Christmas Eve is a time when most people have giving on their minds. Whether it’s unfinished shopping or what tomorrow’s giving will look like.
We are told generosity is the most important virtue to derive from the holiday season. Are we speaking in volume of gifts given though, or in terms of a generous nature? Though of course not mutually exclusive, the more important thing is Generosity of Spirit - having a preclusion towards generosity always.
This season marked my first as an adult giving gifts for the holidays. Suddenly I was very conscious of the fact that I was making money- by way of having a full time job- instead of living off of student loans. While I had been knitting Christmas gifts since October, I realized that those people I couldn’t knit for, I could buy things for. Nice things, instead of the limited options at $10 and under.
Bizarre. Wouldn’t the bought gifts just seem slim next to the handmade ones, I wondered, no matter the increased cost? I was almost embarrassed to add them to the spread of presents I had yet to wrap. Such little effort was expended on those bought gifts. I just found them, and got them. No sizing, no searching for materials, no working on it on my commute. Just ordered, delivered, wrapped, labeled, done. Most people buy all of their gifts. Unimaginable that they could be so distanced from the experience of giving by not having their hand in the gifts given.
Appearances, of course, are not where truth ends. No matter if the gift is made or bought, it’s the sentiment behind it that matters more. In true epistolary form, I’ve come to the conclusion that the holiday card is truly the most generous of gifts to give. Especially in volume, writing holiday cards is an exercise in generosity. Words can mean so much more than things. Words are feelings, love, understanding, forgiveness. Words can show true care much more readily than a physical gift with all of its histories and allusions.
No matter what the gifts you are giving or receiving, let’s all pay attention the messages behind them. The little ways in which we are generous with each other. And if you’d care to join me, let’s plan to write more cards for every holiday in 2016.