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10.22.2010

PRESENTS, PACKAGES AND GIFTS

My sister-in-law, from my married years, was a fanatic about wrapping gifts at Christmas.  She spent time, money and effort on the packaging of the present  in presentation of what was inside.  So much so that I felt bad opening it - destroying it's beauty.  My packaging of a gift never could compare to hers.  In all reality I hate gifts; buying them and receiving them.  Although I do like what the word gift truly means in its purest sense - something transferred to someone without any need for compensation.  I like what that can mean, not necessarily a tangible but also an intangible.  I don't like gifts because they seem manufactured, trite - orchestrated for events and holidays.  That's just too boxy for my personality.  So, I struggle in giving gifts - greatly.  Many times we give gifts to someone of things we like instead of what we know they will like.  I hate "stuff" gifts given to merely just fill the need to give a gift.  Why do we feel we need to give tangible gifts of things wrapped up with a bow?  My mom is a bad gift buyer (we though never tell her that - would be sort of tacky wouldn't it).  She wants to give a gift with either a theme or with the thought that it may make your life easier and better.  It though usually ends up with items in my possession like; waffle maker (have made waffles from scratch like 4 times in my 44 years of living), onion chopper (my knife and cutting board worked fine), a magic bullet (ok that I have used from time to time), a weather alert radio (am I 80 years old), baking stones (if I can't scrub it clean or put it in the dishwasher no thanks), a quesadilla maker (why I say, why), a large jar of jelly bellies (ok I regifted those to small children I know),  a subscription to "Family Circle" (not my reading style or preference), nylon dish scratchers made from plastic pop bottles ("Oh, mom, thanks just what I wanted!"), yet another tea pot (I still have the last one she gave me - regifted again!).  My brother-in-law now has in his possession, gifted to him by my mother over the past 26 years, a 45 cup John Deere mug collection.  By the way, he is not a farmer, mechanic of John Deeres nor does he drive one for the county mowing crews:)  I don't want stuff, but thought.  The best gifts I've received have been gifts of purpose given lovingly, thoughtfully thinking through who I truly was and meeting me there with a book, music, a concert, a photograph of a memory, a donation to something that helps someone who truly needs something as I don't really need anything, a card written with love and honesty, humorous tacky items that speak to my irreverence, time spent with someone I love.  I loved my Mother's Day present this year from my daughter - a wonderful hand made card written with words straight out of her heart to me....  "Mom, I thought of you when I saw this.  You love green and you love the outdoors, so I wanted you to be able to have some of the outdoors inside.  You are the best mom and my best friend.  Part of your gift is just spending the day together doing whatever you want to do."  My ex mother-in-law, like my own mother, was also a horrible gift giver.  Invariably every year she would buy me clothes - never in the right size and always in the style she liked.  For many years it was a dress.  I would never, ever wear it and the tag never came off it:)  I am bad at buying gifts.  That probably is a huge understatement!  Last week on Bosses Day I gave my boss a 6 pack of Guinness Beer (his favorite) and a pan of warm brownies.  See what I mean:)  I did all my Christmas shopping last year in a CVS pharmacy while waiting for a prescription.  Really.  Gift card rack - less than 10 minutes:)   

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