So it’s December and of course I find myself focussed on gifts. As I prepare for Christmas I find myself pondering, ‘what is a gift?’ Is it something that I choose because I think it is special and would like to give it, or is it the opposite; something that I think the receiver will appreciate but not necessarily something I would like to give?
One of the reasons I find myself wondering about this is because I am making my gifts this year and get such pleasure from it. As I am weaving, knitting or sewing and listening to Christmas music I feel as if what I am doing has meaning. I will get a great deal of joy packaging up these gifts that I make myself, but I have to wonder…..will the receiver feel the same way?
There are certain people I know will love what I give them because they appreciate the creativity and time that goes into such a gift but then there are those that I wonder. Will they take care of this gift properly? Do I want to give this kind of gift to someone who does not appreciate handmade things and the time and effort that goes into them, or would just as soon have a similar item from a big box store for a fraction of the cost?
But then I jump to another side of the discussion and think, is it up to me to determine who will appreciate what I give them or is that the responsibility of the receiver? Do I give a gift with good intent and leave the rest of the equation to the receiver? What about my ethics? Do they come into this? Should they?
For instance, I prefer to support local business when I can, I try not to purchase things that I do not need and I do not like to support business that does not treat workers fairly or that gets their merchandise from places where workers are taken advantage of and treated inhumanely. But what if one of the people you want to give a gift to do not share that same ethic and really want an item from such a place?
I am inclined to think that I should use the same purchasing ethics that I follow the rest of the year even if I am buying or making a gift. That means that I will use natural fibres when I create pieces on my loom and knit, I will not be rushing out to join in the hustle of Christmas commercialism and I will give what I think is ethical and meaningful. No brand name clothes from the big box stores, no trendy decorations made from plastic that will be discarded in a short time and add to the problem of what to do with all this plastic, no technology or gadgets and no buying anything just for the sake of giving a gift.
Now that I think about this more intentionally, this is perhaps a dilemma that does not even need to be discussed. I am looking forward to seeing my children, spending time with them, my parents, relatives and friends.
The real gift for me is time. Time with my parents and to appreciate that I am so blessed that they have remained a big part of my children’s life and are healthy and well. Time to share days snowshoeing and skiing and quiet nights chatting and visiting with my partner as we take time off work to slow down and celebrate Christmas together for the first time. Time to realize that time itself is the real gift that we neglect to give each other most often.
So I think I will continue to create and craft away because actually it is a gift I am giving myself, time with myself and my loom, my kitchen, my knitting needles and my creative spirit that has been neglected in the last few years and is now being recognized for what it is; a gift.