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Friday, November 29, 2013

Gifts That Cost More



There's no hint of Christmas decor up here yet. This photo is from last year. But that doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about the season. I've cleared away the autumn decor. The house is spare and clean, waiting. Tomorrow I'll continue with some cleaning, then prepare the candles for Advent.

Today is Black Friday. I watched some snippets of the hullaboo in the country to the south of us. And I heard about situations, not quite as dramatic, here in Canada, where Black Friday fever seems to have swept over the retailers. And what's it all about? Getting stuff for cheap. Saving money. Trampling over people (literally) to get stuff that's going to be out of style, broken and useless in a few years.

I'm all for saving money and not spending what I don't have to. But as society searches for the cheapest gifts that money can buy, I think about gifts that might cost a whole lot more. Not gifts that I can wrap up and place under the tree, but gifts that will carry meaning long after the tree drops all its needles, the candles burn out, and the batteries run dead.

I'm thinking about gifts that will cost me something intangible, but utterly important. Like forgiveness. It's hard to make the first move when I feel misunderstood or treated badly. My pride gets in the way. It costs me dearly to step into the breach and say, "In the grand scheme of life, does this quarrel matter? Let's make up. I forgive you. Will you forgive me?" I know of too many siblings who won't speak to each other, too many children estranged from their parents. However valid the differences of opinion, I still find it sad.

Or the gift of acceptance. Believe that people have goodness, that people do not want to harm you. Believe in their sincerity. Oh, I know that there are those who will betray that belief and who, perhaps, cannot be trusted. But believe that there is a core within that will respond to love and acceptance. That belief will be a gift to you as much as to the other.

Or the gift of time. Letting a frazzled young mom get ahead of you in the line up. Chatting with that older neighbour who goes on and on while you want to get on with your own tasks. Getting together for tea with a friend you haven't seen in awhile. Time with family, with friends. Time with your spouse. Time with yourself to think.

These gifts will not deplete my bank account or run up my charge card. They will cost me mental effort, emotional output, and time. But in giving forgiveness, acceptance, and time, I believe that my Christmas will be made richer. Not everyone will respond in like manner, but I will have done well. I will have gifted others and gifted myself at the same time.

 

 

26 comments:

  1. Sometimes the hardest gift to give is the gift of time and we live like it will be there some day . . . but when it really comes down to it, and we know we only have a limited time left, it suddenly becomes all you want. It's about taking time intentionally because we know not how much time we have left.

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  2. I see we think alike - I have scheduled a post for Pause in Advent which says something similar about our spending and buying frenzy. It's good to know that there are those who see things as you do.

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  3. Lorrie, how true. So often we forget that time spent with others can be meaningful, a little help offered here and there, a quick visit to a neighbour. All these things are gifts of a kind.

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  4. At the market the other day a lady was having trouble stuffing a large amount of fabric she'd just bought into her bag (The stall holder had laughingly told her she could fold it herself). I offered to help her and we had smiles as we folded her fabric just as I did when I helped mum with the bed sheets from the laundry. It was such a simple act but she was so grateful. It cost me nothing except a trip down memory lane. xx

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  5. Your Christmas is more like my Christmas. I detest Black Friday and everything it has come to represent.

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  6. Lorrie,
    I love this post. I agree with you!

    I was out on Black Friday picking up groceries and at one store my daughter and I were able to do a bit of Christmas shopping. I am happy to report that there was no craziness nor were there huge crowds. Maybe because it wasn't Thursday or Midnight, I don't know, but I'm thankful because I usually opt out of being out on Black Friday.

    Deanna

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  7. I couldn't agree more with your wise words here today, Lorrie. You won't find me anywhere near a mall this weekend. Although even on the homefront with a mailbox full of ads and an inbox full of even more ads, it is hard to escape the push of Black Friday.

