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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

THE custom of giving gifts on Christmas is apropos to the spirit of the feast.

Choosing the right gift, however, can be nerve-wracking, especially to one who is on a shoe string budget.

Even to one who is known to be downright poor, the pressure to express one’s love through something can be stressful.

But does it have to be?

The problem lies in the definition of what a gift must be.

Instead of being something that communicates the deep feelings one has for the recipient, it has become tainted with how it must project a certain image: The material gift must match the social status of the recipient, otherwise the faux pas of giving an “unworthy gift” would expose the giver’s lack of etiquette.

It may even trigger a cold war, such as the one between a friend of mine and her mother-in-law: My friend committed the “social sin” of giving her nouveau riche in-law an inexpensive gift!

Or, the giver is focused on himself: The gift must show how moneyed one is, or how creative is one’s art of selecting a unique gift.

To minimize the stress this Christmas, let’s focus on what we deeply know is a lack, a void, or a desire in a person to whom we give an expression of our love.

You’ll be surprised; what may really please your recipient, including one of “high status,” may not be a material gift, such as:
A certain millionaire Cagayana who lives alone may have everything one can think of but is lonely because her grown-up children who live abroad no longer come home to visit.

A visit from her niece who does not know what to give her this Christmas may be the gift she desires.

You could write on a homemade card a “promissory note” that you would babysit for a friend so he and his wife can spend some intimate time together away from home.

Accompany a loved one who is afraid to see a doctor.

A certain writer lost all his teeth to tooth decay, and all because he feared dentists.

Who knows, all he may have needed was to be accompanied by a friend.
If you know someone like this person, make a wacky card that says, “I’m your molar support in 2014.” (It turns out, this is what the nouveau riche mother- in-law needed most!)

If you have the talent, do a makeover for a friend who has a low self-esteem.

Keep clippings and websites for someone writing his thesis.

Take someone who thinks he/she has a religious vocation to a vocation seminar.

Find a husband/wife for someone you love. I know someone who has succeeded in matching up two “hopeless cases” as her Christmas gifts.
Of course, the void/desire may also be a material need.

You may not have the financial capacity to fill it; still, you can let your loved one know you are giving of yourself.

For example: You may not be able to give the needed house and lot to your loved one, but you can assist him with the paperwork.

Naturally, if you have a lot of mullah, good taste and sincerity are no problem — give that house and lot this Christmas.

Still, a maid was able to give Queen Elizabeth a gift she wanted most: a jar of her favorite homemade jam.

There is a void in every person, even the richest person in the world, which you can fill with love.

Jesus became man to teach us about this kind of gift-giving—or self-giving.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 18, 2013.


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