I get in the Christmas spirit around December 23rd. That is when I stop begrudging the season for being too expensive, too busy, too many people in stores, too commercial, or for coming only once a year.
Maybe it’s panic that I don’t have gifts for everyone on my list. Then I would look like the Scrooge that I am. Maybe it’s just looking forward to a few days off. Whatever it is, the duty of buying gifts becomes the fun of buying gifts. I’m still not a Ho-Ho-Ho-guy but I do manage to croak out Merry Christmas to tired store clerks and other desperate shoppers.
My Dad was a bit desperate about his shopping. He used to explain every gift he got my mother as if it weren’t good enough. “There was this other pair of gloves,” he would say. “But, the leather wasn’t as soft as these.” In Dad’s defense, my Mom could be a little hard to please at times. I find myself duplicating his performance with people in my life. “Well, there was this other cheese grater.”
They say it’s the thought that counts but people say that when someone gives a gift that seems inadequate or a gift that has no thought attached. Thank God for gift receipts.
I can’t recall a single thing I gave anyone for Christmas before around age forty. I can’t recall much of anything I got for Christmas. I do remember the people to whom I gave gifts and those that gave gifts to me. We gave because we were important to each other.
We stood waiting while the other opened our gift. “If it’s the wrong size, or you don’t like the color, you can exchange it,” we blurt out. On those occasions when the giftee beams a smile at us and says, “I love it,” we breathe out our relief.
Maybe we misunderstand that phrase “It’s the thought that counts.” We hope the gift somehow expresses our thoughts. Yet, the thought itself often goes unsaid.
Perhaps if my Dad had said “I’m glad I’m married to you” instead of explaining the gift, my Mom would not have cared that he got the cologne she stopped wearing two years ago. It’s the thought that counts.
Once a year, we wrap our thoughts in colored paper and give them to those we are grateful for, hoping. We hope that they will see though the gift to the thought.
A Different Perspective
I know not everyone who might read this celebrates Christmas but Happy Holidays doesn’t work for me. For me it’s Christmas. So I wish you a Merry Christmas (whatever you celebrate) and God bless us – everyone.