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The giftJanuary 02, 2011
by Katie Newingham
What is it about foil wrapping paper and big red bows that make us giddy like schoolgirls? Boxes of every shape and size sit under trees so delicately wrapped with crisscrossed ribbons and snowflake tags, inviting us, even tempting us, to open them before the big day. We stare as we walk past them, imagining that’s what’s inside is what we’ve been pining for all year long. Some of us even launch underground campaigns to make sure we get what we want - iTunes gift card (hint, hint). While others revel in the surprise, considering all of the things that could possibly fit in one tiny-little-box (sapphire ring). It’s funny how gifts make us believe in what we cannot see.
We spent Thanksgiving with our family in Virginia. Since we wouldn’t be home for Christmas, we loaded our trunk full of presents I’d been piling up for our nine nieces and nephews. After Thanksgiving, we decided to give the kids their gifts. They were all so excited to open their packages, which brought me great joy since I’m the one who shops for them, but immediately I noticed I had made one fatal error.
“I like this Nerf gun and all, but I like the old ones better,” my 12-year-old nephew said with a big smile on his face. “They’re bigger and easier to handle.”
Now you might be thinking, “that boy’s spoiled.” But I’ve known him his whole life, and I knew what he really meant. It wasn’t that he wasn’t thankful, it’s that I didn’t know what his favorite toy was. That’s what a real gift is, right? A gift is something you know the other person wants to receive. But I didn’t know what he wanted to receive, because I’d only seen him twice that year and I didn’t ask. In fact, I went to the toy store, saw a good sale on the latest and greatest dart-spouting gun and purchased identical guns for both of my nephews.
I was once told it’s only a present until it’s received and then it’s a gift. With received being defined as graciously accepted, I only gave my nephew a present: A present that could wind up in a junk pile one day. This situation caused me to reevaluate gift giving all together.
Later that night, another relative was saying how his hours got cut back at work and he might not be able to do much for Christmas. I looked at him and said, “You are the gift – you don’t need to buy us anything – you are the gift!”
It’s funny how Christmas represents the day a teenage mom gave birth to a son in a little stable, and in the Christian tradition, this son was the greatest gift to mankind. But now, the day Jesus was born has turned into a season of jammed parking lots, all out brawls over toys and long nights at work to pay for all of the presents we feel obligated to purchase. The funny thing is, I think all most of us really want is to be known. A gift showing we're listening is a nice way to show our affections for one another, but not necessary.
I’m convinced getting to know each other, beyond the superficial layer, is the true gift this season. At Newby Mom, we want you, our readers, to feel like you are known and I want the Newby Mom community to help you find connection with friends in the community and an opportunity for your voice to be heard. Like ambassadors, our team wants to represent the needs of moms, but we need your help to do this. We want to hear from you through email, on Facebook and on Twitter. We want to know what you like to read, eat, where you like to take your kids to play, what your favorite shops are and how we can help you be the best mom you can be. If there's a cause you're concerned about, let us know, and we'll do our best to get behind it!
In January, our edition will be called “Making the Right Resolution.” What are you going to do differently in the New Year? Let us know and we’ll include your thoughts in our edition!
Until then, from all of us at Newby Mom, and with Amy’s Southern drawl,
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