Last week Sunday, completely out of the blue, we sang a Christmas song in church. Now this caught me so off guard, it being only the beginning of October, that I’m afraid I missed most of the rest of the sermon as my mind wandered through fond memories of past Christmases. In my defence though, many of those memories were of beautiful European cathedrals and carolling choirs, so perhaps that is somewhat redeeming.
I’ve been a little out of touch with the world lately, as I try and wrap up all my university projects while feverishly trying to get everything sorted for our Aurora 2012 holiday. So much so that when I went shopping after work today, the green and red buntings that adorned the windows and aisles of the mall suddenly reminded me that we would not be home for most of December and that it’s probably about time I started looking for Christmas gifts for family and friends.
I like to do my shopping well in advance, because gifts should be personal in my opinion. Unfortunately I’m not the artsy, creative or handy type that can make something special, so instead I have to search for something thoughtful for everyone, and that usually takes some time.
And because I know the amount of effort I put into gifts for others, I’m always extremely pleased when someone gives me something in return that I can see they’ve put some time and consideration into.
One of the best Christmas presents I have ever received was the tent that my parents jointly gave us two years ago. We’d been borrowing their two-man dome tent and while adequate, the new three-room tent was exactly what we needed to make our camping trips more comfortable, and more fun. And that meant more trips to see more places and make more memories, which in my mind was the real gift. At the end of the day, all we really have are our memories.
Good presents don’t have to be expensive, of course. As the years pass and various gifts blur into obscurity, I will always remember the book a friend gave me about once-in-a-lifetime experiences, or the recipe, ingredients and utensils needed to make a batch of my favourite Scottish shortbread, or a pair of self-knitted mittens that are going with us to the Arctic this year. It’s the gifts from people who really know me that mean the most to me.
And as I start working on a gift list so long while dreaming of a white Christmas this year, I’ll leave you with this song to set the mood: