12/21/2012

The Trouble with Christmas Gifts


The greatest Gift—and the only one that should matter on Christmas—is the birth of Grace. God made Himself poor so that we may be rich and have eternal life.

If we played by man-made rules, Christmas gifts could really get us into trouble.

A neighbor was so furious because she spent time choosing a beautiful towel for her exchange gift at a Christmas party. What did she get in return? A cracked mug. “I will never participate in any exchange gift again!” she swore.

Many other people have complained that they received recycled or haphazardly bought Christmas gifts—a stained blouse, a busted clock, a cracked lipstick, a tacky lingerie, an oversized t-shirt, a purse too small, a bag with a zipper that doesn't work, ant-infested pastries, etc.

I'd say, “It's the thought that counts.”

But I have my own story to tell about Christmas gifts.

Hubby and I were invited by relatives of Chinese descent to an exclusive (twelve) formal dinner a few days ago. I knew they follow the lunar calendar, but I still agonized over what Christmas gifts to wrap for each one because I had this torturous “what if” in my head.

What if they had gifts for us and we had none to give in return? But the guests were people who belong to that stratum where they can buy the San Juanico bridge and still have spare change to buy the moon. I had already given each of them all my books in previous occasions. I couldn't summon a fresh gift idea.

In the end, I (Tony says this is my department so he rids himself of the thinking process) settled for only two gifts: One, a bottle of wine for the hosts.

Two, a set of my new books for their kid.

Just when I was about to get off the car, I decided to leave the bottle of wine behind—for no reason at all.

It was the wisest decision I ever made. This was what greeted us in the dining room; just a fraction, I am sure, of what they have in their wine cellar.

Whew!

Now the kid loved the books so much his parents said “thank you” to Tony and me more than a dozen times. “They have your books in their school library!” they gushed.

Not one brought a gift. It wasn't a Christmas dinner after all; it was someone's birthday but was deliberately not announced so nobody would bring a gift. 

Another whew!

The dinner was divine.

2 comments:

Yay Padua-Olmedo said...

Best to be led by the Spirit than by others' expectation. Thanks for the reminder.

Grace D. Chong said...

When I saw the wine bar, I almost fainted.