My husband and I were very disappointed when we learned that we could not be with our military son on Thanksgiving. We casually mentioned to some friends that we were just going to have scrambled eggs and bagels for Thanksgiving dinner, because without him there, it just wasn’t going to be worth the effort. Well, they kindly invited us to spend Thanksgiving with their family, and we accepted.
I wanted to do something nice for them to really show them thanks for such a lovely gesture, so I knitted a seven-foot runner for their table. When it was finished, it seemed so “plain,” that I spent four hours crocheting around the entire runner twice and added a fringe to the ends. When I gave it to her, she held it close to her chest near her heart, and her eyes teared up as she expressed her emotion for my putting in that amount of effort for her. I have to tell you that I’ve never felt so moved by a reaction to a gift in my life.
She and her husband were doing something “personal” for me, and I wanted to return the favor. Having Thanksgiving with their adult children and a couple who were mutual friends made for a fabulous evening, with lots of laughs and a yummy turkey….mmmm.
So, I’ve stopped buying bottles of wine and chocolate-filled baskets. I’ve been working around the clock for weeks either knitting, weaving, or sewing Christmas presents. I finished my last project for my “peeps” on Sunday (our office holiday party was on Tuesday), so I had a bit of a crunch for time. While it was exhausting and sometimes frustrating when equipment has a mind of its own, I feel giddy about giving gifts that are so much of myself. Clearly, it means more to the receiver AND the giver.
To top it off, a few of my dearest friends sent me “Thanksgiving” e-mails, enumerating the reasons they felt grateful for having me in their lives. It blew my mind. It is incredibly touching to know that you matter to someone.
I’m writing these stories to urge you all to do the same this Christmas. Don’t buy a card – write to that person and let them know why they matter to you and what you appreciate about them and how you feel grateful for them. Instead of purchasing something generally useless that they might never use and will not cause them to reflect on your relationship, make something or do something. For example: plant some flowers on either side of their front door; make a rocking chair for the back porch; fix something on their property; take their kids for the night so they can have a romantic time to themselves….the list of possibilities is endless.
Make it personal, and that doesn’t require ridiculous expenditures for gifts that ultimately don’t matter.
Oh, and one more thing. We will see our kidlet for Christmas. The tree is already up.