Christmas was always a big deal in my family. We did not have much money, but Mom and Dad somehow found a way to have lots of presents under the tree for their five children on Christmas Day.
As an adult I find giving presents one of the great joys in life. Last year, several of my siblings made suggestions for cutting back on gift giving. I protested that I loved giving presents and did not want to stop or cut back.
Actually, I think we all love giving and getting presents. The issue is that we all have different lives with different stresses. The fall is especially stressful because there is Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, Hanukkah, and all of our birthdays.
I realize that giving presents to my mother was particularly important. I think I wanted to give her every pleasure I could think of, or she could wish for, to make up for the many years when she denied herself most pleasures. I loved seeing her face light up each time she received a new treat. She couldn’t care less if the offering had financial value. She just loved getting the gift. I think she would have enjoyed opening an empty box if it was wrapped and had a ribbon on it.
In her last years I tried to give Mom new experiences. I took her to Fossil Rim where she was bitten by a zebra and nipped by an ostrich. She was thrilled. When I took her out for afternoon English tea or a French meal she was in heaven. When she sat ringside at the dog show at The Great Texas State Fair, she nearly fell out of her wheelchair laughing with delight.
Now that I can no longer plan presents for Mom I am rethinking our family tradition. Maybe it is time we adjusted our gift giving to whatever is most comfortable for each of us. For myself, I am considering sending gifts for the under-21 crowd on the specific holiday, and, for everyone else, sending a gift when I find something that is just right for a particular recipient, rather than waiting for a birthday or holiday. There is enough to do during the holidays with various friends and family gatherings without our gift giving marathons.
I am going to use this blog as a starting point for discussion with my siblings. For my readers, I would love to hear how you have adjusted gift giving over the years. Maybe you can offer a few solutions that will work for me and my siblings.
Copyright TheNewElder 2012