The Art of Gift Giving

Well, another Christmas is behind us, thankfully.  As much as I do love the holiday, there seems to be a lot of stress involved with cooking, baking and all the money spent on food, booze and gifts.  Bill and I have promised ourselves a much less stressful Christmas next year and the great thing is that the kids are even on board. 
What’s the point of all the gift-giving anyway?  I know, it’s based on the three wise men giving baby Jesus gifts, and then also on St. Nick who would place gifts in children’s stockings – but what about that says we have to spend ourselves foolish?  Where has the true meaning of the holiday gone?
First off, there is an art to gift-giving.  Generally, when you know someone buys you a gift, you purchase one for the giver (though there are thoughtless people who are not giving and just take what is given without a second thought – tsk tsk).  Secondly, you generally know who you are buying for so there are three categories of gifts:  needs and wants are the first two.   These make the best gifts, for they will be used.  The third category is beautiful things.  This would include artwork, music, poetry and the like.  These are the gifts that are admired.  Gifts that fall outside of these categories are largely ignored, relegated to a box or drawer or closet.  So why waste money on something that won’t be used?
After many years of Christmases, we’ve all gotten to the point where we’ve bought everything we can think of for our gift-ee (I actually bought my daughter a jewelry box last year and also bought her one this year.  I forgot!)  and now just ask "what do you want?"  This is good, but hardly surprising.  And I know it’s as hard on the kids as it is on us, financially.  Next year, we’ll be drawing names, setting a max and for those who opt out, a token present of a nominal amount ($25 or so) will be spent.  It just makes sense. 
So we will keep secret who has whose name and encourage the gifter to seek out from others what they think the gift-ee would want.  We’ll spend more time on the wrapping and on cards, on things hand-made.  We’ll get back to the true meaning of Christmas:  the gift of sharing and caring and loving each other.
Merry Christmas to all.  Next year’s gonna be fun!
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