Honoring the Day

Joan, Carol, Sandra & Donna - Christmas Eve 1972

Christmas is coming, in case you haven't noticed.  In the days ahead, some zaniness shall unfold - parties, gifts, wishes fulfilled, cravings indulged. It's not a bad time to think beyond the busy-ness to what you are really bringing to the day. 

When I was a kid, we didn't think we were lacking for much, but living with limited means was really a part of our every day thinking. We had a sense of gift-giving, not only as an object exchanged, but an event to be planned for. We got inventive about certain things. We would sometimes exchange things like colorfully drawn coupons for household chores, or the ever-popular back rubs. Gifts handmade by the giver were especially prized, and doing them in time sometimes required some sneaky spy-work and midnight hours. Sometimes we would plan an elaborate scavenger hunt around the house, wrapping notes inside one box after another, to send the giftee to another corner of the house, to eventually open the true gift. We gave and received gifts in the conventional way, too, of course, but guess which ones I remember most? 

I had a friend, who, for many occasions had exchanged not objects, but experiences with her family at holidays. They would use it as an opportunity to see a local play production, or an musical event. I always thought that was a clever way to observe the event and honor each other. Over the years, I have tried to take note of inventive ways that families use to bring a spirit of fun and lightness to the event, honoring relationships over objects, and wellness over gluttony. 

So as you're giving and receiving, this holiday season, have all the fun you can have, eat well, and indulge a little. But never forget a gift given is really just a memento - a remembrance of a time, a person, and they way in which it was given. 

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