Thursday, December 08, 2011
The Gifting Question
Now that our children are fully launched into self-reliant adulthood (and there are no grandchildren on the horizon), we've started encountering a thorny question each year as we look towards Christmas - how should we handle giving each other gifts?
Our son, Sean, is an affirmed anti-materialist and flatly doesn't want "stuff". He is continually trying to pare down his possessions. He lives in a (series of) smallish apartment(s) in a big city and he prefers to be able to move between them with the least amount of hassle.
Jess, our daughter, loves gift-giving and receiving, loves to create beauty around herself, and finds her home a source of great comfort. Holidays are particularly special to her, and gift giving is an important part of the feeling of love and family at those times.
Greg's never been a big one for Christmas or Christmas gifts - his philosophy is that he likes to give gifts whenever he want to do so throughout the year, rather than at a culturally determined time of year.
And then there's me. I love Christmas cards - both sending and receiving them. I've moved so much throughout my life that Christmas cards are a wonderful way, at least once a year, to feel connected to friends and family that I rarely see anymore. And I love to give multiple small gifts - the sort that can really lift the spirit if you happen to hit upon a particularly lucky choice, but that leave neither giver nor receiver feeling bad if you totally miss the mark. The sort that can be re-gifted without angst, but hopefully will give the receiver enough pleasure and/or use that he/she wants to keep them. Most of the time, that's the sort of gift I'd rather receive, too.
(Anyone else sense a gender issue in my discussion here?! LOL!)
Sean has suggested, again, that we don't exchange gifts at all. Greg would happily go along with that. Both Jess and I would prefer to continue with the usual gift giving tradition. I've seriously debated just having Jess and I exchange gifts with each other, but that feels very Scrooge-ish.
It seems so ironic to have a tradition that is meant to bring nothing but joy and happiness causing such annual angst...but no one has ever said that the human heart is simple!
When all's said and done, I think Ranger may have the appropriate last laugh here - as he lounges next to his favorite indoor "chewy play-toy," the electric cords! I suspect we'll figure it all out somehow!