Every year, around the time when eggnog slides its way into the refrigerator section at Kroger there hangs this huge black cloud. We have to detail a list of every gift we must purchase. We have to go dust off our puffy coats and slip on comfortable shoes and head out to wait in long lines, push and shove to get the best deals and in the end to get all our Christmas shopping completed. And then once we finish our list with just a few people left…you know those people that you don’t have a clue what to get them and so we hastily snag a few gift cards…”I saw them listen to music once…I’ll get them an iTunes gift card.” That is the extent of our thought. Slowly big box merchandisers and us, begging like little slobbery puppy dogs, have created a gift giving process that is about as enjoyable as eating your crazy aunts fruitcake.
There is no longer any thoughtfulness or delight in our process of gift-giving.
Gift giving should be loving and romantic. It should be a mere taste test of the generosity and care we extend in the rest of the year. The act of giving is rich, real and robust. Providing delightful things to another human being is a way of considering and noticing what delights them. It teaches us how to be human.
But instead, we give out of obligation, even guilt at times. And with our ever-widening need to attain more “friends”, the quality of our gifts become cheap and tawdry. Our culture stains expectations on us about the code of giving. “If someone gives to you, you must give something back to them.” Giving has morphed into a speedy transaction. It’s like telling someone you love them just because you want to hear it back. Even if we say we don’t, we create lists in our heads of who gave us the best presents and who gave you some dinky little potholder that they made.
Growing up I always heard my mom say that the best gifts are the handmade ones. “No they aren’t mom!” I would chant, “the best gifts are the ones that spin, twirl, turn on and off, can make you fly…” Now that I’ve grown a bit I’ve noticed the truth in what she was saying. Handmade gifts really are the best gifts. And you know why? Because the giver had to think of what to make you, go buy the supplies and think about you as they made that dinky little potholder. What’s the main ingredient? Heart!
Gifts do not surprise anymore. All presents have become the same junk just in different colors.
When gift-giving becomes mandatory it loses all its beauty.
So with all this being said we would like to encourage you to keep these three points circling in your head as you complete your shopping.
A real gift…
- Notices the person
- Tickles their fancy
- Delights their heart
Bonus thought: fresh flowers are better than plastic ones. Merry merry!
“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”
― Amy Wilson-Carmichael
paris & christopher