on gifts and…or…giving….

three winters ago? wow....

Tis the season for all kinds of engaging seasonal posts and perspectives. I love gaining new thoughts and perspective from the community of bloggers around me, while still having a safe zone to share our own family’s perspective and journey.

Today, I’m posting on a question, that of giving gifts.
(Most posts this month will be based on: Tradition, Questions, Lyrics, Recipes, Glimpses, Advent).

Of course, the disclaimer 😉 These are thoughts from me, glimpses of my own little gang in this specific home. There’s no intent on belittling or attacking your own family choices or journey. I recognize that I’m forever in process, forever learning, forever on the brink of Truth. So let’s read and discuss and share, together.


I love gifts. I love receiving meaningful and beautiful tokens. I love the thought and sacrifice that can be involved as others bring forth something good. I love preparing and presenting a relevant and beautiful gift to another. I have received much in life and it brings me pleasure whenever I can give back, in some form. I recognize that through the miracle of Christmas we were presented with the most extraordinary gift ever given, ever received.

Gifts can be good. The Gift was and is, Good.

But what of presents at Christmas?
Must giving be expressed through gifts in-hand?
Do we really believe the exchange of tokens is akin to the gifts of the wise men, or the immeasurable gift of the Christ?
Can we give, without a thought to what appears under the tree?
Can we receive, without opening a parcel?

Within our own small family, we’ve chosen to shift our gaze away from load of gifts (purchased, handmade, or other). [Note that grandparents still send beautiful and thoughtfully chosen gifts, particular to our family’s values and situation, which are opened, savored, and appreciated. For the sake of this post, I’m just focusing on the current five lives within our walls].
In our gang, while we recognize the beauty and value of both giving and receiving, we see a far greater value in the depth of meaning, tradition, and faith within this season as a whole. As good as our intentions may be in trying to hold to a dual focus, it’s difficult to avoid a stratified season of “now it’s presents!” and “now it’s a minute of spirituality”. Many of us have seen the whole, “No, first you have to sit through The Story, and then we’ll get to the ‘good stuff’”.

The thing with us and the swirl of Christmas presents and such is that I really believe that Christmas can be truly, wholly, entirely about The Christ, and entirely full of anticipation and wonder and satisfaction. For where we are in our spiritual journey, and for where my children are in their unique points of development, we are still in the process of discovering the mystery and only just tasting the wonder. I want to be cautious not to draw our attention away from that process.

I am learning to be a giver, and I want to raise giving and generous children.
I am learning to be a receiver, and I want to raise children able to graciously receive.

We might learn these things through the exchange of material gifts.
We might also learn these things through offering forgiveness, through halting an impatient tone, through serving in the midst of physical strain or emotional fatigue.
We might also learn these things through going without, so that others might experience fullness, through the passing on of money, through time and hands in spaces of need.

Given that we might learn so much and give so much and receive so much, through such varied expressions and opportunities, it doesn’t seem prudent to declare that the question is just one of ‘presents’. It’s precisely that sort of division that makes us yearn for one and not the other; to think that Christmas ‘should’ be one but we still can really justify the other, to use the terms gifts and presents so interchangeably, when we could just…give.

This post has taken on a tone of its own, and I think I will leave it at that. I was going to share what is actually under our tree this year (it’s not empty!) or why there are certain things and not others, and why I really enjoy giving and both love and despise receiving, but this post is one of many within the conversation. This week I also appreciated the bulleted points from Beth, and am looking forward to hearing from Marissa this season, on a similar topic.

For now, I’m going to bed. The plan was to stay up late for a bit more Christmas crafting, but it appears that round 2 of the flu is upon me and the ginger just isn’t holding up. Time to gather the buckets and brace myself for another unique and ‘someday I’ll laugh’ night in this bizarre season.

Best to you all, as we journey further into The Gift in this season of giving…..

4 Responses to “on gifts and…or…giving….”
  1. thismama says:

    So good my friend, thank you for taking the time to share this.

    Now I feel the pressure to actually post mine!:) I have a lot of thoughts on gifts and giving, but sharing them cohesively is more of a challenge.

    • Dea' says:

      Thanks friend! I almost didn’t as it felt so…scattered. Cohesiveness IS the challenge with this topic isn’t it? Looking forward to yours (hope I didn’t put wrong pressure!!) and thinking of you these weeks… 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good post. How are the boys? Did they get sick too or is it you only? So round two? Does that mean more than a day?
    Is there anything I can do or anything you need? I feel for you! Praying fir continued strength (I never laugh at memories from the flu but I DO look back and admire the strength of our bodies, the fortitude of the soul and how motherhood can overcome a lot of obstacles… that part of it is always astounding.:)

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