It’s that time of year again! Most of my life, it was a delight to take note of my family’s yearnings, needs and wishes and by Christmas time, find some way to make at least a few of them come to pass. Most of that time I also had to be creative rather than lavish because of the limitations of my bank account. That accomplished a few things. It taught my children that you didn’t always need to spend a lot of money to fulfill wishes and or even needs, and it entailed giving more of myself--so much that I felt more joy at watching them open their gifts than I did opening mine. However, when they were old enough to begin putting that same kind of thought and creativity into their giving, I received double joy.
As the children left home and I had less opportunity to secretly take note of what was of interest to them, it became more difficult. Then the grandchildren came along. It seemed any time I thought of the perfect gift, say in June or even August or September, they already had it before Christmas. Then they got old enough that their interest was in electronic gadgets of which I had no knowledge. I often feel myself caught on a tight wire with that old desire to find the perfect gift that fulfills a wish and is a meaningful expression of my love and care on one end and the fear that my old-fashioned need of creativity in my gifts won’t come through as such to the younger generation. The last few years, I’ve resorted to a cheque in their home-made card. I wanted to do more.
A large portion of my family’s birthdays come over the end of the year and the beginning of the next. They are kicked off by a grandson’s at the end of October. I walked back and forth on that tight wire as we neared the crucial date this year. The closer it got, the more tense I became. At the last minute, I devised a gift certificate for dinner out with Grandpa and Grandma. Imagine my surprise, when it was received with great joy and what seemed high honour.
Tonight he redeemed that certificate. It wasn’t a fancy restaurant, but it was a blessed time where a 13 year-old shared the concerns and joys of his life and some dreams for his future. It wasn’t electronic, it wasn’t expensive, but it was giving of myself and my time and it definitely was precious.