Secret Sister Gift Exchange Motive Revealed


Last week, I did something for the first time ever.

I signed up for the now-infamous secret sister gift exchange that was popping up all over Facebook.

It wasn’t long before articles started appearing, like this and this, explaining why such a scheme was wrong, or even illegal. And it made me feel kind of embarrassed for jumping on the bandwagon so fast. Because I’d always ignored requests to participate in things like that in the past. I’ve seen them for everything from recipes to books. I even remember back when┬átyped or handwritten letters were sent via actual snail-mail. I never forwarded those, either.

So, what about this made me share? Why did I say, “Sure, why not?” when my only response in the past has ever been, “Thanks, but no thanks”?

I imagine my reasons are the same as most women who wanted to join in.

I just wanted something to be about me, for me…for a change.

I wanted somebody putting something back into me, even if it was just a little $10 gift.

I wanted the delight of opening up the mailbox and finding something other than bills and junk mail inside. Something with my name on it. A box whose contents would be a surprise, that might actually reflect my own likes and preferences.

Something that a friend-of-a-friend took the time to get, for me. Something that I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about every time I looked at it, because I hadn’t spent my own money on it at all.

Someone on Facebook posted a shaming rant about how the whole concept is stupid, about how the holidays are not about getting and hoarding 36 gifts. Well, duh. Of course they’re not.

Ask just about any mom what the holidays are about, and she’ll probably give you some sweet, sanitized answer about time spent with family. And she’ll mostly be sincere in offering that reply, because a big part of her truly does enjoy making these memories for her loved ones.

But behind all that family time is a helluva lotta work, the vast majority of it unacknowledged and under-valued. I know I greet late November and all of December with a jumbled-up mixture of joy, anticipation, anxiety and dread. Because for me, for most moms, the holidays dog-pile a ton of tasks onto an already-hectic life.

This time of year means planning menus and shopping to host extended family feasts, and the accompanying ton of extra cleaning and cooking. It means staying up until the wee hours decorating, then lying in the dark listening to everyone snore while trying to figure out how to fit 200 hours of activities into a 168-hour week. It means stretching a paper-thin budget to cover all my bases while trying not to shred it to bits. It usually means reaching well beyond my physical strength and mental capabilities so I can make days special for the people I love, whether they return that same effort or concern to me or not.

And honestly? Most of the time, they don’t.

It’s worth it, though. I mean, if it weren’t, we wouldn’t do it.

But that doesn’t mean Moms are superhuman. That doesn’t mean that we don’t want to feel valued, appreciated and thought-about, too. We need that. We don’t always say it aloud, but we say it in ways that others might notice if they paused long enough to listen.

And maybe sometimes, we say it by joining a silly pyramid gift exchange on Facebook.



3 replies on “Secret Sister Gift Exchange Motive Revealed”

  1. Could not have said it any better! Thanks for putting my thoughts into words and helping realize I am not alone.

  2. Your not wrong my sweet friend. I want that too. A santa list that includes stuff just for ME…the one who makes the list, does the shopping, prepares the food, serves it and then does the dishes (mind you the only one who doesn’t complain about the veggies, tastes, prefrences, food touching…etc) to have someone do something for me that isn’t a colored picture or an art project that requires cleaning up of my own gift! Not that i don’t love and appreciate all that treasure…but maybe once, someone could xmas shop for me. Not a gift i researched and made a map to so nobody would make an xmas eve run to walmart run just to fill my stocking! I wanted it to be real. Maybe we do it ourselves. There is still time to plan a chance to have a “party” for only us overworked, not appreciated mommys to get together and exchange gifts we want! Maybe everylady makes a small list and we give the giver the list! No white elephant garbage! Just a true “santa” for moms.

    1. I love your idea, and I think you must’ve shared it with Gina, because it sounds like that’s exactly what we’re going to do. COUNT. ME. IN!

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