There is something about Christmas time that I really like. The whole atmosphere changes. The bleak winter evenings light up with Christmas trees peeping out of every house.The malls and shopping centres buzzing with activity. There is a feeling of anticipation, excitement in the air.
Every year, this time is spent shopping. Shopping to go to India. Most of our India trips used to be around this time, Christmas being one of the less busy times of the year, when it came to work. Hours are spent in selecting the right gifts for people. I just love that bit. I love finding the right gift for all my near and dear ones. It gives one so much joy, doesn’t it? When one chances across the perfect gift for a person. Sometimes, I end up shopping for far too many things. Sometimes, I would not get that elusive gift until one day before we travel. I love the whole gifting process. Selecting the gift, wrapping it up – I actually love gift wrapping – some people think that I need my head examined, but I really do like it Daughter, seems to have caught the bug too – she loves wrapping gifts as much as I do Although, I have to say, that her ‘help’ does rather hampers my wrapping style
This year, since our yearly trip has been postponed to July-August, I miss that shopping bit. Even the chocolate shopping used to be so much fun. There are so many varieties of chocolates and sweets that you get only around Christmas time. Just as I was taking it easy and missing shopping for gifts, I was reminded that I needed to buy Christmas cards and gifts for Poohi’s classmates and friends in the nursery and teachers! Poohi had not been well for the last 2 weeks and it had completely slipped my mind. So on a week, when I had loads of work pending, I had to go and do some Christmas shopping too. Writing out cards and wrapping up gifts, express speed, so that they are ready for school tomorrow – not my cup of tea, but the joy that it gave my daughter, made it all worth it.
Today’s experience just reminded me of how the gift shopping might actually be stressful for a lot of people. Especially when there are expectations tagged to the gifts. When the expectations might exceed a person’s capabilities. Or when people are disappointed by the gifts given by a person and do not even try to mask it. Or when the person receiving it, feels overwhelmed by the gifts he receives. A joyous time could just be marred by undercurrents of unhappiness, resentment and disappointment.
Which is probably why, the best gifts are not the ones bought with money, but those give from the heart. A kind word, a little help when most needed, a thoughtful gesture, a shoulder to cry on, any time of the year, might give far, far more happiness than the most expensive of gifts given during the season of giving.