On Gift Giving
I spent the first quarter of my life giving my parents things that already belonged to them. A tie. A mug. A teddy bear. I once hid my father's watch from him for three weeks before wrapping it up in pretty paper and giving it to him for his birthday. What I didn't account for, at the time, was that over the course of those three weeks, he would buy himself a new watch.
When I was young I asked my mom for a picture of myself.
In the days before we owned a digital camera, she always ordered double prints and the shoebox in which she kept developed film was filled with the extra copies. In my eight-year-old mind, a photo would make the perfect Christmas present.
I chose a picture of myself on the first day of school. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, my missing teeth only made the plaid school uniform I wore appear that much frumpier. I clutched my backpack and lunch box proudly.
Unfortunately, an eight-year-old's version of beautification does not exactly mirror an adult's vision of proper framing. I destroyed the photo. Cutting it into strange shapes, I glued the glossy image to a piece of craft foam and bedecked the gift with stickers and glitter and other girlish fancies.
On Christmas morning, my mom opened her gift.
She told me she loved it.
And I believed her.
An eight-year-old can't get much prouder than that.
I've improved in my gift giving since then.
This year I am trying to keep my gifts simple. A few homemade treats for friends. Small boxes wrapped in newsprint for husband. I've always thought that the most meaningful gift to give anyone who mattered would involve not money, but time.
We had Christmas cards printed on a whim this year, and I've tried adding a thoughtful note to the back of each piece before mailing it out. A few have managed to slip into the post box unsigned, but taking the time to personalize cards at Christmas is important, I think. Time and Love.
The purest aspect of a child’s gift-giving is a simple, “I love this, I know it’s special, and I want you to have it because I love you.” This year I am trying express small thank-yous for friendships with the simplest of gifts.
|copyright doubleucreative 2012|