Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tis the gift......

Christmas is always a conundrum for me. Its billed as a special, romantic, joyous time of year.
The build up is tremendous and the follow through often pales in comparison.
Family drama, angst, expectations, resentments and bitterness all come to a head bout this time of year. The regrets of the year past blend in with those in history.
The holiday season supposedly makes up for the rest of the year and holidays past.
“This one is gunna be the best ever” or “Next year it’ll....”
Never has and ya know, they never will.
The songs of Christmas’ past attempt to help us remember the good memories.
For many, there aren’t many good memories to draw from.

Holiday gifts are another build up and expectation. Gifts represent the apologies and sentiments one is unable to express in words or actions through the year.

This year I decided to forgo the holiday gift list in favour of occasional gifts through the year as I think of someone or see something one would enjoy or appreciate, letting them know I think of them.  making a list and stressing to fulfill it seemed counter to what I wanted the season to be for me.
The importance of gifts was great as I grew up. Mother would always make an announcement that everyone got the same dollar amount in gifts and sometimes even tucked 5$ or 10$ into an envelope to keep it even. She made sure each gift was narrated as it was opened with the story of why she got the gift, how much it took for her to obtain the gift and so on. This would drag on an on, finally resulting in a guilt that surpassed the enjoyment.

Growing up Id look at catalogs, dreaming of giving my parents something really big, shiny, new and expensive to let them know how much they meant to me.
It was inevitable that Id be found looking at beautiful catalogs and marking pages of what i could “get” to express my feelings. My parents would accuse/tease me of having too big of dreams and a champagne taste with no budget. At age 5, 6, 8, 10 teased or ridiculed the situation,
Id see them driving new vehicles, wearing expensive clothing, eating in restaurants often and going on long weekend trips. The message was simply confusing.

It was always expected that at least one gift would bring great emotion. It was usually the last gift of the exchange and the build up would be palpable. This would be accompanied by phrases like, “I hope its the right one, I wasn’t sure and I went to 4 places to make sure”, “you didn’t get much for your birthday this year so...” or “ I know you wouldn’t want what I was going to do so I got this because I knew you’d like it”.
This blended throughout the year, every act of kindness was that of payment and or expectation.
Affection and sentiment could not be express verbally or in simple acts throughout the year.
There was always a careful maneuvering involved. making sure the timing and tone was right to achieve maximum effect.

After all was done and the gifts were opened, batteries installed, barking due to noise had died down and the thrill of it all had quelled, came the discussion of each gift and why someone may have given it and not something else or how much the person may have spent and so on.
This became a time of critique and an editorial of their love and or friendship.

Now the kicker was when a few days or weeks after the holiday Id hear “You had a good Christmas now go clean the barn” or “fun time is over..” There was always a payback insinuated.

It came to me over time that the gifts I gave would most likely not meet neither my expectations or the recipients.
This carried into what I had to offer in my relationships, especially the ones that meant the most to me. For I felt a lack of quantity or quality to give them to show how much I cared and how important they were to me. My gift wasn’t enough. They were most always accompanied with apology and doubt. Instinctively I gave various gifts in attempt to satisfy, to compensate and to prove worthiness to receive the gifts being given to me.

Definition of Gift
Anything given; anything voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation; a present; an offering.

The act, right, or power of giving or bestowing; as, the office is in the gift of the President.

Some quality or endowment given to man by God; a preeminent and special talent or aptitude; power; faculty; as, the gift of wit; a gift for speaking.

A voluntary transfer of real or personal property, without any consideration. It can be perfected only by deed, or in case of personal property, by an actual delivery of possession.

To endow with some power or faculty.

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