This is the most wonderful time of the year! And when I say “this,” I am referring to Thanksgiving to New Years, with Christmas a very important part of the season. Our family hosted 64 family members for Thanksgiving, with the people, tables, and food the main event, and that order is intentional! The food is wonderful, of course, and all of our family makes it so, but the people who grace the turkey decorated tables are what I love more than even the food. And as soon as the tables are cleared and some of the tables and chairs stored for next year’s event, it is time to decorate for Christmas. We have a much smaller number for Christmas Eve dinner, which is the meal function we host for our nuclear family; only 16!
I spent most of the weekend decorating our two Christmas trees and the rest of the house. In Raleigh we were snowed in, so I had the luxury of taking my time to decorate, and I went down memory lane unboxing the ornaments and Christmas decorations. Every year I somewhat dread all of the work to ready our home for Christmas. But when the work is complete, I am always glad we made the effort. This year this is especially true, for while unboxing the decorations, I unboxed many memories. Some of you reading this are a part of my memories.
When we give gifts to others, we never really know how meaningful some of those gifts will be, and some of them, for many years! Especially when we buy intentionally and choose gifts that will speak to the heart of those who receive them. A gift is not just a tangible expression of our affection for others, it also shows the recipient how much we know them, and how much care we take to select just the right gift. The gifts below which I have received through the years reflect that the friend who gave the gift carefully selected just the right gift for me, which was a gift in and of itself. You may find a gift you gave me here!
These all are gifts received from friends, none from (genetic) family. My close friends are chosen family. While I have received many meaningful gifts from family, the purpose of this is to share memories of gifts received from friends. And the value of the gifts has nothing to do with their cost.
As you can see, the gifts vary in type, but they are all memorable to me. Every time I use them or display them, I think of the one who so carefully chose it, and the relationship we share or shared. Sadly, several of the gifts are from people who are no longer alive, yet they remain alive in me. Of those who are still present in my life, all of the relationships we share are not the same as they were when I received these gifts. That is ok. Relationships evolve, as I wrote in a recent blog post; some are for a reason, some are for a season, and some are for a lifetime.
What gifts are you giving this season? Are you choosing intentionally? Hopefully, you are, for the receiver of your gift may keep it for a lifetime, and it will always be a reminder of you and the gift of friendship.
If you find your gift here, I would love to hear from you!
May you have a blessed season of giving.