Saturday, January 15, 2011
And so I find myself ruminating in January, trying to match the person with the gift, and trying to hit the right level of gifting. If you're shipping a gift, then it has to be something more than if you're handing a wrapped present to someone on Christmas morning. I'm starting to grasp how I arrived at this particular mathematics of gift-giving, one that keeps me stalled for weeks. It plays out like this: I will buy a gift for someone, and then it will sit there as I imagine that person opening the box and finding just this small thing, so inadequate, not one of many presents under the tree, not part of the party but a tardy guest who must now atone for the late hour.
And so I go out and buy another gift to add to the first, and this takes time, because I have to think about the person, in this case the three families worth of loved people in Virginia and Maryland who have yet to be gifted by me, and I have to come up with something as targeted as the first gift, something that isn't a throwaway but truly matches who that person is trying to be. It's easier for the grown-ups, they don't care really. They don't even have to get a gift, truth be told. But their children. I want their children to feel that I honed in on their hearts, to feel the thrill of what's inside the box, inside the festive wrapping paper in January, arriving all by its lonesome, missing all the hectic glory of Christmas morning.
The irony is my own children appreciate without question or calculation any gift that arrives, more so the love of the gifter. So why do I not permit my relatives who live at a distance the same grace? Why do I allow guilt to settle itself next to January love all wrapped up in Christmas paper?