Yesterday, I asked Elena if her teachers had liked the Christmas gift, and she said yes. (The little gingerbread houses from the last post; adorable and amazing, right?) She had also given another gift yesterday, a Slinky toy that had been broken by a third party and not replaced. I asked her if he had liked the Slinky, and she said that he had thanked her.
Last year, Sonja’s high-school teachers were ecstatic with the little gift of gingerbread. There are so many teachers and so many students in her secondary school, that gifts are not expected or usually given.
The six green touques with coordinating pom-poms went to school for the gift exchange that had been planned among the six good friends. (The touques are a funny story in and of themselves. Elena and her friends had wanted to do a gift exchange, but could not figure out how to pull names from a hat without pulling their own, so to “simplify” things, it was decided that each would buy gifts for all six friends, at a gift price of $15 each. Ahem. Then she decided on matching touques. I ran upstairs and grabbed the bulky yarn from the storage bin under the bed. With the hat pattern from the Purl Bee, and with two days and three evenings, they were done. I thought about the fact that I had spent considerably less per gift than had been decided upon, but I also thought about the last two days of knitting and pom-pom making that I had done.)
Of course with all the gifts bought at Christmas, I’m always wondering about the perfect of each gift, the level of appreciation, and what giving each gift means for the recipient, but also for me. Maybe I’m over analyzing, but if I’m going to be Scrooge, it’s realizing the the time and effort of a handmade gift is completely lost on the recipient. On the other (and better) hand, the time and effort of the gingerbread cookies meant time spent together with the girls. Our time, our tradition. The cookies are almost an extra; a bonus. The effort of the knitting meant that I had quiet time to myself, with good movies and fuzzy wool. And you know who appreciated the knitting effort? Elena. The kid who I was really doing it for.
Behind every gift is the spirit of intent, and that is what gives me the warm fuzzies. The best part of giving is the anticipation of the act of giving, and seeing that act through, with love. It’s good; it’s Christmas.