The Rogue Speaks:
Christmas is over and the decorations are neatly stored away. The house is tidy and back to semi-normal, as are we. I have been thinking lately about the tradition of gift-giving at Christmas. Well, actually, not just at Christmas, but at other appropriate times as well. I think that over the decades, the reason for exchanging gifts has changed, and not for the better.
There was an article in the paper a few weeks back about giving gifts to people in the service industry and just how much money one should give. It's a nice idea, I guess, but those people get paid for what they do. It was recommended that the person who cuts your hair should get the equivalent of one haircut as a gift. Considering that after my last haircut, I looked like a person from a concentration camp who had just been deloused, I can guarandamntee you that not only would I NOT pay twice for that disaster, but that the "stylist" has seen the last of me.
I have given cookies to the mail person and to the garbage men, and a little something extra to the waitresses and bagpeople at our club, but I really don't think that someone had to come up with a list of just what is EXPECTED from patrons at Christmas. That is taking "politically correct" a little too far!!
Giving gifts to family and friends is another story. Many families are so large and extended that many draw names at Christmas to cut down on the expense. Others give gifts only to the children, which I tried to do many years ago, but my sister became absolutely livid when I suggested it. I didn't care. I did it anyway. We had a lot of gifts to buy and not enough money to go around. Besides, with the exception of my SIL, they didn't even like me, and considered me the black sheep of the family.
We did, however, always give gifts to our parents. In my family, my siblings seemed to be in competition with each other when it came to buying a gift for my mother. My mother, you see, had told us that whatever we gave her when she was alive, we would get back when she died. I didn't really care too much for that plan, and so I ignored it for the most part. I did give my mother a notebook of poems I had written one year when I was REALLY strapped for money and could hardly buy gifts for my kids. Did I get it back when she died? No, because it had been long ago tossed away as clutter. That can't be said for the gifts my siblings gave her--I'm sure they got those back, especially the jewelry.
That brings me to another area in the field of gift-giving. Just who is important enough in your life to warrant a gift? I have a friend who has been married several times, and has lots of children and step-children. She always gives them gifts because she loves each and every one of them and wants them to know it. Sometimes they are small gifts when the money is tight, but they are always gifts that have been thought about before their purchase was made, and are special for that person. Interestingly, the only children who reciprocate on a regular basis are her step-children, who never fail to send her a gift that is always special, regardless of how much or how little was spent. Only one of her biological children consistently gives her a Christmas present. That is very disturbing to me. Do her other biological children think she is not important enough? Have we pushed the extravagant to the forefront and forgotten about the little things we might give that say far more about love than any expensive bauble or trinket?
I received a fabulous gift this year from a friend with whom I have never exchanged gifts. It was totally unexpected--so unexpected that I actually thought it WAS a box of microwave popcorn, and didn't even open it at first, but put it on the counter so I could make it later while I watched The Good Wife on t.v. It wasn't until I reached for it that I discovered that there were little gifts inside--a pair of Christmas socks, a little package of Christmas Kleenex, two little stick-um toys that stick to glass when you toss them, AND a red foam clown nose!!!I love that nose! I put it on on Christmas day and made everyone laugh! I love that woman! I also love the woman who put three exotic tea bags in the Christmas card she sent me. I thought of her with every sip!
One of the best things about Christmas, and birthdays as well, is that we always know exactly when they are because they are always on the same date every year. This should give one plenty of time to plan ahead and get the gift to the recipient at the proper time. It really is not that hard if one is thoughtful enough. I say that, but I have one hell of a time remembering my BFA's birthday in May. I know it is May for sure, so now I have dubbed May her birthday MONTH, and as long as I send her a card before the actual day, I am safe!!
Do you see what I am getting at here? It's not what you give, or how much you spend. It is the thought and love that go into each and every gift that leaves your hands, destined for the hands of someone who is special to you--and someone who thinks you are special as well.
What does this post have to do with artists and the art world?? Well, good gift-giving is an art. Art is a gift. ART+ART=ART!!!
This post is linked to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. Please go and check out the other entries!!!