Uh Oh, Here Come the Holidays
It's the time of year when I start thinking about holiday gifts. While I love the holidays, spirit and overall festiveness, I confess I really dislike the commotion about gifts. Shopping is so automatic for so many of us; we talk about starting shopping, putting off shopping, finishing shopping, spending too much on shopping. We breathlessly announce things like, I;ve done my in-laws, now I just have to do the kids. To be fair, I know people who holiday shop with a great deal of festive spirit, but I canít help but feel sour about it because I know many others who go about it in the same spirit with which they gas up their snow blowers.
I propose we at least reassess our own gift-giving processes this year. Unfortunately, in my experience gift-giving has often boiled down to merely an exchange of a particular dollar amount (Well, so-and-so spent this much on me, so Iíd better spend this much on her). And if thatís really the case, what's the point?
I challenge us all to leave the auto-pilot holiday shopper at home this year and instead take along that part of ourselves that truly values the people we buy for. We need to ask ourselves what is special about each particular person and how we might honor him or her with a gift. It will be an interesting experiment. And no matter how much or little we spend, more than just another holiday gift, our gifts this year may enable our recipients to sense that we actually do care.
Blue Plaid Pants
The other day I noticed a man in a coffee shop wearing what I thought was a very odd shirt. As I stared at the boldly-colored checkered pattern, except for collar and cuffs, which were paisley, I wondered what would possess someone to wear such a shirt, let alone buy one in the first place. But just before I turned away, I remembered another incident.
One day not long ago, in a park I noticed a woman wearing what I thought were ridiculous pants: large, brightly-colored flowers and leaves strewn about a bright white background. I wondered what would possess someone to wear such pants, let alone buy them. As the woman walked out of sight I sat on a bench and then gasped as my eyes drifted to my lap.
That morning I had ensconced my legs in a pair of blue plaid pants, one that I had owned at least since college, and one that was certainly no less erroneous a fashion statement than the other woman's floral pants. I wondered then if she had noticed me and whispered to her companion, Wow! Check out those pants! It's definitely possible. And if she hadn't said that, someone else who had seen how I dressed myself that day surely had.
Back in the coffee shop, I mentally saluted the man for his checkered-paisley shirt, realizing I had just been reminded of two of the great secrets to inner peace. First: Laugh at yourself. And second: Remember to do that before you laugh at someone else.