I kind of gave up on Christmas presents over the past handful or so of years.
You see, Christmas is about the story of Jesus the Christ, not about giving a present to everyone we’re ‘supposed’ to like and be related to… and I feel wrong pulling a holiday so far away from its foundation.
Plus, this whole consumerism thing has really gone a bit out of whack in recent years, and it might just make me sick, if I were to think about how much waste is caused, first) in terms of physical items, and then, second) in terms of mental effort.
We work so hard to give gifts to people, and we usually fail at bringing them the joy we were hoping to share with them – we want them to feel our love, but why must our love be so shallow and know them so poorly that we gift them ‘crap’ they never really liked and now feel obligated to use?
So, my goal has been to find ways to share my love with the world instead… I’m not so sure I’ve done a great job of achieving that goal, but I’ve been working on it.
Plus, for gift-giving, I do that normally in life – when there is a gift I want to give to someone, I do my best to make that happen, whenever it arises… I don’t wait ten more months for the excuse of Christmas.
Someone once told me that I must be an awesome friend, because I gave him a book and out of nowhere, shortly after we’d really met – just because our conversation had led me to believe he would really love reading the book.
I kind of shrugged it off at the time, I think, but I’ve come to see how valuable that is nowadays, where people do often give because they feel obligated to give, and not because there is something they truly want to share with the individual.
Anyway, the whole reason I brought all of this up, is because I was given a check this evening, as a Christmas present.
I had already said that I didn’t need it – separately to both parties involved – and that I didn’t expect anything to be given to me – and I’ve said the latter for years, more or less – … and yet the check was given me in double the amount from years past.
It made me want to cry with frustration as I examined the check (and I did actually tear up from that a bit)… I didn’t know what to do about it.
After a quick but genuine text chat with my brother, I mentally accepted the money, finally able to see that this was their way of showing that they cared about me.
Plus, it gives me an opportunity to do something great with the money that they likely never would have done with it – it doesn’t have to become just plain groceries for me alone… it is, instead, an opportunity for good.
I was hesitant to reject the money, because I didn’t want to leave them feeling rejected by me, nor did it make any sense whatsoever to pass up money being given rather freely to me at the present point in my life (remember the grad school and total uncertainty situation).
And yet, I felt utterly pathetic for having been given money in the first place – like sad charity, is how it felt for me.
But it worked out, thanks to my brother’s wonderful alternative approach:
Hannah, you should accept the gifts people give you. They want you to have them
Be grateful you have people in your life that have those resources
Use the money for something good, be empowered by it. Don’t pity yourself, instead, make its value exponential
Also, consider how much more good you can do with that money vs what they’d do with it. A transfer of wealth is much more than a gift
And I can see that now the way he saw it.
The funny part about it is that I had said that I felt similarly about a gift he, my brother, had just given me, too.
I had known that my view was not so good nor healthy, and I was glad to have a new way to see it all, as well as something beautiful to go do with these gifts given to me.