Friday, December 25, 2009

Giving

I was standing in line at one of the most frantic toy stores in the world - the one that is always out of what you came to buy, even if you're going in August, even if what you want has nothing to do with Christmas - and I was kicking myself for being there for a couple of reasons:

#1 Rich and I decided that we would make our Christmas gifts this year which we are frantically currently doing. Why, then, were we at the toy store, annoyed, trying to find presents for our son and the nieces and nephews in our family? The excuses ranged from, "Well, kids don't understand the gesture of a handmade gift. They want toys! And it's Christmas, for the love of God! (Yes, go ahead and laugh at the irony.) It takes a level of maturity to understand that 'I love and value you' does not have to mean 'store bought and popular'," to "while noting that consumerism is way out of control in our country and that what we need is not more 'stuff,' we really wanted to give a meaningful, handmade gift to our loved ones because, honestly, we couldn't think of anything good enough to buy. We were being hypocrites by making everyone else's gift but his!"
#2 I hate toy stores, especially at Christmas. They beat the joy right out of gift-giving.
The Advent Conspiracy asks people to shop less and give people something more precious - your time, your attention, your love. Give presence, not presents. I love that idea, but it goes against the West's culture of gift giving - of black Friday and 'finding the best deals', of waking up at four in the morning and standing in line in the cold to get the "perfect" gift. It's easy to poo poo the West for being so materialistic, but at the same time I think that the sentiment is in the right place, even if it is misdirected a little.

Herein lies the dilemma. Giving, something that should be lovely and selfless, becomes stressful and problematic. And that's mostly why we decided to only give handmade gifts this year - to combine the present and the presence. The toy store was out of the item we wanted to buy for Jack. Was it a sign? Maybe. Who's to say what Jack will find under the tree this holiday.
As for the rest of our family, hopefully everyone will love their handmade gifts:









Love, Ginger and Rich
This post was inspired by the Loose Bloggers Consortium, a small and feisty(!) global community. We write weekly on a common topic and post responses - all of us together at the same time, even though we are continents apart. (Lovely!) Introducing Anu, Ashok, Conrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria and Ramana.

8 comments:

Rummuser said...

What a great idea so well executed too!
Great photographs too. A nice gift for the LCB!

Conrad said...

Ginger, I love it!!!

What you guys made in the shop looks fantastic. And a nice treatment of the Western Christmas dilemma. Great balance and insight.

To both of you, Merry Christmas!!!

gaelikaa said...

"Give presence, not presents!" This jumped out at me. It is so true Ginger. I also think the concept of a handmade gift is very nice. If you can make nice things, then it's nice.

Teresha@Marlie and Me said...

I am so impressed! I wish I was on your Christmas list, LOL! Our church promoted Advent Conspiracy (we are radical like that) and me and hubs jumped on board. We baked cookies and cupcakes are presents and stayed far away from the big box retailers. Christmas was so much more peaceful and meaningful this year!
I hope you had a very merry Christmas!

Pam said...

You made those lovely stained glass windows!? OH my! They are lovely and I'm sure everyone loved them. Much better than a store bought gift - on so many levels. Good for you.

Christine said...

I love you guys.

That is all.

Sandy said...

The glass is lovely! What a wonderful gift. I'm sure everyone loved them.

Amy said...

Wow what great gifts..

Friday, December 25, 2009

Giving

I was standing in line at one of the most frantic toy stores in the world - the one that is always out of what you came to buy, even if you're going in August, even if what you want has nothing to do with Christmas - and I was kicking myself for being there for a couple of reasons:

#1 Rich and I decided that we would make our Christmas gifts this year which we are frantically currently doing. Why, then, were we at the toy store, annoyed, trying to find presents for our son and the nieces and nephews in our family? The excuses ranged from, "Well, kids don't understand the gesture of a handmade gift. They want toys! And it's Christmas, for the love of God! (Yes, go ahead and laugh at the irony.) It takes a level of maturity to understand that 'I love and value you' does not have to mean 'store bought and popular'," to "while noting that consumerism is way out of control in our country and that what we need is not more 'stuff,' we really wanted to give a meaningful, handmade gift to our loved ones because, honestly, we couldn't think of anything good enough to buy. We were being hypocrites by making everyone else's gift but his!"
#2 I hate toy stores, especially at Christmas. They beat the joy right out of gift-giving.
The Advent Conspiracy asks people to shop less and give people something more precious - your time, your attention, your love. Give presence, not presents. I love that idea, but it goes against the West's culture of gift giving - of black Friday and 'finding the best deals', of waking up at four in the morning and standing in line in the cold to get the "perfect" gift. It's easy to poo poo the West for being so materialistic, but at the same time I think that the sentiment is in the right place, even if it is misdirected a little.

Herein lies the dilemma. Giving, something that should be lovely and selfless, becomes stressful and problematic. And that's mostly why we decided to only give handmade gifts this year - to combine the present and the presence. The toy store was out of the item we wanted to buy for Jack. Was it a sign? Maybe. Who's to say what Jack will find under the tree this holiday.
As for the rest of our family, hopefully everyone will love their handmade gifts:









Love, Ginger and Rich
This post was inspired by the Loose Bloggers Consortium, a small and feisty(!) global community. We write weekly on a common topic and post responses - all of us together at the same time, even though we are continents apart. (Lovely!) Introducing Anu, Ashok, Conrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria and Ramana.

8 comments:

Rummuser said...

What a great idea so well executed too!
Great photographs too. A nice gift for the LCB!

Conrad said...

Ginger, I love it!!!

What you guys made in the shop looks fantastic. And a nice treatment of the Western Christmas dilemma. Great balance and insight.

To both of you, Merry Christmas!!!

gaelikaa said...

"Give presence, not presents!" This jumped out at me. It is so true Ginger. I also think the concept of a handmade gift is very nice. If you can make nice things, then it's nice.

Teresha@Marlie and Me said...

I am so impressed! I wish I was on your Christmas list, LOL! Our church promoted Advent Conspiracy (we are radical like that) and me and hubs jumped on board. We baked cookies and cupcakes are presents and stayed far away from the big box retailers. Christmas was so much more peaceful and meaningful this year!
I hope you had a very merry Christmas!

Pam said...

You made those lovely stained glass windows!? OH my! They are lovely and I'm sure everyone loved them. Much better than a store bought gift - on so many levels. Good for you.

Christine said...

I love you guys.

That is all.

Sandy said...

The glass is lovely! What a wonderful gift. I'm sure everyone loved them.

Amy said...

Wow what great gifts..