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OTHER ITA SITES:
I Just Love It!
You know the scenario. You're sitting at the family Christmas gathering and your ten-year-old opens one of Aunt Martha's itchy homemade sweaters. Or Uncle Bobby, who's been swearing to lose twenty pounds for years, opens an exercise cycle. Of course, if Uncle Bobby follows the politeness rule, he'll say, "Thank you, it's just what I wanted." (Then he'll conveniently "forget" about it in the basement or storage closet.) your ten-year-old may not be as skilled at pretending as Uncle Bobby, but kids know enough to know that any answer other than "Thank you, Aunt Martha, I love it" will raise the roof.
There's nothing wrong with pretending you like a gift that someone has consciously bought because they think it suits you, you'll like it, or it will be good for you. The saying "It's the thought that counts" is a truism. Unless you habitually don't put much thought into your gifts. Have you stopped to look at other people's faces when they open your gifts?
The excuse "I'm too busy" only goes so far, and your children know it. If you can take time out of your week to exercise (or not, in Uncle Bobby's case, and who knows, Uncle Bobby might have a physical reason for not losing those twenty pounds), rent a video, go jogging, go to the movies, you can put some thought into the gifts beyond recycling last year's "I love it" items or heading to the mall.
It's important to let kids know that regardless of the gift, sometimes politeness above and beyond the call of duty is required. However, you personally can create more honesty from your kids and with your kids when it comes to gifts.
Remember when your ten-year-old made you a clay ashtray? You don't smoke, but you cherish that homemade gift. Or how about when your parents hung your macaroni ornaments on the tree and your pictures of Santa on the fireplace? You genuinely said "I love it" and meant it. Your children could tell. Your parents were sincere with you.
You are what you give, how you give it, and how you receive gifts. It's easy to moan that the true meaning of Christmas has been lost for our children. It's harder to turn away from the traditional gift-giving grudge.
Above all, remember that the first gift of Christmas is love, and that's something no one can fake.
Copyright (c) 2004 Kristin Johnson.
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