Print this page
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:38

Christmas all about the giving, not the receiving

Written by  Rose Sanchez
Rate this item
(0 votes)

I remember having a conversation with my mother a few years ago about Christmas and gift-giving. I think it started because I was flipping through the Sears Wish Book and pointed out the easy-bake oven is still available.

“That was the gift I always wanted and never received,” I proceeded to muse out loud.
Uh oh. Big mistake. My mother looked at me with surprise and almost horror on her face.
“You never asked for an easy-bake oven,” she said with indignation. This is done quite well I might add when, as my mother does, you say it with your proper English accent. It was like she had failed me somehow because I had never received this gift.
I quickly backpedaled. She was right after all — as mothers usually are and daughters can only see once they have grown and left the nest — I never did ask Santa or my parents for an easy bake oven. I wish I knew why. Maybe I thought it was enough just to think it or dream about it. Surely Santa Claus can read a child’s thoughts!
The conversation turned to matters of more concern. What to do about family shopping that year. It was the inevitable conversation that can emerge within every family dynamic at some point in life preceded by the question: Do we really need to exchange presents?
Yes. I said it. I’m not particularly materialistic by nature. When I think about how I spend my paycheque it’s always on the basics — mortgage, bills, insurance, food.
That’s how I shop and spend my money. I buy groceries.
“What did you treat yourself to today Rose? Well, I picked up this mint Aero bar, one of my favourites which I will be enjoying after dinner.”
Don’t get me wrong, I like purchasing items for other people. I could probably have been a personal shopper in another life, I just don’t particularly like receiving gifts, especially ones that are “things”. Items that someone likely thought was cute or useful, but for me serves no real purpose except to clutter up cabinet space or be relegated to the deepest, darkest corner of the basement.
So with question broached, and agreement from my mother, I began only purchasing gifts for the children in the family. Usually, it’s gift cards so those children can find something to purchase that suits their needs.
That same year I received by mail a “gift catalogue” from World Vision as I had just started sponsoring a child through the charity. Flipping through the catalogue, I thought it was neat that I could purchase a goat, agricultural items or soccer balls for needy children around the world.

One can even support Canadian families with the “purchase” of warm clothing for families or school supplies.
Armed with the catalogue, I made a list of all the wonderful people in my life who would be deserving of such “gifts.”
The annual holiday tradition for my husband and I had begun! That World Vision catalogue has become a little like the Sears Wishbook to me now. I get it in the mail and can hardly wait to start flipping through it deciding what gift to get which loved one.
Once purchased, a package of Christmas cards are delivered to me, ready to send out just in time for Christmas.
I’m not always sure of the response of the receivers of these gifts, but I do hope they get as much out of receiving them as I get out of giving them. It’s kind of the gift that keeps on giving too, as I get my own present a few months later when I get to deduct the charitable gift from my taxes.
This is my Christmas now. With no children in our home, there’s not usually any presents under the tree when I wake up Christmas morning, but the lights still twinkle warmly as I sip a hot coffee while Husband starts work in the kitchen for a later-in-the-day feast. It doesn’t take anything away from the magic of this special time of year.
Whatever your Christmas traditions and gift-giving tendencies are, I hope dear readers, you find time to enjoy family, friends, good food and special “gifts” this Christmas and wish you good tidings for the new year.
Rose Sanchez is assistant managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact her with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. — unless of course you are going to make a comment that could be considered grinch-like. In that case, kindly wait until your heart is no longer two sizes too small.

Read 982 times