Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Thursday, January 3, 2013

G is for Gift-giving

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 artArt is a gift.  ART+ART=ART!!!

This post is linked to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.  Please go and check out the other entries!!!


Lola said...

So agree with you, Judie, that good gift-giving is an art - which you have totally mastered!

All my very best wishes to you for 2013!

Annesphamily said...

Hi Judie! I know exactly what you mean! I think people get so wrapped up in silly things at the holidays. We have a patient who has struggled with really hard times. One year she said she liked my Christmas socks as I always buy holiday socks for myself. She said she only bought Christmas socks. For Valentines Day I sent her a Secret Admired card with two pairs of Valentine socks inside. She knew it was me and said I really made her day when she was having a lousy time!
Had you given me a handwritten book of poetry I would still have it! I am very sentimental and love that type of gift! I have boxes filled with cards from my folks and relatives who are gone but not forgotten. Those things mean a lot to me.
My Son-in-law drew my name at Christmas for our Secret Santa and one gift I received and LOVED was a 2013 Barbie calendar. I love when someone knows what I like. I often put teabags in cards for friends. It is a nice touch and a very comforting gift. I love getting cards and next year, God willing, I am going to be better sending special wishes to all my bloggy friends The year really got away from me.
On that note I better get busy and put up my own Alphabe Thursday post! Hee Hee!

Happy New Year to a favorite friend and thanks for this wonderful post.

Hugs Anne

Pondside said...

It is definitely an art! This post is sure to stir some thought!

Karen S. said...

Artful words a truth- absolutely! That unexpected surprise, or gift totally out of the norm is first most wonderful just because it was special for you, no matter what it is! We used to do the secret Santa gift giving with my husband's large family (mostly all close to the Canadian border) until I discovered it was rigged, by a couple of sisters and it got to be more about just Christmas gifts and Thanksgiving- and never just a random hello phone call on a nothing Tuesday or any other day- and so we opted out of it! Best idea ever. AND! I'm not a good receiver, but I do love being the one who surprises- and that feeling is gift enough for me! It's good to see you posting- I've missed you!

Jo said...

I am still in the cash strapped category ... so this year, i made almost every gift .. I was worried that some people might not appreciate them but they went over very very well! not only did it give me something fun to do but I was able to do something that spoke to each person ... it has always been just the thought ... and love ... that goes into the giftgiving ... wonderful blog post!

BECKY said...

Hello Judie! Great post, as always! And I particularly loved this: ART + ART = ART!!!....Now THAT'S my kind of "math" :)

Erin said...

I agree! It's always the thought that counts. Thoughtful gifts mean so much more than expensive ones. Knowing that someone cares enough to take the time to listen to what you're interested in and get you something that fits accordingly - now that's a precious, priceless gift!
Great post!

Bee said...

Gift-giving is definitely an art. I love listening closely to my husband and sister, observing them throughout the year so I can get them just the right thing for birthdays and Christmas.

VBR said...

giving someone a gift that you have put thought to, is really a lovely action. you let someone know that they matter, not just because of the gift, but because you actually listen to them. and, as far as I am concerned that book of poems written by you was priceless, and should have been treasured. i am sorry that happened. I hope you know that so many of us here love to read your posts and we treasure them!

Carol L McKenna said...

Great post Judy ~ I did another take on 'gift giving' and had my family limit the price to $20 or $25 as we all have too much 'stuff' ~ so that worked well for all ~ I would rather have their 'presence' then presents ~

Great to hear from you again ~ Happy New Year!

Splendid Little Stars said...

My favorite gifts are not necessarily large or expensive, but they are gifts from the heart.
sorry about the poems. That is a gift that is far more meaningful than many carelessly, quickly bought presents. by far.

Gattina said...

As we are a very small family of cause Christmas gifts are more important. Lots of little boxes are laying wrapped under the tree ! I have got a digital photo frame, so I can put all pictures I want in one frame and it's like a slide show ! I was very happy about this gift. Giving cookies to garbadge or mail man would be impossible, I think they wouldn't come anymore, they want money ! The garbadgemen tried, but I didn't open the door, I think they are payed for their job, but my mail lady is such a nice person and she raises her daughter alone so I gave her a 5 € bill.

JJ said...

Judie: Great post! Meaningful gift-giving is an art, and one is better off not giving a gift at all if it is meaningless. It is nice to know there is another black sheep of the family. I certainly qualify.

Ames said...

Hi Judie. Missing you. And you are Welcome! Love ya mean It!~Ames

ChrisJ said...

Sometimes the best gift is having everyone close. We could all do with less "I want."

Gail said...

wonderful post.

The one that disappeared made me cry. What love.

Jenny said...


It sounds like that friend knows how special you are!

Thank heavens you didn't leave the popcorn in the pantry until February or something!

I love those clown noses. They are invaluable when days are grim.

This was really a Grand link for the letter "G".

I need to give you a call one of these days. We're in the process of moving (I am sooooo excited) and things couldn't be busier!

Hugs and Happy G's!


Bethe77 said...

I loved reading this post on gift giving. It surely put a lot of things in prespective. Very thought provoking. Thank you