My wife and I have a lovely family for neighbors. We are very fortunate to have them as our neighbors since the couple that lived there before this family arrived, had a tumultuous relationship that ultimately ended in divorce.
The elder daughter in this young family, has become an instant play buddy for our younger daughter Annie and the addition of their younger son a few years ago was exciting for both our kids because they love babies so much and he is just a really sweet kid.
The parents are genuinely nice and considerate people…perfect neighbors.
As neighbors often do at this time of year, we exchanged little gifts for the holidays.
We gave them their gifts about a week ago (something for each kid and a bottle of wine for Mom and Dad….wine is always a good thing when you are a parent to young children!).
Yesterday, they reciprocated…giving our elder daughter a Starbucks coffee card, some make eye-liner pencils and our younger daughter some cute gloves and nifty lip gloss. They gave my wife and I a bottle of wine (guess they liked our gift so much they had to respond in kind).
First thing my wife did was freak out, saying that “we skimped and cheaped out”. “They spent so much on each of the kids and we spent next to nothing”, she said.
I didn’t realize that how much you spend on someone is determined by how much you think they spent on you, if anything at all. I thought that at this time of year, a gift of any kind regardless of its price, is appreciated because it is all about the thought that went into the gift..not how much money was spent on it.
As I write this blog, my two children are creating homemade gifts to give to our friends whose house we are going to for Christmas Eve dinner. Annie is painting a wooden framed mirror and Molly is decorating and painting a wooded recipe box that we bought from DeSerres. I spent next to nothing on the craft….all the value is in their creativity and thought. The gifts they are creating are coming from the heart…from which all acts of greatness come.
Etiquette-shmetiquette! Gift-giving is all about the sentiment.
My family used to own a book store in mid-town Toronto. At this time of year, I always have a memory of one special lady, who was a regular customer of ours. She would bring in a box filled with home made shortbread cookies. The box weighed a ton (you could smell the butter!) and the treats were completely unnecessary and overly decadent, but the thought and care that went into the creation of this gift (which really didn’t cost her anything other then her time), was incredibly appreciated by my family and our staff.
As we head into the holiday season, take a moment out to consider this; the holidays are all about acts of kindness and generosity…not what the price tag is on the gift.
I am also taking a breather from this blog thing to hunker-down with my gang over the next week or so…to get a full dose of family life with little to no outside interruptions.
I look forward to this big time…it will also provide me with a bevvie of material to include in my blogs for 2011.
So, to anyone who has ever read or who continues to read this blog, thank you. You are a quiet bunch…I would love to hear more from you in 2011. Maybe I will create some interesting things for you to ponder in future editions of The Enlightened Male.
I wish you much love, happiness, peace and health for the holiday season and into 2011. Appreciate each day and live in the now…its a great place to be.