A Really Nice Gift

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

December 9th, 2010

Okay, I was in my car the other day scanning for Christmas music (it was snowing; traffic was slow; I had just done some shopping).

I landed on Delilah on our local channel that plays some pretty good Christmas music this time of year. Amy Grant, WHAM, Nat King Cole…you get the idea. I’m not an overly big fan of Delilah, the semi-saccharin (IMHO) radio-show host…but sometimes she does draw me in with some story or dedication. THAT HAVING BEEN SAID, during this particular evening Christmas-song scan, I landed on Delilah.

A young woman had called into the program and shared how, in these economic times, she and her husband had been struggling. That she wanted to purchase some ‘really nice gifts’ for her family, but that they couldn’t afford it. That she had been baking cookies and the like to share with her family for the past couple of years as gifts, but that she wanted to get them something ‘really nice.’

Now, I’ll say right now, I am not opposed to Christmas gifts. I do my own share of shopping, although I’ve chosen, like other things in my life, to simplify this holiday. I bake some (kick-ass) chocolate chip cookies in the form of Christmas trees and distribute them to my siblings and their children during this holiday. It takes a lot of time, but I make a day of it…putting some Christmas shows on the TV and feeling the heat of the oven as it makes frosty patterns on the kitchen windows. It’s something that I think is pretty special. For me and for the recipients. A gift of love and toil.

I don’t hold anything against this young woman who called into Delilah. But my FIRST THOUGHT was, ‘gee, I think the fact that she took the time and effort to make some baked goods for her family IS a really nice gift. And I expected Delilah to chime in and point this out.’

INSTEAD, Delilah and her program did some kind of gift-award intervention, to rescue her from this unwarranted Christmas crisis. They made this young woman’s Christmas wish come true (by giving her some money and/or gift cards so that she could buy something ‘really nice’ for her family).

I don’t hold anything against the Delilah program. They, too, are giving, and that’s wonderful. This is the season of giving. What rankles me is the apparent misperception that giving of our time, our talents, our love, and our presence seems to rank lower on the ‘really nice gift scale’ than something purchased from a store. When did our American consumer culture get so skewed in its thinking that we don’t see the true meaning of Christmas giving?

Charles Schultz got it right. Just watch “The Charlie Brown Christmas Special.”

Dr. Seuss got it right. Just watch “The Grinch.”

Even an old, first season episode (and I’m going to lose some credibility on this one) of “Little House on the Prairie” got it right, when Half-Pint (aka Melissa Gilbert) was so grateful to receive one piece of candy and a homemade doll from her mother (Caroline, aka Karen Grassle), while she sold her beloved pony to Mr. Oleson (for Nellie) so she could replace her mother’s broken wood stove. A wonderful, loving sacrifice. The part that always brings me to tears is when Caroline tries to run to Laura, and Charles (aka Michael Landon) holds her back. Caroline tells him ‘But she loves that pony.’ And Charles says, ‘Let her do this for you.’

<Insert lump in throat.>

When did we lose the balance of what constitutes a ‘really nice gift?’ Somewhere between the prairie and Sex and the City, I think.

I challenge you to think about your own gift giving and receiving…and decide what you believe this Christmas season…to be a really nice gift.

 

For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at
www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.

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