Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gifts .........

Gifts ........ (exchange)

priceless when they're least expected

The year was 1996, the occasion was my youngest sister's acceptance into the faculty of art and humanities at Aleppo university, the English Literature division. We were so happy celebrating. Peggy approached me with a wrapped box in her hand. She immediately read my thoughts and without waiting for me to say "I'm supposed to get you a gift, not you" She said "You helped me get accepted by believing in me more than I believed in myself and I just wanted to say thank you". She handed me what I consider the most meaningful gift I have ever received, it's priceless.

Wait for something in return?

The year was 2001, the occasion was Christmas. Everyone around me was running around with their heads cut off while I was re-evaluating and reflecting upon the year itself and the lessons and blessings it introduced. I was so relaxed and people were stressed out. December is my favorite month of the year. Was it everyone's deadline to reach their goals from consuming less alcohol to losing some extra unwanted pounds? There were only two weeks left of the year, what could they have possibly achieved in such a short time? I found out that I was wrong when my neighbor revealed to me the custom during Christmas; putting so much thought into buying everyone they knew a gift, that thought was "What did they get me last Christmas?" That Neighbor was the same woman who usually announced her birthday, Her husband's, kids' and her sons in law's birthday, a month in advance, then again two weeks in advance, one week in advance, then of course just in case we forgot, a day in advance. And every time we celebrated her birthday, she acted surprised and wondered how on earth did we find out? "I'm so flattered that you guys remembered my birthday …… on your own, now let's open the gifts". Opening the gifts was usually by the end of the party. A time for family and friends to sit down and show off or get embarrassed. A fake smile was drawn on everyone's face and I had the privilege to see the drama that took place after certain guests had left. There was a tiny little scale in that woman's kitchen. She took all the gifts she received and weighed them on that scale to see if the gifts were lighter than the ones she had gifted. She managed to make a fuss about most of them with the exception of the very heavy gifts, those she would have gatherings over to show them off. That scale she used was a tiny little scale that fits into anyone's pocket, even into a small wallet. It was almost as small as a credit card. And it was the standards of evaluating her gifts..

An unwanted present

The year was 2003, the occasion was again, Christmas, the announcement was "I don't want to be part of that circus". After a number of anniversaries through out the year that were supposed to be celebrations and ended up being drama, due to re-gifted gifts, light gifts, inappropriate gifts and gifts with no gift receipts, I decided to inform everyone in advance that I will not be "Exchanging" gifts with anyone during Christmas . But some people did not feel comfortable changing their routine and habits, which is very hard to do when all you know about Christmas is that it's time to give and receive ……… gifts, so when I politely declined accepting their "Gifts", they were seriously injured and threatened to ...  and they did.

So ask yourself, before you buy "some" gift or re-gift those you were not happy with "what does the person you're taking a gift for mean to me?" and remember, your gift is a reflection of who you are, the gift, not the amount of money it cost you because….

A gift is priceless when it's least expected
A gift is an act of kindness, an act of thoughtfulness.
A gift is an unconditional expression; so when you wait for something in return, your gift has already lost its value.