The Art of (Reflective) Gift Giving


Of all of my family, young and old, the most intuitive in terms of gift giving is my #1 Son.

We have all unwrapped a gift from someone (whom we love despite all) who gave us something that they decided we “needed.”  We’ve been the beneficiary of items (peanuts, chocolate bars, wreaths anyone?)  from dear ones who had to buy something to support a neighbor or co-worker’s child and their required fundraising for athletics, or band.   We’ve all opened a box from a beloved friend who clearly had no clue, but whose loving thought just as clearly counts!   I don’t know about you, but I know that I have done all of these things myself…

But #1  Son has a gift, for gift-giving.

He gave me an enormous World Atlas one year for Mother’s Day.  I keep it near my desk, and I’m reading his note to me, in which he expresses our shared interest in geography and mentions that I am the best mom on the map!  (I had to include that!)  Last summer he got me The Atlas of the Crusades, for my birthday.  To encourage my Morning Walk habit, he gave me a bright green windbreaker one year and a tie-dyed sweatshirt from one of his Regattas another year.  Our whole family delights in the bright golden gingko leaves in our neighbor’s yard.  So, he gave me silver ginkgo earrings for Christmas one year!  I wore them almost every day for years.  (I lost one at HSP, and I have never quite recovered).  He found and downloaded  Celtic Psalms for me one year, and despite hearing it ad nauseum, he still gave me the Celtic Reflections on Hymns by the same group the next year!  He and I used to work on Legos together when he was little, and he gave me a Lego Gun Gan Submarine kit the year my mother was so ill.  With all that was going on that year, it never got put together. Maybe we’ll work on it together next week.

I’ve thought about this a great deal, because many of my favorite gifts are gifts the #1 Son has given me.  Gifts that were not on any list I had made, but came from his knowledge of who I am, and the things I love.  It takes time to give gifts the way that he does.  The time is not in the shopping, or in the wrapping (Although deceptive gift wrapping is great fun!).  It’s time spent living with, listening to, and observing the people that he loves.  His way of gift-giving is a lesson to all of us.

Pressed for time this year, he still managed to procure for me a much desired volume of Christina Rossetti’s poetry, Christina Rossetti, The Complete Poems, to be specific.

And… be still my mother’s heart, he wrote me a poem!

Dear Mom,

I don’t like poems
But I know you do
So here’s Rossetti
Bought it just for you.

At least she has rhymes
and also meter
unlike Walt Whitman
that free-verse cheater

All joking aside
I hope you are seein’
How much I love you
So THERE! Love, Ian. 


I’ve decided to spend some time this year writing about Christmas, and I’m tagging these posts the 12 Days of Christmas. G.K. Chesterton had a bit of a rant about the way we treat the celebration of Christmas.  I’ve put the whole quote in my sidebar over to your right.  Here’s a small clip that inspired me to share at least a few things about our Christmas:

“But one of the queerest things about our own topsy-turvy time is that we all hear such a vast amount about Christmas just before it comes, and suddenly hear nothing at all about it afterwards…Everybody writes about what a glorious Christmas we are going to have. Nobody, or next to nobody, ever writes about the Christmas we have just had”  G.K. Chesterton

8 thoughts on “The Art of (Reflective) Gift Giving

  1. Loved this entry, and what a delight it must be to have a son who loves to give this way! Thanks for sharing, as I am enjoying the more frequent posts!

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