Monday, November 12, 2012

No Presents This Year

I'm going to tell you why you might not get a present from me this year.

No, I haven't lost my job.
Yes, we're making all of our bills.
No, I haven't lost my mind.
Yes, I did make the apple butter and you'll likely get that.

I believe in presents that come from my heart and reach out to share something with yours. Unlike "filler" gifts, my presents represent that bond between us, an honoring and a thoughtfulness. "Filler" gifts are those that are like crap food, they fill the void without holding substance. They "fill" the spaces under the tree but do nothing to touch our lives in a meaningful way, then they continue to fill space where we must dust, move, arrange and handle them repeatedly.

I detest dusting. I do. I refuse to give "dusty" gifts if I can avoid it. The exception is when someone truly wants / likes that piece that will sit out and bring great joy every time it is seen. (As long as I don't do the dusting, we're good.)

What do I give? I give handmade apple butter that no one makes anymore. I learned the skill just so that I could do this each year. I make custom bags from recycled blue jeans and other hippie-inspired crafts. I help my husband get the wiring harness for his MG, which is a gift to both of us and quite romantic if I get to go on long drives in the fall colors with him.

Sometimes the best gifts are time. We could all use a little more of it, right? A coupon book sounds cheesy, but the offer to spend time with someone is a reaching out of the hand that is a gift in itself. If you're going to do that, follow through and schedule it. Look out on your calendar and put "schedule time for coupon" so that it doesn't become another expired and empty coupon of lost opportunity.

I give my dad pictures of his grandson taken especially with the grandfather of all boys in mind. I find jewelry from my friend who has an Etsy shop and visit craft fairs for that special something that my sister didn't know she wanted. I ride up to the small town square and meander among the shops and ask the local bookstore owners what they like for an aunt who loves romance. This shop takes the time to ask me about my aunt, to learn about me, and to order books for me if they don't stock what I need.

Sometimes, I don't give gifts. You might have a birthday and I won't bring anything, and I do this with pride. I have chosen not to bring you something because I felt obligated or trapped by conventions, but rather I hold that space open for later possibilities. I will not fill in with fluff. I have left off the shallow minded potholders and gift cards. I leave an empty space to say that the moment wasn't right, the thought wasn't well developed enough for you and a sharing between us. And on a random Wednesday you'll find me on your doorstep with THE Present of All Time(tm) to rock your socks. Things like that happen in my world, and that it was right, and perfect for an expression of what is between us ... that is what I wait to honor.

What are you giving / gifting this year?

1 comment:

Sheila said...

You have already given me two great gifts this year! The gift of being your sister and my flying monkey knitted cap, which rocks beyond all words!