SO Christmas is over. And I feel cheap and dirty. Not to mention totally panic stricken. All causes aside, I think I am taaking a break from Christmas. Next year, I don't want to exchange gifts, but rather give them if I feel so moved, and receive them if someone is floating that river with me.
For many reasons, but perhaps this one being the most influential: My family is quite large, and really only growing as people mature and marry and add to our family tree. So We draw one name, for which we buy a one gift for that so named person, and then kids and our immediate family if we desire. The person I drew, my uncle, is not necessarily hard to buy for. A real guys-guy into hunting and fishing and animal-killing of all kinds, appreciate anything remotely related to that. I however, am on my way to hardcare veganism (*Note that I am still a carnivore, though) and really have a hard time just giving into that. Now...these are the things I ask myself: Would he like it? yes. Does he need it? No. If I don't buy it for him, would he go buy it for himself (and does he ablely have the means to do so)? yes. So why would I want to buy something like that? Isn't the point of gift giving, not to give into the every wish and whim of someone, but to surprise and delight them with something they thought they never needed or wanted? Maybe that is not your idea of christmas shopping, but I know that I hate receiving purly practical gifts, nearly as much as I hate receiving gifts I could have bought for myself. They are not much of a gift, if they fall into either category, in my mind.
I had an idea to make a donation in his name, something in line with my undle's beliefs and something I know he would appreciate though probably not to himself, and give him a gift representative of that donation for his own use. When I presented this idea to my parents for their input, I was whole-heartedly denied. "That's not really thinking of him." said one. "Would you want someone to do that for your christmas gift?" said the other. YES! A resounding yes! So with this in the back of my mind, I went about thinking of what I could get/give my uncle. I was quite shocked that before I could even get something for him, my parents bought him something, stuck my name on it and mailed it to him for me. YEAH!
Fast forward a few weeks...and my mom opens a small box with a plastic cow and goat inside. My dad reads the card that says they have contributed to a family gift, giving a family in Africa a cow, goat, some sheep, geese, ducks, seeds, school supplies and bibles. They loved it. They fawned over it. They said "What a great idea!" Literally. Those words came out of my fathers mouth. I say this not to make them look bad, I wouldn't want that necessarily. But to bring light to the fact that we all are incrediblly hypocritical. So much so that if it's come from one person it's a horrible idea, and if the same idea comes from someone else, it's a great one. Maybe it's in the presentation. Maybe it's in the givers intention. Maybe they actually hated it still, and are only appearing hypocritical to save face to the family that they love, and only I know the truth.
I do know, that I should have given like I wanted to. I should stop asking for permission. And start asking for forgiveness. They say it's always easier that way. But Forgiveness is so much harder to ask for. Permission is harder to get.