While driving home, after watching the Disney movie Moana, our eight-year old granddaughter Zoe was listing off all the presents she needed to buy or produce in time for Christmas. After parents, brother, cousins and friends came the grandparents.
My wife immediately chimed in, “Don’t worry about your Grandma. I have everything I need.”
To which my inside voice replied, “Hey, wait a minute! What’s need got to do with it?”
Now I fully support the practice which our children have adopted of picking names. When all of us are gathered and the sound of ripping Christmas wrapping fills the air, 18 people are present. With busy, young families and full lives, our children do not have time or resources for each person to buy a gift for every other person. I get that - and support it; in fact, we ourselves have greatly reduced the amount we purchase. Each Christmas we generate a spreadsheet to ensure that the distribution of resources is reasonably equitable, within sight of our budget and no-one is lost amid the Christmas packaging.
However, Zoe’s comment and her grandmother’s response set me to wondering.
Hard to Buy For
In recent years, I have heard via the family grapevine, aka my wife, that I have become one of those grand/dads that is hard to buy for. Perhaps it has always been so and I am only now acknowledging it for when, first mentioned, the thought seemed inconceivable.
Put me down for an hour in any good hardware, home renovations, auto parts, stationery, wrist watch, fountain pen, book or journal shop and I could emerge with way too many things I didn’t know I needed before I entered the establishment. So what could be the problem?
Apparently, a list was easily generated - too fussy, peculiar tastes, too expensive, etc. OK, I concede there is a point to be made here.
But it is not the critical point.
Different Gifts for Different Stages
This stage of my life is not the same as when I would spend months thumbing through the Eaton’s catalogue identifying the one thing that I really, really wanted for Christmas and that was within the stated financial parameters.
My wife and the kids are correct. I pretty much have everything I need or, actually, really even want. And my wife is even right, to her great frustration, that if I spy something interesting in the Christmas flyers I am just inclined to buy it for myself.
Gifts now seem to be about something else other than fulfilling needs or fantasies (although I’m always open to fantasy fulfilment).
In response to Zoe, I realized that an O’Henry chocolate bar could easily fill the bill as would a box of Smarties. Both would say, “Hey, we see you and know this about you.”
Although I tease my wife about her reluctance to throw away anything the children or grandchildren have made for her I note that my own journal has its own share of home made cards and photos inserted.
Who doesn’t like to give gifts that elicit a great “Wow! This is more than I ever dreamed!” I know I do. But, in the end, at least at this stage, gifts are about recognizing the connection and that, at least, someone has a glimpse into who you are and what you are about.
Did I mention O’Henry bars and Smarties?
Gifts are not only about needs; they recognize connection and that someone has a glimpse into who you are and what you are about
What simple gift could you receive that would recognize that something about you was seen and appreciated? It doesn't have to be profound, just you.