The other day at work, a customer came in to have something framed as a Christmas gift. It wasn’t the first item he has brought us, and it isn’t the first year he has visited us.
Not one of the items he has chosen to frame, to give as a gift, have ANY monetary meaning. They don’t really even have any larger artistic significance. Indeed, I realized he mostly framed old calendar pages, in frames he bought at Goodwill. He just wants us to cut a mat and put it together, to make it look all clean and pretty.
To make this pedestrian bit of ephemera a GIFT.
And as I was packing it up, wrapping in brown snowflake-printed kraft paper, it occurred to me suddenly, HE KNOWS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT.
I can imagine Christmas at his house. It ISN’T about the fanciest, the biggest, the most expensive, high-tech wowing overflow of gifts, the overwhelming chaos of boxes and ribbons.
There, in this house, there are probably board games, or puzzles to put together. There are cookies and treats, and hot chocolate and LAUGHTER. The phone rings and those gathered pass it around to talk to people who couldn’t be there today. Family and friends, gather around the table. Conversation. Laughter. Memories. Camaraderie. And, yes. Gifts. Not ‘break the bank’ one-upmanship gifts.
Just THOUGHTS. “I saw THIS picture, and THIS picture makes me think of YOU and I want you to think of ME when you walk by it hanging in the hallway in the middle of next May.”
I hope you receive, and give, gifts like that this holiday….. (in an odd coincidence, Gifts from the Attic Stairs, one of my most read blog posts, was posted EXACTLY 8 years ago…)
Happy birthday to my cousin Thomas and my son-in-law, Matthew.