Friday, December 27, 2013

The Gift of Giving

Zoe's wish list 2013
Late on Christmas Eve I took a moment to sit by the fireplace where the stockings were hung by the chimney with care. We'd set out milk and cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.  We'd sprinkled magical reindeer dust in the front yard and opened and put on our Christmas pj's. The gifts were all wrapped (by 3 am) and the girls (who are 11, 20 and 25) were in bed.  We were content and happy.  The next morning they would wake up and open the rest of their gifts.  I couldn't wait! 

We're all familiar with the old saying that "It is better to give than to receive"  and I have to say that while I sure like to receive, there is nothing like the joy of giving!

Given the fact that I opened a gift store in the mall you'd think I would have had time to do a lot of shopping this year, but it was, in fact, the opposite. So as I sat there enjoying the last few moments of Christmas Eve, I felt a little less than content because I hadn't been able to find the perfect gifts for all of my friends and family members.  I got lucky with my girls.  I was able to order almost everything they had asked for on Amazon.  I was worried that the packages would not all be delivered in time, but they were.  I think Magical Mall Santa had something to do with that - when he asked me what I wanted for Christmas I told him I wished for everything I ordered on-line to come in before December 25th. Four packages arrived on December 24th. 

I inherited this love of giving.  Not in the DNA way, but in the nurturing.  My grandmother understands the gift of giving.  She always put together "gift boxes" for our birthdays and Christmas and graduations - a box that contained an assortment of small gifts that she had been collecting for us up to our big day.  I always looked forward to those boxes!  You never knew what was going to be in there and I loved it all.  One particularly difficult birthday during one of the latter years of my tumultuous 20+ year  marriage I was saved from succumbing to a a major pity party when my Granny's box came in the mail, filled with little gifts that told me loud and clear that she was thinking of me.  It lifted my spirits and gave me the perspective I needed.  That day I was on the receiving end, which helps remind me how much I like to be the one to create that kind of joy and happiness. 

My parents understand the gift of giving too. We didn't have much money when I was growing up but at Christmastime all 5 of us kids made our wish lists and every year our parents got us everything we asked for (or it seemed that way to me). I don't know how they did it, but Christmas morning was always pure magic happiness (as it was again this year!).  I have tried to do the same with my kids, but I've also tried to provide them with opportunities to really experience the sheer joy of giving. 
And the stockings were hung by the chimney

I'm pretty sure I've passed it on down.  Ariel emailed from Florida a couple of weeks ago asking questions about family members, hoping to get the info she needed to make the right gift selections.  I can see on Lacey's face how happy she is when she can give someone something they really like, and she puts so much thought into it.  She made a card for Mother's day this year for me with a wonderful drawing of The Grumpy Cat (when I was going through a grumpy cat worship phase).  It was perfect and I framed it!  And the youngest, at 11, had THE BEST time at our Big Brothers Big Sisters store picking out and wrapping gifts for all her family members.

I have been amazed at how adamant the kids coming in to the store are about what they want and what they don't want to choose as gifts.  I had this 9 year old little boy tell me in great detail all about his dad's hobbies and likes and dislikes and he was very particular about what he eventually picked out for dad.  But I have also had kids who just couldn't wrap their heads around picking something out for others, not for themselves.  I expected that from the 4 and 5 years olds, but not the 10 and 11 year olds.  I sure hope we get to do the store again next year cause there are a lot of kids who need to experience the gift of giving.  The ones who understand it already were a joy to shop with.

The best thing is that there are always new opportunities to give; birthdays and anniversaries and other holidays are coming up and there's always Christmas again next year! 

I have to say as well that I sure did make out on the receiving end again this year!  Yay, Presents! 

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