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  8. Ah Lorrie dear, you hit the nail on the head here in such a touching post. How special is a material gift when it's been fought over, discounted to death, and caused its purchaser nothing but headaches to acquire? A personal gift of time can mean a lot and I do try to do this year round with friends, neighbors and family..................at Christmas perhaps it changes a little. The younger kids especially expect a present, but when one looks around the stores it's overwhelming what's offered these days - far too much to choose from. I'm thankful I no longer have to buy for children - except my neighbor's 9 y.o. and as she loves art supplies I find this an easy buy. The teens now get gift cards to a store such as Target where they can choose almost anything..............and the adults get a restaurant or gourmet grocery store gift card.
    Most people don't want useless tchotchkes to clutter up already over-stuffed homes! My generation, me included, is trying to downsize and get rid of stuff at this point! I recall those early years, we were young, had little money, and spent hours Christmas shopping for the perfect gift for so many family members and friends - we lived up north and it was cold or snowing, the kids were little and got tired, it was exhausting but fun I suppose. Nice memories, but couldn't face it now!

    Anyway, happy Christmas shopping dear..........whatever you give will be welcomed I'm certain.
    Hugs - Mary

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  9. Lovely thoughts for this Christmas season and all year through. There are some simple things to make a big difference. As for the perpetual looping of a few incidents...ugh. People are nuts, but take a good look...they are the same nuts! Oh my.

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  10. Very well put, and so timely! Advent blessings!

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  11. Thank you for a very thoughtful and wise post! I don't venture out into the shopping madness.

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  12. Such good thoughts, Lorrie!

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  13. I watched the shots of fighting customers with horror...what reputation would a cheap TV have if you were the person that had to shove others away to capture it? Why would you do that?

    I like your gifts so much better, they are priceless.

    Jen

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  14. A very thoughtful post - I like the part of giving of our time - listening to someone - sharing tea. I've always said that if everyone in the world were paired up with someone from another country and sat down to a bowl of ice cream, we'd have no wars. Now if I can just gather up enough bowls and spoons.

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  15. I'd be very, very happy with any one of those gifts, and would like to be able to give several of them. Time is the biggest gift of all.
    I've watched the Black Friday hype - I find it distasteful. Perhaps there is some reason for it - some history - in the US, but here it is just odd.....and very distasteful!

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  16. Black Friday, oh dear. I saw on the news last night that even over here there were fights in supermarkets and someone had broken her hand where people had trampled on it. The corporate world has a lot to answer for. Each year I have a gift from my mum that is something of my grandparents and those gifts are the most special of all. The fact that my mum has taken time out to see what I would enjoy is wonderful. Last year it was a 100 year old book of Victorian London. Can't buy that on Black Friday. xx

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  17. You mentioned the best gifts of all...forgiveness, time, patience, acceptance. Wishing you a blessed advent season!

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  18. This is such an inspiring post, Lorrie. There is far too much racing through December, with not enough pausing to give these more valuable gifts. Food for thought...

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  19. I understand completely about all of these material things that we've imposed upon ourselves. It only seems to get bigger as each year went by, and I avoid Black Friday for all it worth.

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  20. Such a thought provoking post, Lorrie. Thank you for reminding us of the gifts that count. And speaking of gifts, thank you for your recent gift. I am waiting for my son to visit to help me with finding my download. I do appreciate for kindness and hope that the coming weeks will be filled with joy for you and your family.

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  21. A very timely post dear Lorrie.
    The mere thought of Black Friday gives me the shudders. We had a piece on our international news - the crowds were horrific!
    Your gifts of forgiveness, acceptance and time are more valuable than expensive shiny gizmos.
    Advent is the time to reflect on our values of empathy, compassion and love.
    A time to think on our relationship with God, our family and the wider community.
    A most thought provoking post.
    Shane







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  22. Lorrie,

    Such an eloquently written post about those more 'pricey' gifts, ones that are, indeed, many times so very difficult to bestow, but effortlessly accepted when received. I have heard many stories of family members who, in the spirit of Christmas, come together in forgiveness, during the holidays. These anecdotes inspire me to believe that fundamental goodness in people still prevails, sparked by the glow of the season.

    Thank you for this most memorable and timely post.

    Poppy

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  23. Beautiful post, Lorrie.

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  24. We had a black Friday here this year. The first ever. Things always make their way from there to here!!

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