Swapping the right gifts can do a heart good
Are you sick of the holidays? Are you sick of the word war that’s going on about what to call the holidays? (To the tune of “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”):You say “Happy Holidays,”I say “Merry Christmas,”You say, “Happy Hanukkah,”I say “Happy Kwanzaa,”Holidays, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa – let’s call the whole thing off!Well, yeah, before we do, I did want to share some thoughts about the whole gift-giving and -receiving thing. Whatever you celebrate, the holidays around the end of the year typically involve presents. You give. You get. It’s part of the deal. The commercialization of Christmas at its core is just God-awful (“Get ’em while they last! What better way to say ‘Merry Christmas’ than with a brand new iPod!”), but the true giving and receiving of presents can be quite a wonderful thing, given the right context.The way this year worked out, I received a lot of presents earlier in the year. When my husband, Erik, went to Hawaii to see my stepdaughter, he brought me back a bagful of goodies: a Hawaiian Fire surf school T-shirt where we take surfing lessons, some really big obnoxious rose-colored glasses, quirky refrigerator magnets, and a Hawaiian “Island Boys” calendar. Yes indeed. He knows me well. And in November, I got a whopper of a gift after I had major surgery in Denver and was recovering in the hospital: a brand new, beautiful saddle. Erik heaved it onto a wheelchair and rolled it into my hospital room. It was the perfect gift given at the perfect time, to help me remember I’d be able to ride my horse Mercy as soon as I recovered.I have a hiding place at home that I stash Christmas presents, and this year, it was piled fairly high. But I didn’t realize how many gifts I had for Erik until I started wrapping everything a few nights before Christmas Eve. I didn’t get him presents because he got me cool stuff. Occasionally, I’d just see something that reminded me of him and I’d get it. When Erik saw all the wrapped loot under our tree, he asked me for a list of stuff I wanted. But it wasn’t about that. I had already received great gifts (including a clean bill of health after my surgery this fall). And wrapping up gifts for Erik – and for the rest of my family – was downright fun. Whoever said, “It’s better to give than receive” wasn’t kidding.This Christmas, after Erik and my stepdaughter Elizabeth and I opened our presents, we trekked over, as we always do, to my sister and brother-in-law’s. It was fun mayhem – kids everywhere, my 8-year-old niece Juliette wildly pumped up. We brought in a box of presents, and Juliette pleaded with us to open ours. One of the coolest presents out of the whole lot didn’t cost much. It wasn’t some high-tech gadget or an expensive piece of ski equipment. It was a coffee cup with a painting Juliette had done of a big red heart on a purple background with lots of stars and other designs shooting through it. Commercializing Christmas for the sake of pure profit doesn’t do anyone’s heart good. But spending time with family and friends, trading thoughtful and sometimes hilarious gifts back and forth, and getting a coffee cup with a hand-painted heart on it does my heart a lot of good – and I’ll bet it does yours, too. Carrie Click is the editor of The Citizen Telegram in Rifle. She enjoys giving and receiving but not so much that she’s already gone Christmas shopping for next year. Carrie can be reached at 625-3245, ext. 101, firstname.lastname@example.org.Carrie Click is the editor of The Citizen Telegram in Rifle. She enjoys giving and receiving but not so much that she’s already gone Christmas shopping for next year. Carrie can be reached at 625-3245, ext. 101, email@example.com.
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