I’m not sure when or exactly how I stopped the regular giving of Christmas presents, but it feels like it has been a long and slow progression from standard present-giving to no present-giving at all. This is not to say that I do not give love to my loved ones – I certainly do. It is just that I give my love in the form of concern, interest, and time. I plan out things for us to do together, and I get us to go do them together. I find a way to get myself halfway across the country to be with the family members who have been on their own in recent years, missing the family. And I make things like this seem like they are only natural, and why would anyone not do such a thing. Not as a way to show off or anything, of course, but because they are just so easy to me. Kind of like the ends justifying the effort, and therefore making the effort almost no strain at all.
And so far as giving physical presents are concerned, I do still give those from time to time in life. However, I give them, because there I something I want to give to someone, there is something I want to do for someone. It usually is not tied to any particular holiday or day. It is tied merely to the fact that I care about the person, and there is something I want to give to him/her. I re-made an acquaintance a few years ago, and, after only two meet-ups and discussions, I left a present at the person’s front door in secret. It was a book I felt sure this person would love, and that I wanted this person to be able to experience, after our discussions together. (Turns out that it was a total hit.) I’m not sure we ever saw one another again, due to various circumstances, but that was okay. That is life sometimes. The point was that I gave the present freely and genuinely, and expected and wished for nothing in return. My only hope was that the book be enjoyed, and it was.
For me, that kind of thing is normal. I give, because I want to give, and there usually is a something specific that I want to give. At Christmas, I used to feel a need to give to everyone I know. And I would be almost frustrated at being unable to do such a thing. I guess this is how that situation has evolved over recent years, with last year, alone in Japan and with very little income, being a rather large factor in how Christmas looks this year for me. When I accepted that it really wouldn’t work to do most anything physical for people, I suddenly noticed how I didn’t really like the whole situation in the first place.
It’s like how I made strong efforts to figure out what kind of scarf a friend of mine would use, and made one for him for Christmas. And he gave me some socks from home, that were socks for a type of shoe that I never even wear, and were a color that I definitely don’t even own (and on purpose). We definitely discussed this all after the fact, and even laughed about it. We just had totally different attitudes toward the gift-giving. I had thought about giving him a good scarf a long time before Christmas. Due to my laziness mostly, I believe, I didn’t end up making it until the week before Christmas, using Christmas as my back-up plan for giving him the scarf (kind of a no later than this date thing for giving him the scarf, because i might never do it otherwise). But I had found out material and color and style and everything that would be appropriate and most helpful for his scarf. He, on the other hand, had wanted to give me a Christmas present, and so looked for something that would be suitable for a Christmas present between new friends. His gift was totally appropriate for such standards. Quite frankly, though, spending time together would have been much more valuable to and appreciated by me than a pair of socks that have nothing to do with me. Plus, it’s a better way of life, being less wasteful with our resources. 😛
Anyway, this all just has to do with the fact that I don’t like doing the mandatory or obligatory presents for holidays, and might even dislike it. Yes, I like that it gives a specific opportunity to consider something special to give to another. No, I don’t like how often we give/receive things no one seems to want or to find useful in life in our society right now. And so I have let go of participating in it. I think my dad’s side of the family will struggle for at least a few more years with the idea, still wondering why they should give to me, if I am not giving to them – hint: I have told them that I do not need anything given to me for Christmas or my birthday, but, if they desperately want to give me something, they can give me a pony. I think a pony is the only thing for which I have asked for my birthday since I was around 13 or 14. Not that I expect one, by any means, but it would be spectacular to have a pony given to me for my birthday. Otherwise, there’s nothing that comes to mind without feeling wasteful in the world.
It kind of takes away a bit of the feeling of Christmas, not exchanging presents with everyone. However, I currently am happy without the presents – all I ever really want is time together with the ones I love. The presents are almost upsetting to me, considering my background with stuff and feeling incredibly wasteful if I ever get rid of anything. I usually prefer receiving nothing, so I don’t have to feel bad at either not using it or at wanting to give it away or throw it away, when its time has really come to an end.