Best gifts can’t be bought

Here we are, smack dab in the middle of the holiday season.

Here we are, smack dab in the middle of the holiday season.

For some of us lucky individuals it is pretty easy to be all jolly and happy. For us, the joy of the season comes naturally, like a gift we are pretty sure we are going to receive, even if we have been known to be on the wrong side of Santa’s list at least once or twice.

For those of us who are so lucky, Christmas is one big unwrapped present that brings lots of good and delightful joys from start to finish.

It is, of course, important to remember what is good and delightful and not go to some mall hoping you will find it on the shelf.

You can’t!

I set out with great confidence the other day to finish my Christmas shopping.

Of course, it didn’t work. I got stuck in the first store I went into which was a store where there was supposed to be five million things that would be suitable for young girls. I happen to have two granddaughters who fall into that category, so that is where I took myself, my hopes and a good portion of my last paycheck!

It turned out there were five million things or more there for young girls. That was, of course, the problem. Which of these five million things would they like?

Would they like a hair band with a bow on top for their hair or would that be too uncool? Would they like a diary or a book that says “this book is awesome” or are those dumb gifts that only a grandma would buy? Would they like a pretty scarf? And what is pretty, anyway? Should the scarf be fluffy with ruffles or simple and sleek so they could wind it around their neck and toss their hair, and have other girls look at them in envy, not just because of the scarf, but because they had such a cool grandma.

That would be me, of course!

I wondered around the store, picking up this, holding up that and feeling more and more confused. I began thinking about how nice a glass of wine would be at that moment and immediately felt guilty because it was, after all, only two in the afternoon. I looked around to see if any of the other shoppers could read my thoughts. I don’t think they could, but just in case, I slunk out of the store, head down.

“Onwards,” I told myself. “Shopping is fun,” I muttered, but even I didn’t believe myself.

I arrived home, tired and discouraged, dropping the bag containing the headband with a bow on top, a scarf somewhere between fluffy and sleek and a book that says, “this book is awesome” on the big chair in the living room to be wrapped later.

I felt like a bad shopper, a complete and utter failure. And for my three grandsons, I still had nothing.

Later, when my practical self kicked in, I realized that spending one second, even one iota of a second on worrying about buying the perfect gift was a total and utter waste of time.

The season of Christmas is such a short time, and, in this weary old world, there are many, many people who have so little reason to celebrate, to experience joy of any kind. For them, Christmas, with its lights and its message of hope and cheer and goodwill can seem not much more than mockery.

Some of us are lucky enough to have been given the gift of the Christmas season wrapped up nicely with things we just can’t buy, but if we are very lucky, we get anyway.

Health. Family. Friends. Laughter and hugs. Music. Snow! No!!! Not snow, what am I thinking? We have had far too much snow, already.

But, it is true, the best gifts really cannot be bought, so shopping should take a back seat to what really is important, and, more often than not, what we already have.

And so may each and every one receive the gifts you don’t have to buy, if you aren’t lucky enough to have them already.

And in the process may you have the best Christmas ever!

— On The Other Side


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