Dear Ms. Plume,
I’m stretched, frazzled, and not in the Christmas spirit (yet) this year. I appreciate what you said about having an extra gift – just in case you need it, but I’m not Santa. How necessary is it to exchange a gift with the unexpected person who gives one to you?
It isn’t necessary at all, you can write a lovely thank you note in return.
To me, and this is a personal opinion, there are two kinds of gift giving: obligatory, and from the heart. The obligatory category is obvious – someone you feel you must acknowledge, perhaps co-workers, a boss, or something in the category of a wedding gift, etc. Gifts of the heart are just that, giving someone something because you want to. And when someone does that for you, one of the very best things you can do is be gracious and appreciative; create space inside you to acknowledge the giver’s intention. Sometimes that is a whole lot better than an actual gift you might give in return.
I again implore you to remember that time may be the most precious gift of all: time to go for a walk with a friend, time to take a sandwich and have a picnic, time to help plant a garden, time to just sit and listen.
Well, readers, this year is finally almost over, and none too soon for me. It has been a year of loss, confusion, conflict, and/or uncertainty, for many people I know. Once again we’re heading into a new year and decade, with hopes, the best of intentions, and the usual resolutions. I am inspired by a quotation I have on a kitchen magnet and would like to share with you:
“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet
as if they were going to be dead by midnight.
Extend to them all the care, kindness, and
understanding you can muster, and do it with
no thought of any reward.
Your life will never be the same again.”
Be gracious, be dignified, don’t talk with food in your mouth, don’t text at the table, write your thank you notes, and remember to rsvp! Teach your children good manners, remember to clean up after your dog, send Margaret and Jeff thank you notes and chocolates for all the hard work they do putting this publication out every two weeks. Advertise heavily. Have a wonderful holiday and carry positive energy forward into 2011.
Best Wishes to all,
L. A. Plume