Of Gifts and Giving
Let me explain. I do have eclectic tastes. One look around my living room and you’ll find a little of everything – A South American mask, Mexican painted armadillos, suede throw rugs and an antique microphone that hangs out in the fireplace… It’s not “Antiquey,” “Southwestern,” or even “Contemporary…” It’s just a bunch of stuff that I happen to like. It does not mean that I want similar items, like a Lego pyramid, Beanie Baby armadillos, suede fringed jackets, 50’s inspired diner neon, or even a life-sized Elvis Cut-out… Honest. Save your money.
On to the curse of self-amusement... In an effort to entertain myself, sometimes I’ll wear a REALLY bright shirt. I have a few of them. I sometimes just want to see what people will say if I show up wearing one. Once, I walked into work wearing this African-inspired vest and pants… It's not like I was wearing a costume, but it was not something I'd normally picture myself wearing, so I thought it was incongruous… I got nothing but compliments all day. Go fig.
The other day, while buying my niece an Old Navy Gift Card, I pondered buying zebra-striped wrapping paper - because I thought it was really nutty and kind of fun – but not something I’d paper my living room with. I picked up the roll and then thought, “You know, Kell? This is why people buy you stuff you don’t understand – it’s because they think you LIKE this stuff. This is why people buy you taxidermy blowfish… Walk away…” So I walked. (NOTE: All my presents were wrapped in a very conservative red and silver foil this year…)
Third – my pastor, not too long ago, gave a sermon on gratitude. He seriously changed the way I perceived situations in my life… We have choices, and we've been given incredible blessings in life. We have to remember to dwell on those, even if we don't understand our Christmas presents.
For example, this year, I got one or two questionable presents… One was a t-shirt with a giraffe insignia that sort of circumnavigates my chest. My chest is fairly obvious... so I don’t need any help pointing this area of my body out to anyone. I also don’t need the giraffes appearing to “roam across my great divide,” or appear to arrive on-location a few minutes before I do. I will never wear this t-shirt in public… It was a crazy gift… BUT. I can tell you, I got some nice gifts too. I got a cool guitar tuner and a unique necklace from Dave – and my mother gave me these very groovy glass globes that I can put things into and hang in a window… In addition, Fran gave me this nightlight that I absolutely love...
So I’m grateful… because I was reminded months ago to focus on the cool things (PLUS - I can either sleep in the giraffe t-shirt, or give it to someone who might need the marketing assistance). AND I'm grateful for the people who really want to give me gifts in the first place. That's maybe the best present of all...
What makes me even happier about Christmas is seeing my little nephew, Jason say something like “This is what I wanted…” or find another nephew anxious to play with the spy kit I bought him last year (even though it meant waiting to unwrap the remainder of his gifts). Those are the great Christmas memories.
What I want to avoid is any feeling of entitlement... Although I can't say I didn't identify with my oldest nephew, Ian, who, years ago, upon opening a wooden dowel-doll from my sister, said "What? This is no present!" Aw, give him a break. He was maybe six years old at the time...
All this to say, of course, that the greatest gift is the giver of the greatest gift… So. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas despite crowds, receipts, returns, and those blessed “I-saw-this-and-thought-of-you” gifts.