Admission: My love language is gifts.
If you want to make me happy, then have a birthday, an anniversary, or give birth to a baby. I will then scour the earth finding you the perfect personalized jewelry case, or cover an old wooden box with pictures of you as a baby and Modge Podge it for you.
If you mention that you like the color periwinkle, or that you have always wanted leather driving gloves, or that you have never once had a massage, I will tuck that information into my creative Fort Knox, to simmer deliciously until your next special day, upon which I will present to you the most personal, meaningful, and thoughtful gift you have ever received.
The love for gifts isn’t just for giving them, though. As my daughter once said, “I love giving AND receiving!” My passion for giving the perfect gift is matched with the equal but opposite passion for receiving the perfect gift. But, thus far, no one I know gives with the precision, thought, and tenacity I do. Disappointment, therefore, is my constant companion at any celebration. No gift ever measures up, and here I had dropped so many hints since my last birthday.
I tell you of my persnickety love language so that you realize that what I am about to tell you does not come lightly: I’ve finally found the perfect gift. It is perfect for any occasion—birthday, anniversary, Christmas, or April Fool’s Day (told you it was an obsession). The gift has a 0% return rate, so needs no gift receipt. It does not get stuffed into already-crowded dresser drawers or sit unused in a box in the basement.
It works for both male or female recipients and it’s appropriate for all ages. Despite not being exquisitely wrapped, it delights any who receives it. And, if you aren’t sold already, let me conclude with this clincher: It’s entirely free.
You ready? The gift is…our presence.
Talk about ‘being present’ is all the rage these days and rightfully so. I don’t need to tell you what effect our constantly plugged in culture is having on our lives. Conversation may not be a dying art (yet), but it’s certainly a diminishing one.
We live in a world where words like ‘relationship’ and ‘friends’ need new defining every year, making some of us wonder if the correct term for interactions online might not better be ‘anti-social’ media. What do you mean you want to…meet me for coffee?
How we give the people in our lives this wonderful, free, on-going, perfectly fitted gift is up to each of us. Only you know if you are too addicted to pseudo-friendships on Facebook, too fragmented by Twitter’s interruptions, too worn out by too many activities, too immersed in Downton Abbey, too obsessed with a clean home, too mentally cluttered to sit on the couch for a longer-than-140-characters conversation with your son or to put overnight curlers in your daughter’s hair.
But give it some thought. The ‘unproductive’ hours we spend giving our full presence to those we love may just be the best present we can give them. Even gift snobs like me would like it.
“Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only true gift is a portion of thyself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
This coming year, whatever the occasion, what do your loved ones really want…your presents, or your presence?
By Amy Ruth Henry, Whole Mama