Collectively my family’s love language is giving and receiving gifts. Consequently Christmas becomes our annual love and appreciation fest. Every year we say we’re going to cut back. Cutting back is a great idea, and economics dictated some of the necessity of reducing the quantity of our gift giving. However our pared down version of gift giving is still other’s version of mind blowing excess. My sister-in-law won’t send her parents pictures of the tree before we open gifts because she’s sure they’d be scandalized. Truthfully, sending pictures of the tree before we open gifts is rather difficult; you can only see the top 3 or 4 feet of a 7 foot tree sitting on top of an 18 inch box. And we have to keep a path cleared so the tree can get watered and the lights can be turned on and off. Although we take breaks for nourishment and letting the kids play with their toys, opening gifts at a leisurely pace Christmas morning takes quite a while. It’s fun and we have a great time. The giving part greatly outweighs the getting part. You can almost always tell when someone is going to open their “big” gift—the cameras are all focused on the face of the one opening their present. Their reaction is recorded so much more often than the gift they react to.
This makes shopping interesting. I’m always on the lookout for the perfect thing to give to someone I love. It’s not that I’m such a shop-a-holic. I enjoy it, but I can go without it for a long time. I can also spend hours looking without buying anything. The “problem” is that while I’m browsing I often find wonderful things for many who are dear to my heart. My interior dialogue goes something like this, “Oh! That would be perfect for Jan/Laura/Jewel/Nansie/Laurie/Cindy.” “Wouldn’t Steve/Brad/Evan/Tom/Bruce/Gary love that?” And then there are the kids who invade my life every summer . . . “”Ha! That whoopee cushion would be great for Luc! I wonder how much it would cost to send it to Scotland?” Inevitably the rejoinder to each of these thoughts is, “You do not, you cannot buy things for EVERYONE!!!” And that is always followed by a sigh.
It’s not only potential gifts that make me think of so many people. Situations bring them to mind, too. While visiting Disney/MGM a week and a half ago more than my nephews invaded my thoughts. I went to Little Mermaid show because I knew Janessa would go there if she had been with me. Walking through the streets of America section and listening to Christmas carols made me wish Katrina could be there to experience it, too. I tried on funny hats and thought of Cheryl at the office. Seeing little girls in their princess costumes made me think that if Tammy were here, she’d tell them how wonderful they are. And the list goes on and on.
I may not have the bank account that allows me to buy everything everyone would enjoy or to take them with me wherever I go, but I am certainly rich in relationships. When it comes down to it, what could be better?
photo courtesy of sanja gjenero