Here is something published in today’s edition of Métro: Mon cadeau de Noël préféré.
My favourite Christmas gift
For my last column before the holidays I decided to write about my favourite Christmas gift. Unfortunately I sat for quite a while and couldn’t think of what it was. I considered a few possibilities such as the time my brothers and I saw a pool table in our living room as we walked in from midnight mass. Another was the time I got my first real present – a warm winter coat my father bought at an auction. These were big but they did not come to mind unless I worked at remembering them. Instead, a cheap little gift kept popping into my head.
The memorable gift was given to me by my daughter Amy, who was six or seven at the time. It was a Duke Ellington CD. The CD itself was pretty forgettable. It was one of those discount Greatest Hits type collections that could be found at any Walmart. What touched me was how it was chosen. Amy was out shopping with Mom. When she walked past a rack of CDs, she picked up the Ellington CD and said to her Mom, “Daddy likes the Duke.”
Why did this $10 present mean so much to me? Because in her decision to pick up something for Dad, my daughter had to know something about me. She had to think of what would make me happy rather than simply what would make a nice gift (like a tie).
If this isn’t the reason we celebrate the holidays, I don’t know what is. It is about taking the time to think of others – whether they are members of our families, our friends, our co-workers, or those marginalized by society. In thinking about what is important to them, we let others know we took the time to understand them.
And of course the more we do this for others, the more likely they are to do it for us.
Some things can make good presents. I suppose you can’t go wrong with a sweater. But the ones that are remembered are the ones that reflect how much you paid attention to the person you are giving to. I could care less if the gift was a broken piece of plastic, or a valuable item, or even a cheap Walmart CD. I care that when choosing the gift, my daughter thought about me and the things I like. It was magic, the kind of magic I wish for all of you. Happy Holidays!
21 Dec 2010