Thursday, January 03, 2008


Gifts... Some... are symbolic in themselves, some reflect the recipient's need, some the giver's. Some are last-minute efforts with no meaning, and some take on meaning only when you see the giver's smile or tears. —Tom Erich

In his daily meditation, Tom Erich was exploring his understanding of gifts, in the context of the story of the gifts brought by the wise men. His comments hit me especially hard, because I have a box under my bed still to be mailed to family. It is unfinished... lacking either one (or three) more items, depending on whether I decide to send just to the grandchildren or to include their parents. The one present lacking is something for the smallest child... a toy? a book? a soft cuddly something? Nothing I've seen in the Christmas array has shouted out to me "I'm the one!" and so the other bundles sit forlorn waiting inspiration from God. What's that about?

Well, for one, it's about fairness, and not showing partiality. Everyone must get something, even if it's a last-minute effort with no meaning. Except my heart just balks at that, which is why the box sits unfinished.

I already messed up the box for the other side of the family. I sent to my other son and daughter-in-law, and did not include a gift for their son, who would be visiting for the holidays. I didn't forget him; I just forgot he'd be there. Damn.

So I sit and ponder this whole gift situation... asking what's the point of a gift in the first place? The best I can come up with is to surprise (or delight) the recipient. That's always been easier with friends than family. When I was in high school, and made my very first Christmas purchases, I spent most of my money on one person and had to borrow against my allowance to make up the difference. Over the years that evened out a little, but I still ended up with lots of stuff for one, and nothing for another. The last minute scramble to find something bland or safe was a matter of necessity then. It isn't now. Or at least it doesn't have to be. That's what I'm thinking. Rationalization? Maybe. I'll ponder awhile longer.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Postman should be delivering a care package (LATE but with a belated not forgotten birthday gift and card and Christmas gifts -- for shame)on Friday or Saturday.

Monkey Boy was none the wiser. I wrapped up some "artsy" gifts and called them your own.

Claire Joy said...

I don't deserve you.