I’ve completed my Christmas shopping. In fact, I was done before Thanksgiving.
Now, before any of you say (sarcastically or otherwise), “Well, good for you!” or mutter under your breath, “I hate you” here’s the whole truth: I only had to buy Christmas gifts for one person.
That’s one of the few advantages of being truly broke, the burden of picking the perfect gift is lifted. Nobody expects gifts from you. In fact, they don’t want them. My family knows I struggle to pay my utility bills, especially this time of year, and they couldn’t really enjoy anything I spent money on. Their concern would go so far as the money spent to mail the gifts to them.
At the same time it makes me incredibly sad. These are the people who are doing everything they can to help me get back on my feet, financially, emotionally, whatever I may need. They’ve been there for me in what was truly my darkest hour, suffered silently imagining what I was going through, and believed in me no matter what the cost.
My relationship with my mom has been strong for years, but events of recent years have established and reinforced a healthier, closer bond with both my dad and my brother. While times have been terrible, results, at least some, have been overwhelmingly good.
I long for the day I’m able to pay them back, if only in the simplest of ways, a Christmas gift or two.
Of course I have no idea what I’d get them. My brother lives on one coast, my dad on the other, my mom in the Upper Midwest, me in the South. We couldn’t be more widely dispersed, that is, in this nation, and as such, we don’t really know what gifts would be most appreciated by the other. Not even what gift certificates would be preferred.
Not to say anyone fails in their gift-giving. We figure it out and do just fine. It’s just that those special gifts you know someone would value because you’ve spent time with them elude me.
So this year I’m looking for a way to say “thank you” and “I love you” that will cost me what I can afford and be valued by the recipients.
Knowing me, I’ll think of that perfect gift in January. Fortunately, my brother’s birthday is just a month later.