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  • Kathryn Patterson

The Lost Art of Gift Giving

As we approach the holiday season, I wonder how many people will be doing true gift giving.  I’m not talking about buying the latest toy or the coolest electronic gadget available.  What I am talking about is something more along the like of the story “The Gift of the Magi”. What are you willing to sacrifice in order to obtain the perfect gift for someone else? Our family has a tradition of events and activities as gifts, instead of merely physical possessions.  We have taken our children to see three different Cirque du Soleil shows, the Blue Man Group locally and in Nashvile, TN, and three different  Jonathan Coulton shows (two of them with Paul and Storm!).  Over the years, we have gone on the Christmas train on the Blue Ridge Railroad and given the kids monthly pony rides for a year.  One year, my husband spent umpteen evenings recording an audio book for the children to listen to as we take trips. He sacrificed his free time in the evenings for that gift. Our philosophy is that the kids will treasure the time together that we spend as a family more than another toy. So far, this philosophy seems to work.  Both of the children not only loved the concerts, but they appreciate the family time.  We have photographs and memories to talk about all year long.  They listened to “Rabbit Hill” (the book recorded by my dear husband) several times, and they still own the programs from the Cirque du Soleil shows.   I want to stress that we don’t just give gifts during the month of December, or at birthdays.  If a good concert comes up in the middle of the year, we buy tickets to it for the family.  The latest Jonathan Coulton show occurred the Friday night of Dragon Con.  We got tickets for the family because we all enjoy his concerts. By the way, both of the kids are audiophiles.  Music is quite important to them, which is why the concert tickets mean so much to them. But we don’t just give the children expensive concert tickets.  Earlier this week, my husband sat abandoned while I wrote my daily word quota for NaNoWriMo.  So he looked online and found out how to make heart shaped origami bookmarks.  Then my wonderful husband made two bookmarks for me and one for our daughter (our son would not be interested in a heart shaped bookmark).  He did this on a random weeknight, with no event to celebrate and nothing in particular going on.  But those bookmarks are valuable to both me and our daughter. We try to give time gifts as much as purchased gifts.  Because in the end, the thought behind the gift means so much more than the price tag. Does anyone else have gift giving traditions to share?

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