I’m barely allowing myself to come out of the Christmas dream.
If you’ve kept up with my blog posts there would be no need for explanation…
- I LOVE Christmas
- I am an emotional hoarder
- I sssss-aaaaa-vvvvvv-ooooo-rrrrrr moments
So, next week, if I choose to put Christmas away by then, I will comment about that moment with a sappy, sentimental post..can’t wait, right?
But today I want to stand on my table and declare I did it!
I used Amazon and a host of other websites to do virtual convenient shopping for part of my shopping list. Okay, I’m a slow learner…
WOW! Was that ever efficient and fast. Especially the sites that kept my credit card…”safe” and ready to push and waa-laaa…done. My confirm e-mail popped up before I could swallow one sip of hot tea before buyers remorse settled in, and I would pay for return shipment which is more than the actual item I bought.
I got lots and lots of status e-mails so I felt important…
Then one of the days mid December, the mall called to me…
Do you know anymore? It’s that big place where shops are all together in one spot and Santa sits waiting for people to show up…but three patrons are there. One is me.
What? Of course I didn’t have time to go to the mall! In less than one week 5 babies, 10 more adults, wrapping, finishing putting Christmas “up,” and grocery shopping for preparing 18 delicious Partridge in a Pear Tree meals was looming around the corner.
But I needed to go.
You see, as I stand on the table, declaring on-line shopping was a snap…
I felt something strange and lonely afterwards.
It occurred to me what it was.
As an artist, I have learned from doing thousands of hours of tiny little ink dots, enough brush strokes to wrap around the world twice, pinches of clay, drips of Elmer’s Glue, glitter stuck on my cheeks for days, smears of food-colored frosting and tiny little sprinkles over cookies that will be eaten in 5 seconds, cutting little sections of grapefruits, finding sock matches in heaps, tooth-brushing my wedding ring after planting bulbs…that the actual physical gift you give is only a very small portion of it.
The gift begins at the beginning of it’s thought. In fact the gift begins even before that. The gift begins, usually, with a human being that you wish to give something to.
It is the thinking about you and the excitement what to give you and what would make you happy.
The gift is the search for it and wondering if you have enough money to afford it, but want to. (Perhaps even earn the money just for the gift)
The gift is getting in the car and driving to look for it or to pick it up and then stumbling on something else for another person which fits unexpectedly like an extra surprise.
The gift is holding it in a bag that is heavy and have to shuffle it to one shoulder, then the other and place it safely until it gets to you.
The gift is knowing it will be a secret and being so excited.
Part of the gift is slowly taking it out of the bag and figuring out how to cut a piece of paper to cover it, then look for a ribbon color to make it look special, because you are special. And the whole time wrapping it, think of you.
The gift is writing a tag; to you from me and feeling that excitement again, anticipating when you open it.
…The gift is all the stuff done before that gift is ever opened. It is time, sacrifice and effort.
The gift is hoping you will think of me every time you see it and use it.
-When I was efficient and waited for the boxes to come to my house, I felt homesick for the process and the sacrifice. I missed all the parts.
Go ahead, call me crazy.
But someone was being payed to find my gift among billions and taken off a fork lift in some cold impersonal warehouse. Someone boxed it up with blown up balloon plastic and placed it in a bin for the post. Many people threw it into piles and then sorted it to get to the right plane, to the right post office or Fed-Ex office, to get in the right truck, to get to the right driver, to get to the correct address. I live on a private lane. The package deliver-ers left piles of packages at our shared mail boxes on the main road for anyone to snatch for Christmas. Did not care.
There was little love in the process…
I know I will continue to use the internet sporadically to buy conveniently and efficiently.
But as an artist of the heart, I also know I will mostly just keep going to the mall and bookstore, and sports store, and grocery store. I don’t wish to loose the process to put in the effort to touch, feel, smell, hear, and experience what it takes to give to the people I love to show them, by the process that you are worth it. I feel happier by participating in giving the WHOLE gift.
(Besides it is way cheaper to return–with a saved receipt!)