I am a spectacularly bad gift giver. Okay. That may be a little drama queen. (Who, me?) But I am seriously not good at it. I gave my husband an expensive watch when we were first married because he didn’t own a watch. I thought that was an obvious first year present. That was before I knew that the reason he didn’t own a watch was because he didn’t like watches. I gave a dear friend an expensive Tiffany necklace in silver when she only wore gold. I gave Wolfermann’s muffins, different ones each month for a year, to a friend who was just embarking on a diet. I suck at this.
And I’ve done it again. I’ve given someone something she kept for less than five seconds before giving it to someone else she thought might actually use it. When she first told me, it took a minute to sink in. “Wait. What? You mean, I saved all that time to get you that gift and you just . . . gave it away? Just like that? But I wanted you to use it and love it and think of me and . . .”
I know. I’m a slow learner. We cannot control what people do with the gifts we gift them. Otherwise they’d be loaners, not gifts. When we give a gift, we give the recipient complete control to take the gift, use it, cherish it, love it, or chuck it, give it away, sell it, do whatever they want to because . . . yep . . . it belongs to them. The problem is, our hearts are attached for a second to the gift. But that’s not where they belong. They belong in us.
Which gets me back to the Hallmark Card moment. We love schmaltzy things, despite how cool we try to be, because they’re true. The gift IS in the giving. From the minute we give something, we are blessed – blessed with the chance to love. Isn’t that why we’re alive? We’re here to love, to give everything, to lay it all out there, and when we come to the end of our lives find we have spent it all. Isn’t that it? So give it! Give to people who will love what you give. Give to people who will throw away what you give. And give to people who could care less. It doesn’t matter.
Give it all away because, fellow human beings who are too cool to admit it, the gift is in the giving.