Where Are All The Real Gifts?
Updated: Oct 30
Every year you’ve probably noticed one less gift come your way from your family and friends until the year you realize you don’t really exchange gifts at all; just a call here and there. At first you pride yourself in finally understanding that holidays aren’t about gifts at all, but about the health, love and joy of family. This love is mixed with a feeling of spiritual growth in being able to detach from the materialistic world of bling bling, and warm fuzzy sweaters, and crazy tchotchke, or chingaderas, or whatever word you use for those dust collecting gifts that people give when they don’t have time to think about it. You think, “Ah, what joy to not NEED those childish things. I’m just so lucky to have family who think of me to send a card and call.”
There are the following years where you still feel this basking glow of what the holidays truly mean and you take matters into your own hands, creating your own holiday bliss by just gifting yourself. You at least get exactly what you want and in the right size. Then the year comes when you wonder, “Where the hell are all the gifts, and cards, and calls?” True abandonment is reached in opening that one piece of mail you did get. It is from your Grandpa—sort of. The “card” is in a regular envelope and the card is not really a card, but something that resembles a year-end statement with brochure-like language to boot, summarizing your grandfather’s trials and tribulations throughout last year. To add insult to injury, you see that he has copied it, signature and all, in order to send it to all his children and grandchildren. What in the world has happened to even sending a card? When you think of Grandpa you think of the classic Christmas card with the small note of how proud he is of you, and maybe a $5 dollar check for you to buy something real nice for yourself. It was the one thing you could count on. Now, it is like it is an omen of what the world has come to.
Your adult mind has grown tired of rationalizing and understanding how life is bigger than holidays and gifts. You finally get to the point where you can’t deny the fact that you have felt more and more abandoned every year. It is sort of like the kid that is waiting and waiting for their mom to pick them up after school, and that sinking feeling as you watch everyone else drive away while you sit there in a heap. You sink even more when, in addition to receiving no gifts, you see that you don’t even get calls except the quick 5-minute call from your mom. The bigger question floods your brain as you sincerely ask, “Where are all the REAL gifts?” What happened to the real gift of taking time out to think of someone and showing them how you care? Yes, that could turn into the form of a material gift, but it is the thoughts of the person that lead you to the gesture that suits you, whether it is just a call or a card.
All materialism aside, the art of gift giving is really about the time spent BEFORE you buy the gift, or card, or make the call. It is all the little thoughts that BRING you to want to give a gift at all. This is the real gift I’m referring to, the pre-gift, gift--the gift that makes your ears ring!
Originally published in In the Scene Magazine