What is a gift, really?

It’s Christmastime.  I just got another email from Southwest Airlines exclaiming, “Your trip is right around the corner, Emily!!!”  Yes, I know! Between now and Saturday I’m trying to bring my car back to the shop because something is wonky with the breaks that they just installed.  I’m also trying to fit 2 weeks worth of hair clients into one week…I was never good at math, that just will not work.  There also needs to be some sort of meal planning in there so that I don’t eat apple pie every day like I did last week.

Back to the car.  A few days ago we brought it to the shop because it was doing a few weird things.  Brake fluid was disappearing and so was the coolant.  I needed new back brakes, entirely…new heads, drums, shoes, etc…not shoes that I get to wear, unfortunately 🙂  I also needed a new radiator tank.  Ok, that’s not too expensive right? WRONGGGGGGGG.  $750 later, Tilly the Toyota is like new but now we can’t buy Christmas gifts for anyone.

As I started to think about the conversations I would have with my sister and others, I realize that they probably won’t even care at all that I can’t buy them a gift…I’m getting caught up in the things that really don’t matter much in the grand scheme.  I remember one Christmas a few years ago when my ex husband told me that he had to spend $100 on one sister because that’s what she had spent on him.  That just sounded stressful to me.  I think if something is truly a gift then you don’t owe the giver anything.

What is the actual definition of a gift?

gift
noun
 1. a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present.

As I’m sitting at the table writing this, Tristan is hanging some Christmas lights and listening to Charlie Brown Christmas.  Really, here is the photo.

Image

Christmases in my house growing up were always fun.  We were allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve once we got home from church because we were so excited.  The next morning was a little more interesting.  I am the youngest of 4.  My brother, Jason,  is 42 and was in college when I was in 1st grade, so he wasn’t always home for Christmas.  Most of my memories are with my 2 sisters. Some hilarious things would happen every single year.  Gifts would get wrapped and labeled for the wrong daughter.  I would excitedly open them up, get really happy, and then be told that it was actually for Amy or Sara.  Oops.  I still laugh about it.

My mom would always hide some of our gifts because she knew we would snoop.  She had a knack for hiding gifts so well that even SHE couldn’t find them when it came time to put them under the tree.  Every year present-opening would end with the,”Where is the _____???”  She would give a puzzled look to my dad and he would just shrug.  To this day, there is a missing Snoopy Sno-Cone machine that she bought for Amy.  It has never been found.

All that to say, these memories are heart warming and make me smile.  I can’t even remember what gift I opened to then be told to give it to my sister because it was actually for her.  🙂  Many of the “gifts” I have were not given to me on a holiday or birthday and are not even physical items. Well, this one thing I was given is pretty amazing and I use it almost every day. From my dear friend Oana. This bad boy (Nespresso Aeroccino). If you love frothy milk in your coffee, you must have this.    Image

Seriously though, I strongly feel that my “gifts” that I treasure are someone’s kind words in a card (I save them all, really I do) or an experience of travelling with my husband.  When someone decides that I am going to be the one that they confide in.

I’m especially thankful for the gift of my family.  It’s not perfect, but it’s mine.  I don’t know that there is a perfect one out there.  My circle of friends is stellar.

These are all things that I value much more than a present wrapped in a bow and that’s what I’m making an effort to remember this year. I’m in this financial place of not being able to give a physical item, but I can give more of myself.

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4 thoughts on “What is a gift, really?

  1. I’m so happy you listened to all of us telling you to blog! After your first two posts I’m already hooked. Thank you for taking the time to bless everyone with your thoughts, feelings and hopefully some recipes…. hint hint….
    Love you!

  2. My mom was also an expert at hiding the gifts – we could never find them! I wonder if any got lost… Anyway, great post! I agree, the best gifts are the ones given because you know it will make someone happy, not because you know you are getting something equal, to the dollar, in return. When that is the case, there is no point.

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