Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Perfect Gift

Have I ever received the perfect gift?

Honestly, nothing is jumping right out at me. I've received some very nice gifts over the years, from crayoned pictures to sparkly gems, but not one stands out right now as the perfect one.

Have I given the perfect gift?

Again, nothing is jumping. I've given heartfelt gifts, and homemade gifts and gifts that I thought were perfect, only to receive a lukewarm reception. As of yet, I havent' heard an "oh, that's so perfect."

When you're husband is Jewish, pretty much all the Christmas traditions fall on you. Gift giving is no exception. And while Harvey is a talented gift giver, he only gives to me, leaving the rest of the purchasing a aquistions to me.

When the children were little, with not much in the line of preferences, things were easy. But I tended to go overboard. I'd start early, having a good bit done by early December, then coninue to shop during the final weeks. I'd buy everything I thought they might like. (Was I really buying things for me? Of course.) Christmas day would come, and I'd see the piles of toys, and it would make me a little nauseous. Who needs all that? Lately, I try just to buy what they really want. It's still "thing" driven and "wish list" driven. Not a lot of creativity.

I've gone down the homemade gift path. Scrapbooking and quilting being top hobbies, they were also my choice for handmade gifts. I've learned the hard way that people can't possibly appreciate the 50 or so hours that goes into making a quilt. The gifts that I thought would evoke tears and profusive praise, got perfunctory lookd throughs and "oh, did you make that out of old shirts?" Now, if I decide to do a homemade gift, it's small, quick, and I have no emotion attached to it. I do it because I enjoy the process, not because I expect it to be treasured.

I've tried to remember any perfect gifts I received growing up. I look at photos from Chistmases past. Chatty Cathy, baby dolls and Barbies. Later, clothes, a hairdryer. When we became adults, my parents gave up and just started sending money. They did there best.

This Christmas, I've wrapped a few things that I think will be very much enjoyed. Are they perfect? Who can say. Is what's perfect for the giver perfect for the receiver? Or vice versa?

As for me, what would be the perfect gift? Probably the gift of time. A date with my daughter. A date with my son. A trip with my husband. A trip with my family. If these gift aren't under the tree, then perhaps they'll be a gift I give to me.

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