I am grateful ~ I can’t help it ~ for Christmas presents. As much as I practice non-attachment to stimulus-driven pleasure, and as much as I don’t want more stuff, I still take “conditional joy” as a friend called it, in opening presents. The pleasure of having some presents to open on Christmas morning hearkens back to the simpler time of childhood: but, the presents I give and get these days are smaller and seem to mean more. A jar of homemade of jam, a special glass, a paper platter of baked treats. We are putting more of ourselves and less of our money into presents, with the genuine satisfaction of knowing it really is the thought that counts.
Amy’s box, for example, was full of thoughtful little gifts. A wooden hook her father made for me in the shape of an R; a jar of homemade peach~blueberry~pepper jam, cloth napkins, chocolate, a couple of magnets, and a gift card for Penzey’s, a social-justice company with great spices and the motto Love People, Cook them Tasty Food. When my mom, aka Santa, stuffed our Christmas stockings she filled them with thoughtful tidbits she’d collected during the year, and at the bottom was the toe present, always the best gift. Opening Amy’s box this morning reminded me a little of opening my stocking, only there were several ‘toe presents.’
Grateful for homemade-handmade gifts of fizzy bath salts, an artful marbled bookmark, a pint of vanilla ice cream, a beeswax candle, all thoughtful presents that will disappear quickly or take up little space; but mostly grateful for the thoughtfulness of dear friends who gave me all these bright little treasures, and for those near and far who sent actual Christmas cards, making me feel loved and cared for. I know this holiday is hard for a lot of people, for a lot of reasons, and my heart aches for the copious suffering of others who haven’t got what I have: sufficient food, fresh water, warm shelter, and a life full of friendships, all making it easy for me to feel grateful and perfectly contented spending this holiday isolated, but not alone.