On Christmas day growing up, as soon as the packages were all rifled through, I couldn’t wait to get on the phone and call my pals and tell them all about my stash. Not much has changed.
Truthfully, giving and receiving gifts is a beautiful thing. Giving reminds us that we are not the center, that moving against our natural selfishness opens our heart to fresh joys. Receiving reminds usÂ how futile our posture of self-sufficiency really is. Receving forces us to open our arms wide to the people and the world around us, to be open to hope and to surprises and to simple pleasures.
In honor to and in gratitude for all this, I’d like to rekindle my childhood tradition and share with you my five favorite gifts I received this year:
#1 A new handcrafted pottery mug from my wife Miska. I’m a sucker for mugs in general – but handmade, artisan, full of originality – I’m getting goose bumps just describing it.
#2Â An olive green canvas messenger bag (again from Miska). I’ve been hauling around this beefy mahogony-colored leather bag that is actually pretty exquisite – but it’s thrown my shoulder into spasms and makes me look like an ol’ geezer. Now, I have a slightly more hipster bag to carry all my messages in.
Â #3Â A Galimoto from my five year old son Wyatt. We tookÂ Wyatt and Seth to Ten Thousand Villages (a fantastic fair-traded store with all kinds of handmade items fromÂ artists all over the world). They have a “Little Village” for kids where volunteers help them pick out and wrap presents themselves. This was what Wyatt picked out for me – aÂ dynamite little African toy. Of course, the fact that it was from my son and that he was so excited to give it to me – that was the best part.
Â #4: A dear friend gave Miska and me a hand-sewn blanket from India. This is a remarkable gift, a remarkable story. Sari Bari is a new venture that imports blankets sewn by women rescued from the slave trade. This allows them to build a business and earn a living as they restore their dignity. The blankets are made from the Indian sari and each has the name of a woman who is making a new life for herself sewn into it – and “each purchase participates in her freedom.” If that were not enough, the blanket is absolutely stunning.
#5 (and an honorable mention) Miska gave the three Collier men Conn and Hal Iggulden’s Dangerous Book for Boys. This is definitely boys only – no girls allowed. This book explains how to tan an animal skin and make a battery and build a treehouse. It narrates the golden age of piracy and a brief history of artillery. It provides the seven poems as well as the seven latin phrases every boy should know. It explains how to play poker and even makes a stab at how to understand girls. This is going to be fun. [and you will see the honorable mention in the corner – who doesn’t love a new pair of Gap socks?]
And my very favorite gift I gave this year was a new titleÂ banner for my wife’s blog. Each year Miska and I make each other a gift – it’s what I most look forward to. It gives me an opportunity to tell my wife that I see her and that I believe in her and that I love her more than she could imagine.
I hope each of you gave well and received well this Christmas. Both are Gospel acts.
Why don’t you share some of your favorites?
peace / Winn