Christmas wasn’t feeling very much like Christmas this year. My husband and I have barely seen each other and presents under the tree were few and far between. Money, as regular readers probably know, has been tight in our house.
Most years I shop with great care and anticipation, picking out something that is just right. The earrings that I know my sister will love, the shirt that my brother needs, the perfect toy for my ever young-at-heart husband. I love finding the gift. I even love the act of gift wrapping, making the presentation as much a part of the offering as the object itself. I hated the fact that this year I had to deny myself the pleasure. There were no shopping expeditions to the mall, no moments of losing myself in a boutique store, no ridiculously long lines at the post office (okay, so I was not sad to miss that part of the Christmas experience). Overall the season was feeling a little hollow.
It was only within the last week that I made the sudden announcement to my husband that I had broken our vow to not do presents this year and had spent $20 on a gift for him as well as $30 to send gifts to my niece and nephew. I simply couldn’t help myself. I realize, of course, that giving is not the meaning of the season, but for me it embodies the love, thoughtfulness, and affection I want to share with my loved ones. The absence of giving was casting a shadow over the season for me. Unfortunately my sudden announcement sent my husband into a last minute gift-finding panic, but in the end he chose the perfect gift; a piece of himself (in the form of his artwork), a gift that no one else could have given to me. And this morning I waited with excitement while my gift to him was unwrapped, watched with pleasure as a smile spread across my husband’s face, and I smiled back. Perhaps I wasn’t able to buy all the things I would have liked to buy for him and maybe it’s not the best Christmas we will ever have, but in the end it we shared a piece of ourselves and an understanding of one another. It turned out to be a merry little Christmas after all.