I am the first to say, I don’t need gifts. I am happy with people remembering to send me wishes and I do love a good card!! Homemade or store bought, but with writing, always with writing!!
Anyhow, yesterday on Christmas we had the opportunity to discuss with many groups of people the gifts that they both gave and received. It really got me to thinking of how people feel when they receive gifts.
In this house Santa follows a strict 4 gift rule of something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. Last night was the first night that our kids brought it up. They were understanding of the concept and seemed to be looking forward to what would fall under each category. For the first time in 6 years, we had all 6 of our children on Christmas Day to celebrate. So last night around 9, we watched our children open up their Santa gifts. Smiles abounded, hugs and genuine sentiments of gratitude. My heart absolutely exploded, that is the best gift that I could have been given for Christmas.
While celebrating with our extended family earlier in the day, I had the privilege of learning what a young teen did for his new girlfriend. A list of 50 reasons why he likes her. It didn’t take any money, but you know what it did take? Time and effort! In my experience, that is what most women are looking for. Just a little bit of time and effort.
I have received lotions and stuff from boyfriends. My ex husband made it a regular practice to get me DVDs and CDs, which yes I liked, but felt very impersonal. My husband goes shopping with his Dad every Christmas Eve.
When it first started, I must admit that I felt hurt that he didn’t think to think of me any earlier in the season. Yesterday, I thought of it differently. He is taking in all of this information and making a plan in his head. The shopping tradition is about him, his dad and his brothers. The waiting until the last minute, has absolutely nothing to do with me.
My husband gets me a sweater every year. A tradition, something that is important to him and has become deeply meaningful to me. Months ago I had mentioned how much I wanted the new Elton John biography, Paul remembered! I love to read and he thinks reading is silly. Thought….caring about what someone else wants!! He bought me this stunning shawl. He said that likes the way that look. When I put it on yesterday for our celebration, he told me how beautiful I was.
Lastly, my husband bought me a necklace. This isn’t typically. He doesn’t buy me jewelry each year. It isn’t a gift that he goes to because it is something he is “supposed to do.” A couple years ago he surprised me with a tennis bracelet. Out of nowhere, I don’t remember having ever mentioned it. For very personal reasons, that gift meant the whole world to me.
I only wear it a few times a year. There aren’t many events that I feel call for diamond jewelry. (I mean, I wear a silicone wedding band) The necklace that my husband picked though, somehow matches the bracelet perfectly. He remembered that the bracelet had infinity signs on it. A sign that means something different to us. An infinity sign is an 8 on it side 🙂 8 for the number of people in our family. The new necklace..looks like an infinity sign on its side, otherwise known as an 8.
My husband didn’t just go into a jewelry store, point at one thing and walk out. He thought about it. He put time and energy into getting me something that would be meaningful. Not simply because he purchased it for me, but because he had put thought into why he wanted to purchase that.
I don’t need things. I don’t even really want them most of the time. I want the smiles, the genuine laughter and gratitude. I want people in my life who are present! People who pay attention to my wants and needs and go a little deeper than surface level.