Gifting and Grace

It’s that time of year. The time of year asking your children, your spouse, your siblings, and your parents what they’d like to receive for Christmas.  The answers get harder and harder to get. Thus, it gets harder to give.

Sometimes, when you really pay attention and listen well, you might receive a flash of a need or want that will give you an idea of what to give the loved ones on your list. Surely, the best gifts are given from the heart and something that will be gladly accepted and appreciated by the recipient.

But, it’s not always as easy as that. Two of my sons are self-proclaimed minimalists. I respect this very much. It means they don’t need “things” to be happy or to show others they are successful. They are both frugal and practical in their needs and wants. Frivolity does not really exist for either of them. Yet, while I respect that it does become somewhat difficult to buy a gift for a minimalist. Even websites that claim they have gifts for the minimalists among us offer frivolous and unnecessary “things.”  Fortunately, as of yesterday, I have a few solid ideas for both of my minimalist sons.

My husband causes similar problems. His needs are few. He desires little. What little he wants he takes care of himself. And, this causes a double problem as he also has a December birthday – which presents a double whammy in the gift-giving world. For example, he just got a new phone (because, unbelievably, it was cheaper than his trac phone plan). But, he needs a case.  I know he just plans to buy this himself, although it would be a needed, appreciated, and easy gift for me to purchase him.

I’m probably not much better. I really have everything I could want and am trying to not have “excess.” So, my gift ideas were practical things like easels to use for some of my professional presentations.  I know I am not much help either when asked: “what I want.”  I know as I age, I want less and less material things.

My folks, who traditionally send many too many presents at holiday time are incapacitated with health problems this year. As I emailed them last night regarding a gift I ordered that would be coming to them directly from the source, I nary had a clue that I would be inadvertently insinuating that we expected packages from them. My dad wrote back this morning to thank me but also let me know that they had not had a chance to do any shopping, and mom was feeling bad about it.

I took this as an opportunity to tell them that the gifts did not matter. At all. Our boys are all old enough to understand. During the last few years, I have wanted to let them know they needed to cut back on our gifts but could not seem to find the words without seeming ungrateful or callous. This was the chance to tell them. So, I did. Things don’t matter. People do.  If I could, I would gift my parents with a few more years of good health. Unfortunately, that can not be bought, just granted and I do pray they receive that grace.

2 Thoughts

  1. Some ideas for the minimalists (I have them in my life, too). Experiences – Groupon is a great source for this. Or a donation in their name to a cause they feel strongly about, or that you feel strongly about, with an explanation of why you gave where you did.
    My parents have always given too much, and this year may not give at all. But since there’s nothing we need, we too assured them it was fine. It’s tough, tho’, because my mom’s love language is gifts, so it’s hard for her to not give. My sister and I found treasures in their home – gifts they had bought and never given – and we’re giving them in their name this year. So there will be gifts from them after all.

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