Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Receiving of Gift Giving

On Halloween we give candy, on Thanksgiving we give thanks and on Christmas we give gifts. Since today is October 1st, I can't help but think about giving. More specifically gift giving.

As far back as I can remember, I received candy on Halloween and Valentines Day and gifts for Christmas and birthdays. As a child I had birthday parties and attended birthday parties and gifts were exchanged. In school I made gifts for my parents for every holiday.

In Sunday school I learned that the three wise men gave valuable gifts to the Christ child. Being a Christian, I was raised to believe that it is better to give than to receive and that God loves a cheerful giver. As a young girl I started saving my allowance and buying gifts to give to family and friends.

When I started working at the age of seventeen, the gifts I gave became more expensive. I always tried to give people gifts that they would like, just as I hoped to receive the things that I wanted for gifts. I remember going from store to store in mall after mall looking for just the right item, within my budget, for everyone on my Christmas gift giving list.

When I was 20, I was working in a department store restaurant. One of the sandwich makers was an older woman who I became friendly with. One day she announced with a big smile that she was going to become a grandmother. I knew that her daughter was just seventeen and still in high school, but my friend was determined to look at the positive side of the situation.

My friend wanted to give her daughter a small baby shower. It would only be a couple of dozen women, family members and a few of her daughter’s friends. But with all of the new baby expenses falling on her shoulders, she just didn’t know where she would come up with the money for party supplies and favors to make it nice.

That weekend I was thinking about my friends problem. Having always been a little crafty, I came up with the idea of making baby shower party favors and a baby shower umbrella. I went to the craft store and purchased poster boards, pink and blue construction paper, mini pink and blue plastic baby safety pins, baby bottles and rattles and tape and glue. Then I went to the fabric store and purchased pink and blue gingham cloth, thread and pink and blue ribbons and laces.

I spent the weekend making little pink and blue baby cradles from poster board and construction paper. I lined the little cradles with mini gingham baby blankets trimmed in lace. All my friend would have to do is fill the little cradles with candy for adorable baby shower favors. Then I took an old umbrella and carefully removed the fabric from it. I used it as a pattern to sew a pink and blue gingham baby shower umbrella. I decorated the umbrella with ribbons and the mini safety pins, baby bottles and rattles. I boxed the completed baby cradle favors in the two sides of an open shirt box and wrapped the umbrella in a clean, plastic, drawstring trash bag.

When I went to work on Monday, I gave my gift to my friend. She jumped up and down and yelled with joy. I still remember the smile on her face, the light in her eyes, and the long, strong hug she gave me as she said thank you. I felt as happy as she did!

The giving of that gift taught me that the true receiving of gift giving is being able to share in the joy that bubbles within the heart of the one who receives a gift they truly cherish.

I continue to give gifts on special occasions and holidays and I must admit, I look forward to receiving gifts as well. But deep in my heart I know that the best gift I can give is the gift that allows me to experience the receiving of gift giving once again.

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