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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I am not a control freak, except when I am.

Control Freak

I like to think of myself as a pretty laid back, go with the flow type gal. I don't have rigid routines. I am perfectly happy to change plans at the last minute to accommodate someone else. But there is something about Christmas that brings out the control freak in me.

By the first of November, I have my spreadsheet going of who we need to buy for, how much we plan to spend and what we're going to buy. Now, if I had a husband who couldn't give two whips about Christmas, this would be an ideal arrangement. But Mike is quite adamant about getting to be part of choosing the gifts, at least for our three kids.

So, for the past several years I have generously assigned him one gift to purchase for each child. Let me tell you, handing over that responsibility is hard.

What if he doesn't pick the right thing? (Never mind that his selections are often the favorites. I think it has something to do with the fact he is a big kid himself.)

What if he spends too much?

What if he doesn't get a gift that goes with that child's "theme?" -- I try to give gifts along a theme each year. Last year was Robbie's pirate theme. All of his gifts -- except the one Mike picked out -- coordinated with that theme. If that seems weird to you, blame my Aunt Connie. That's where I got the idea.

What makes me even crazier is that Mike is very tight-lipped about his choices. I think he does that because he knows it makes me nuts to not have a clue about what might end up under the tree. I don't dare make suggestions because that's a surefire way to get him to steer in the opposite direction.

My sphere of gift influence is, however, usually extended to Mike's mom and dad and his grandmother. I make suggestions of what I think the kids would like or need. They agree, ask me to pick up the gifts and send me a check to cover the cost. It's been a very coordinated, controlled gift giving dance.

Until this year when Mike's dad has gotten more involved in the gift giving. I sent the list of ideas for the kids and expected to hear, "Great! Go get it and we'll give you the money when we see you at Thanksgiving." Except that's not what I heard. What I heard was "Ok. We'll think about what we want to do this year."

Aaaaack! How can I highlight the "GoGo and Poppo" column on my spreadsheet with the yellow marking of "finished" if I don't do the buying of the gifts, let alone know what those gifts might be?!

Now, let me assure you, I KNOW that it's perfectly acceptable and normal for grandparents to say "thanks for the ideas" and decide on their own how to proceed. I know it's a good thing that a father wants to be involved in his children's lives, including picking out gifts to give them.

It's just that the CCF in me -- that's the Christmas Control Freak -- doesn't know how to handle this.

So I'm trying to take a few deep breaths; remind myself that it's not even December yet; and -- as Mike keeps telling me -- most normal people haven't even begun to think about Christmas shopping.

And if all that doesn't help, I just take heart in the fact that come January I'll be back to my normal, non-controlling self.


The Fehrenbachers said...

Amy - Tell Mike that I buy year round for Christmas. Most of the toys the kids are getting this year I got in Feb on clearance..

Anonymous said...

Amy, at least let go of the "theme" thing! OMG. Unless of course you I am on your shopping list. In that case, my theme is HDTV. (Maybe a 32")


missy said...

haha!! that is so funny...but i too am that husband says i am a control freak most of the time...i think not...but i do like to have a plan...and he does not...but Christmas for some reason just sets me over the edge!!
i have all my emails sent out and am trying to get all the plans and times taken care of but not everybody is followinf my lead!!! anyway i love your blog...i can't remember where i was at when i clicked on your blog...

Amy said...

@missy -- I checked out your profile. Maybe you saw me at She Writes, You Write. Love that blog.

Why won't these people just drink our Koolaid already? Things would be much easier, wouldn't they?

I'm headed over to check out your blog. Happy reading.