“It is better (more blessed) to give than to receive”. A proverb from the Apostle Paul, quoting the man himself, Jesus Christ (Acts 20:35). Yes, this writer knows the Bible and could probably churn up a half-arsed sermon or three. But ain’t nobody breaking down the doors to get a front row pew at the 1st Church of Chainsaw, so we’ll let that go… for now.
It’s a nice aphorism and serves well for the yuletide season. But, when it comes down to it, is the reception of giving not truly a matter of perspective? Pending on who is giving what to whom and who is receiving whatever it is?
On the receiving end, the “what” is very important. Because what if they don’t want what is given? “Noli equi dentes inspicere donate.” — The Latin phrase from St. Jerome’s commentary (400 AD) on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Which roughly translates to, “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”.
This “mouth looking” being done to determine the horses age and health. Which can be ascertained from the animal’s teeth. What it means: don’t seek fault with something that has been received as a gift or favor.
But why not and why wouldn’t you? What if you don’t have space for or way to care for it? What if it requires medical attention or may just die right there in the street? (This is all metaphorically speaking.) More importantly: What if you didn’t want a horse in the first place?
Ah, but you are expected to be the cheerful recipient of said horse, regardless. Leaving the query of — why?
This “why” of it falls upon the giver. Why are you giving in the first place? Is it from the heart with good intent, as it should be. Or something else? Reputation, guilt, duty, pity, obligation. Because you want to or feel like you have to?
Not wanting anyone to feel left out, just in case or expecting them to gift you in return? So, without much thought you fulfill this “why” obligation with… a little something — a horse no one needs, wants or asked for. With a gift receipt to point out the pointlessness in advance. And if you can’t find that “not so special something”, nothing says “I don’t know or really care” like a random gift card.
That may seem a bit harsh, but digression be damned. Look in your wallet, purse or maybe in that special drawer where they’re kept. How many waiting to expire gift cards do you have? Going one further. How many crap gifts are in the back of your closet, have been taken to Goodwill or regifted?
But wait! What about “the thought” the one that’s supposed to count. Seriously? Do you really think there’s a lot of thought applied and if so what in Helsinki Sweden was thought about?
Actual, physical, holiday gifting should be reserved for a select few. Children, of course, because they can tell you exactly what they want and can’t buy for themselves. Your dearly beloved or equivalent thereof, because hey, you know them, right? And maybe those few really close family members or friends to whom you can give something that truly means something or encompasses an inside joke.
But what about the rest of our fellow crap-gift givers? We have to do something? You can, and here’s what you do.
The average person spends between $100 to $300 on random pointless gifting. So, add up your crap-gift expenditure and go buy yourself one thing you really want or need. Take it home, wrap it up with a bow.
Record yourself opening the gift. Capturing your excitement of getting the right size, color, brand, make and model number of what you wanted. Then post it online (or Facetime with those who’re doing the same) with the caption, “Merry Christmas and Thank you for not expecting or giving me a crappy gift this year. It was less stressful to only go shopping once and get exactly what I wanted.” This may seem self-centeredly selfish, but consider this: If we eliminated the crap-gifting, it’d effectively downsize the commercialism that enshrouds the holiday season. Maybe we could get around to the true “reason for the season” — giving the gift of time shared with one another.
I welcome almost all questions, comments via FOCUS, or E-mail me at [email protected]. Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused! See ya.