Saturday, December 6, 2008

No Gifts ... Please!

A timely story I read recently about a Trinidad resident inspired me to change. To celebrate her birthday, she held a Wopila, which is a cultural ceremony of gift-giving where someone gives their things away instead of receiving gifts. Sort of a garage sale where everything is free, but your "shoppers" are your friends and family.

Sounds pretty cool. My mother and I have been round and round about gift-giving, and it has been an occasional and minor annoyance for me. I found some relief in the ancient Chinese system of aesthetics called
feng shui. I read that if someone gives you a gift you don't like, you owe it to yourself and that person, to (gracefully) get rid of it. 

While I fight the ease of telling "white lies" like my dog ate it,  I have left things for my dog Jack to "discover" and then "play" with - unsupervised. Anyone who knows Jack Russell dogs, knows they love destroying, I mean playing with new things. So, back to gift-giving, all the good intentions in the world, of trying to express love with that perfect gift that says I know you, and I know you'll love this, well it's just too heartbreaking of a process. I prefer a card if I can't have the person with me. My mother, who is more stubborn than I am sometimes, gets a list of things to choose from. This makes her gift a "winner" every-time. She doesn't always understand my choices, "Carhartt's again?" she'll ask?, but I always love the gift, and think of her fondly whenever I enjoy it. I wear my Carhartt's lots, thanks Ma.

Jason, my Inn's keeper, likes to give food gifts like preserves, or honey he harvested before his bees died, or gift certificates from his favorite local businesses like Katy's. I think these kinds of gifts are great for obvious reasons. So Ma, no gifts this year please, unless you want me to give them to Jack. Please send those chocolate-covered peanut butter balls though. If it's part of your traditional celebration, good-luck with the gift-giving. Happy Holidays!


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