents. Our first Christmas together I got him tickets to David Bowie and the flight to Wellington. I hid them inside a beach towel and the disappointed "oh thanks" followed by the !!!!!!!! when he unfolded it and the tickets dropped out was outstanding. He got me an ugly large cheap elephant statue.

He has had some amazing moments though, the very very expensive and beautiful Georgian garnet necklace was a huge surprise but did blow out our budget.
Just the experience of living with ADHD though I guess

yodaobi said...

I remember the ipod disapointment; your planning, your anticipation...

DUDE!!! You totally have the wow factor. I can't even think about the phonecall I got for my 32nd birthday from you guys without going misty eyed!

Love you