Theory of Gifts

As the Holiday Season rolls around, I thought I’d share a theory I have about the giving and receiving of gifts.

The day before I headed out to an Eating Disorder treatment program several states away, a good friend of mine came over the day goodbye. In addition to well wishes, he brought with him a sort of care package, containing a mixed CD, and a copy of his favorite book.

The concept of gifts has always been hard for me. In my family, there’s a lot of stress around gifts, and I’ve spent most of my existence despising both giving and receiving them. While getting gifts still makes me anxious, I’ve gotten better at giving them. Enjoying crafting has made me take joy in giving someone something that I’ve made just for them. But until recently, gift giving has largely been me having fun making something, and them enjoying it.

And don’t get me wrong, a lot of times that’s what gift giving is, and that’s great! But sometime, gift giving is deeper and more connecting than that. It’s taking a little piece of yourself, things you love, things that help you, that’s that are important, and giving them to someone that you care about. Gifts like this are saying “I can’t be with you right now, but here’s a little piece of my soul for you to keep until I can.”

When it’s framed like this, it actually takes a lot of stress out of the whole gift giving process. It doesn’t really matter if I like what someone gives me, because I like the fact that they wanted to give me something. And it applies in the other direction too, someone I’m close to will recognize the act of gifting as special, no matter what it is.

 

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