Ah, tis the season! I think no matter what holiday you celebrate, now is a time of hope, love, peace and gift exchanging! When we last chatted about gifts, I happened to champion the kind that eventually go away. My mother and father-in-law just sent a lovely basket of goodies we have already started to devour. Mmmm, pure perfection.
So in this season of gift giving, what might my quandary be? Well, my mother. My mom is by far, one of the most generous people I know. If you are chatting with her and you happen to mention that you like a particular snack or beverage, she will have said snack or beverage waiting for you each and every time you come for a visit. Chances are, she purchased the treat at Costco, so you may be going home with a bevy of leftovers to be enjoyed at a later date. She loves to bring me packages of my favorite salad, a coffee from Wawa, and back when my refrigerator was magnetic, she would leave a $20 bill sitting amongst the kids’ artwork. Now she just sticks it in the cubby on my desk.
The problem with my super-loving and generous mother is that she hates, absolutely abhors, being the recipient of gifts. She is as cantankerous as Maxine, the little old Hallmark lady, when you bestow one upon her, and the woman simply cannot put the shoe on the other foot. To an extent, I get it. You are at an age where you know what you like and you pretty much can afford to buy what you want. Hence, you don’t need anyone else’s version of what they think you would like or need invading your space. At least that’s how Maxine, ehem, Mom, feels about it, in addition to the fact that she doesn’t want you to spend your hard earned money on her.
My dad on the other hand, absolutely loves to receive gifts. The problem with him is that he hates everything you give him. We attempt, year upon year, to fill his criteria of getting him a “gift he will use” but long story short, he simply does not want to use any of the gifts we give him. One might think we get offended when we see his crestfallen face upon opening another gift that he tosses to the side, but it’s actually quite comical at this point.
Either way, my parents are not the grateful and happy recipients one might think they would be and I have to admit, I was kind of following in their footsteps. A Maxine in training. This year, as my mom was rattling off categories of gifts she doesn’t want, something came upon my heart.
The act of gift giving is just as much for the giver, as it is for the receiver. The amount of thought that goes into getting a person something we think they will love, while at the same time showing our love, is pretty awesome. That energy and intent is also passed on with the gift, and as a receiver, we should allow it to fill our hearts.
We also can’t deny that the prospect of getting someone a much beloved gift is also exciting. Yes, I am well aware that this is usually a one in ten shot with my parents, but I get excited all the same. When you get that feeling that the item or experience is going to be a perfect fit, nothing compares to the joy and anticipation that goes along with giving. It’s a complete joy and blessing for the giver, so why would you want to deprive someone of that feeling?
Then there is the possibility that someone might gift you with something you would never have thought to get for yourself. I like to call that, The Greatest Gift You Never Wanted. Last year, my mom’s disappointment upon opening tickets to see Oprah was practically palpable. It was definitely not something she would purchase, but we still thought she would love it. We were all shocked that she was not elated upon seeing what we thought was the “gift of all gifts,” and as I was going with her to the event as well, I have to admit that it was a bit of a downer for me. However, as Oprah day dawned, it was an entirely different story. We had the most amazing mother/daughter day ever and we will both forever cherish the time spent together. The gift has now been acknowledged as one of the greatest she has ever received, though it was not something she ever wanted, asked for, or thought she would enjoy.
In addition, I don’t think she ever would have splurged on the tickets for herself. It may require another person to take the cash plunge and say, “You’re worth it!” My husband is great at that, even after almost 20 years of marriage.
The point then, is to be open when someone imparts a gift. Open to the idea that someone is thinking of us and loves us enough to bestow physical proof of their love, appreciation, and affection. You may or may not like the gift. Perhaps you could have bought it yourself with your own money and nailed the specifications a little better. Or maybe, you will totally re-gift this little nugget to someone else within the upcoming year. This is all secondary to the fact that ultimately, a little bit of love and gratitude was also energetically gifted. Accept it, and bask in the glow of it all.
I have yet to see if this year’s “love” will be appreciated by my parents, but my brother and I know we have given it freely, in hopes that they will be “open” to it when opening their gifts. I will be sure to keep you posted.