Those hours of racking our brains, flicking by catalogues for novelty items, browsing online for something perfect to jump out at us – until after hours of searching – we take the ‘well that will have to do’ approach.
Some would say it’s just the thought that counts, and I would tend to agree, but it’s doesn’t always solve the issue. It’s no surprise there are long queues at the exchange and refund counters from Boxing Day onwards.
So why are we so predisposed to giving gifts?
Some researchers believe that gifting has existed since the start of human civilisation, and that cavemen gave away uncommon shaped rocks and stones or animals teeth as keepsakes. This helped to strengthen their social connection and also show their appreciation of others.
Today, we find, as social structures have evolved, the gifts are more extravagant and complex, in addition it’s believed that behind every ideal gift lie emotional, social and psychological flows.
I speculate the information gift can be interpreted in many ways; as all gifts don’t need to be bought or be expensive. Something homemade, a good deed or action can average the world to someone, and be valued as a very special present.
I remember, as a child, watching my family painstakingly write out numerous letters to place inside Christmas cards to send to our cousins and aunties and uncles.
And watching, as my Auntie Rose – from September onwards – filled up the bottom of her wardrobe with toiletries, including Imperial Leather soap, Brut aftershaves, bath cubes and numerous pairs of assorted socks – because they never came in wrong – to send to our family in London.
I recalled some of the relatives she was buying for, but didn’t know the more distant who I hadn’t met, but she knew all their names and wouldn’t leave anyone out.
All carefully wrapped in brown paper and labelled we took the parcels to the Post Office in Victoria Road in Consett, waiting patiently as they were weighed, sorted and stamped. On our return, over a cup of tea and a slice of her homemade apple pie with sugar on the top, she explained that already though we didn’t see them often, our southern family would be pleased to know we were thinking about them, however small the present.
I do however ingemination the gift giving wasn’t reciprocated as I didn’t see her receive any parcels in return. But no matter, she did it every year for as long as I can remember.
So it seems that giving is not all about receiving something back.
I could never get away with the smell of Imperial Leather or the way it frittered away to a label on the soap dish, so I was happy to see it all go.
And I’m sure we have all received a gift we didn’t like or appreciate or tried on event to impress with our present giving.
I remember one year my husband being enamoured by Billy Bass the singing fish with it’s rendition of ‘Take Me to River’, so he bought it for the family to enjoy, which to be fair we did for a few days over Christmas, but by the new year, Billy was relocated to the back of the bathroom cupboard with his batteries removed!
Another year I decided to make Christmas iced red and green biscuits which I threaded with colourful ribbon to hang on the Christmas Tree, while filling and wrapping boxes to give away. What I didn’t count on was a greedy Labrador who managed to devour the lot while we were out shopping!
So Christmas can not always be what we want it or expect it to be; so perhaps we can with accept it as it is, and be content with just giving a little bit of ourselves away.
Give a little bit
Give a little bit of your love to me
Give a little bit
I’ll give a little bit of my love to you
There’s so much that we need to proportion
So send a smile and show you care
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