A couple of years ago the group of women I have been getting together with regularly for the last decade explored the possibility of discontinuing the practice of giving one another gifts at Christmas. It was a very good thing to think about because all too often our homes and lives become so crowded with things there isn’t a whole lot of room, time and space for people and relationships.
Of course, as friends who have cared for and supported one another for years, we definitely knew what was important about our relationship wasn’t the gifts we gave each other but the time we spent together. We decided in the end to continue the tradition of giving each other presents and I have to say I love it. Not because I need more things. I certainly don’t. But because of the love and care my friends demonstrate as they select the gifts.
This year I got a beautiful handmade card from my friend Debbie along with a box full of all kinds of different Christmas treats she had baked herself, including mincemeat tarts with a star design in the crust. I can hardly wait to share them with my family.
Esther went to Ten Thousand Villages, a store that sells fair trade items. Your purchase benefits artisans in developing countries who are trying to support their families. Esther’s package for us included fair trade hot chocolate mix, some pungent and spicy cinnamon sticks to stir the hot chocolate and nuts from South America to nibble on as we did so.
My friend Glenys had done some research and found out just how many health benefits there are from having humidifiers in your home and so she had bought one for each of us. The small steamers were inside a lovely piece of glassware. The gift was good for us and good- looking all at the same time.
I had bought a book for each of my friends and spent a long time thinking about what would suit each of them. Unfortunately, I chose a book for one friend that she had already read twice. She accused me of knowing her reading tastes “too well” but happily traded books with one of the other women.
It is certainly true people can go overboard with gift-giving and often we do receive things we don’t want or can’t use. I don’t have to get gifts from my friends to know they are my friends, but I have to admit a gift chosen with care by someone with whom you have a meaningful relationship is awfully nice.