Another Christmas is over. Another year where we ponder the art of gift giving. I’m not sure when gifts became such a big part of Christmas and truly it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter when stores start commercializing the process, inviting us to come into their stores and spend, spend, spend. It doesn’t matter if you went out on Black Friday or if you chose to wait until the very last moment. It doesn’t matter if you took everything you got for Christmas, back. None of it matters. If you get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas, I am convinced you will be forever disappointed.
What matters is why we offer gifts to one another and that my friends is as individualized as each and every snowflake. Some of us give gifts because we feel we should or have to. That’s a shame. Others give gifts to show appreciation. Some give because the office decided to do a “White elephant” exchange. Regardless of what category you fall into, now is the time to take a step back and look deep into the meaning of giving a gift.
The difference between the Three Wisemen and me is, I can’t afford gold, I think frankincense smells horrible and I have no clue what myrrh is. I could google it, but I don’t feel like it. What we have in common is there is someone special in our life who we feel the need to give something special to. Gift giving is an art, or at least it should be. It should show the recipient that you have paid attention and have taken time to think about what makes them happy. A gift should be something people remember forever. That is the standard we should all set. It should be something that makes a $25 gift card to Chili’s look empty and shallow. A gift doesn’t even have to be something you open. It could be a memory–a moment in time that you treasure forever.
My daughter bought me an Ohio State cap for Christmas this year. She is six. The real gift she gave me was the excitement in her face when she insisted that daddy open up HER gift. The package could have been dog crap. It could have been thirty-week old oatmeal in a bowl, molded over. Her face and the pride on it was the gift I was seeking. She is too young to realize that, but if I work hard enough and instill values all parents wish to attain in our kids, she will one day be in the same position I was in.
In 2013, I ask that we all take a moment to think about the finest gifts we bring. A friend of mine from long ago just lost her 100 year old grandmother yesterday. She had an opportunity to sit next to her and touch her hand as she slowly descended to the other side, where life is no doubt, much better. It was undoubtedly a moment, a gift, she will never forget. That’s priceless. That is better than any $100 gift card or sweater.
Life is precious and it is short. The finest gifts we bring sometimes can’t be purchased. We just have to take time to think about what we give to one another and why. When we do–and only then–will our attitudes change. I’ll take memories, and the look and the faces of my children any day over gold and myrrh.