By Sarah Bloom
Everyone, no matter their age or how much they try to deny it, loves to receive a gift. There is just something about the unexpected or unknown that never ceases to peak our curiosity and fuel the imagination. Even tried and true “Scrooges” are somewhat intrigued by the multi-colored and shaped packages that gradually appear under the Christmas trees. For all of the wonder and anticipation in opening those mysterious gifts there is the occasional package you wish you could just wrap back up. Please don’t misunderstand; I am not talking about those gifts you just pout over because it’s not the right color or type. I’m referring to those that make your eyes bulge then cause you to immediately hope your knee-jerk reaction went unnoticed.
With Christmas being the most recognized time of year to be both the giver and receiver of gifts, the above scenario is played out many times during this joyous month. Honestly, these less than favorable reactions usually do not stem from selfishness or greed, but from genuine surprise at an extremely unique gift selection. This unwanted gift can come in many forms ranging from a stolen kiss from someone who ate too much garlic for lunch to an expensive piece of jewelry that leaves you convinced they got it from a gaudy costume store. You know that their intentions are genuine, but how do you hide your surprise?
My mom used to let my brother and I open one gift the day before Christmas Eve. She would get a gift that was intended for us to share that way we could open it together. There is one year in particular that I will never forget and thanks to the ingenuity of photography I never will. My brother and I had assumed our positions on the living room floor giddy with excitement and anticipation for that traditional early gift. As mom laid the neatly wrapped, square package between us we ripped into it like starved dogs. My brother’s hands stopped abruptly the moment our prize was revealed. As I squealed with delight he unapologetically snarled his nose. There in the pile of destroyed wrapping paper sat a perfect set of reading books. He saw no amusement in this offering. I, on the other hand, was thrilled.
I think it is safe to say that we have all re-gifted or at least entertained the thought. I can honestly say I haven’t committed this present passing foul, but I have thought about it. My husband and I received a certain bowl at our wedding reception that would make fruit want to off itself. It has got to be the homeliest thing I have ever seen. Several years after we married I found it on the closet shelf as I was stashing away Christmas presents. It was still in its original box, price tags and all and for a moment I actually considered re-gifting it to someone. That is until I realized two things, first I didn’t want to get that surprised “you really shouldn’t have” look and two, I couldn’t remember who gave it to us and would be horrified if I wound up giving it back to its original presenter.
No matter the size of the package, color of the paper, or what sound it makes when you shake it, a gift is a gift and it is most definitely the thought that counts. My Christmas tree is beautifully decorated with the many gifts my boys have made for me and those are my most treasured possessions. They say it is better to give than to receive and I most definitely agree. Even if you are simply giving your time to a charity or your love to those you hold most high, as long as it comes from the heart it should always be received graciously.
Over the weekend I was sitting at the computer checking my email when my two year old came running into the bedroom with his little hand scrunched up tight. With twinkling eyes he excitedly said, “Mommy, I got it for you, I got it for you!” Smiling I turned to him and noticed that it wasn’t his entire hand that was closed up, only his thumb and pointer finger. He happily presented his gift to me once again stating, “Mommy, I got it for you.” I opened my hand and he proudly presented me with his gift…a nice booger. For all my surprise I can honestly say that it was the sweetest present I have received yet!
Have a beautiful and blessed week and I pray you and your family give thanks for the wonderful gift we all received lovingly wrapped in swaddling clothes.