Saturday, December 26, 2009

Many Happy Returns

My granddaughter wanted to go to the store today. My daughter explained that this wasn't a good day to go anywhere near a store. When asked why, she explained that this was a day when lots of people liked to exchange the Christmas gifts they've received. This just raised another question.

Why do they want to exchange their gifts?

I don't have an answer for that. I've never participated in the manic exchanges of this day. I don't even understand them. Love it or hate it, I want the gift that I have been given.

Admittedly, there are very few that have fallen into the hate category. Perhaps the most disappointing were some exquisitely wrapped and very expensive gifts that I received from a friend one year.

We had exchanged gifts for over twenty years. Each year we decided on a day that would be set aside just for us. We'd begin with a special event - a movie, a Christmas concert, or a dinner out. Then we'd spend a couple of hours next to the tree. Listening to Christmas music, sharing our thoughts and exchanging the gifts we had selected. We knew each other well and our gifts reflected that knowledge.

My friend started her own business and for several years she struggled to make it a success. Some of my favorite gifts come from those lean times. Gifts from bargain stores, gifts made by hand, gifts that made me laugh, gifts that touched my heart. How precious to know that I had been in her thoughts throughout the year as she watched for special gifts for me.

Finally the business took off. Profits reached a million. She moved out of her parents' basement and into a lovely home. She expanded her business staff and hired a housekeeper and a personal assistant. She devoted the saved time to making more money.

One December, my friend could not find time for our usual exchange. She asked if it could be postponed until January. That was okay with me. It was a special time no matter when it happened. Shortly before that day approached, she left me know she couldn't get together until late in the day. Could we skip our special event and just do the present exchange? Again I agreed. When I arrived, there was no sense of relaxation and luxurious time to spend with an old friend. We got right down to business and started opening presents.

The presents were beautifully wrapped. The contents were expensive and disappointing. It was as if they had been chosen by someone who didn't know me. Which was exactly what had happened. My gifts had been selected and wrapped by the personal assistant.

I didn't like those presents and I never used them. But exchange them? What exchange could erase the hurt and sense of loss? I gave them to charity, I learned from them, I moved on.

Yesterday's gifts were a happy contrast to the ones from that Christmas past. My heart was warmed by the love and thought that went into them.

I hope that you had a wonderful day. I hope that your gifts were filled with love. I hope that your gifts will never be exchanged.



  1. It was a pretty good Christmas, wasn't it. We still have the evidence strewn around the livingroom floor. I think the photos of Santa may be what our girl remembers though. ~ Calico Contemplations

  2. Interesting insights.

    I have known folks who returned items (with tags and receipts) and re-purchased the same items ... just to get after-Christmas sale prices.