As a child, I loved the Christmas season! It not only marked the beginning of a true, west coast winter, but it also the beginning of a season filled with family, friends and festivities.
About two weeks before Christmas day, someone would drag the décor barrel from our attic. And we’d go at the old farmhouse until it was transformed with holly cuttings and tree boughs, a nativity set, lights and candles, a tree, special baking and the like. It was a season of anticipation.
Our family was old fashioned in many ways and particularly, in our gift giving. Each child received one or two presents from mom and dad. And we (the children), made gifts for one another. Between the wood-working shop and constructing, leather work, sewing, crafting, crocheting and the like, we found more fun in making and giving than we did in receiving!
Every year, we couldn’t wait to see what each sibling had created. Many laughs were shared as the youngest family members explained their inventions: a high chair for dolls, an arm-wrestling machine, crocheted creations, knife handles made from deer antlers, toy cars with uneven wooden wheels, etc.
What can I say? We were country kids and our gifts were country too!
Know something? I miss those Christmases of simplicity.
As an adult, I sometimes find Christmas to be…well…a bit stuffy. And worrisome! It’s the gifts, folks! It’s not that I don’t like giving them. I’m just not gifted at…gifting. I never know what to choose or how to choose for other person. Or if I’m giving “enough.”
And then I always wonder if I’m actually giving something that is both special and useful? Will the receiver actually like it? Enjoy it? Or will it end up at the local thrift store because it wasn’t quite the right color, brand, size, style, look, etc?
If that’s the case, I’d rather gift the cash and have that person put it toward something they would like! But somehow, a cash gift seems…colder.
As an adult, the Christmas season can have lots of “giving” pressure behind it.
But as I ponder those Christmases of long ago and reminisce over the child-like delight we had in giving simple gifts, I’m reminded that I don’t have to succumb to something I’m uncomfortable with in my gift giving. My gifts don’t have to be ‘normal’ by today’s standards.
I am an adult and I should be giving according to my own personal convictions.
And if small, thoughtful gifts are my style? If that’s what our pocketbook allows? If that’s the standard my man and I choose to set for our home and ourselves and our giving?
Well…I guess folks will just have to be ok with that.
Besides, I would hope that we all understand that gift giving isn’t actually about “the gift.” It’s an expression of something much deeper.
That “something deeper” is what I shall aim for in this season of giving! How ’bout you?