OK, this picture is not a Christmas ornament, but it is related to Christmas! This is my niece La Liz's foot modeling the socks I knit for her last Christmas (you know, the infamous Year of Socks). She wore them the very next day, and kept saying how comfy they were, how they really fit, etc.
Proving to me that it is worth making an effort for some people at Christmastime.
Having said that, the nieces from one family and their respective partners were all extremely enthusiastic about receiving handknit socks. If they were just acting to be polite, a) I don't care, and b) they should receive Oscars, 'cause it seemed very genuine. My niece, nephew, and nephew's wife from another family did not even mention having received the socks. On the one hand, it doesn't matter, since once you give a gift, it's not yours to think about any more. But on the other hand, whenever I write a thank-you note/e-mail, or make a phone call on a day I have received a gift, I make every effort to mention it specifically. So as you can guess, no more knitted items for them. Which is fine, as it cuts out three people more to worry about!
The reason I'm even thinking about any of this today is because I have wrapped a group of gifts that we will be mailing tomorrow. I love to buy/make/discover gifts for people, and since we don't get home to spend Christmas Day with friends and family, we send out a lot of boxes o' gifts. I have so much fun wrapping the stuff, and putting it into a box to send - I always hope that opening the box and seeing gifts make the recipients happy too. This year, there are very few handmade gifts. A lot of things I bought on sale after Christmas last year, and forgot I had - so it was a nice surprise for me to find so much already taken care of!
People always tell me that it is ridiculous to send gifts to so many people. I always say that if they ever have to be the ones paying for them, I'll stop. But as long as it's my decision and my money/time, I don't really see that it's anyone else's business. I used to work with a person who I swear would keep a running tab on what she thought I had spent on gifts and mailing charges. And then she would usually say something like, "Well, most of them are probably doing better financially than you, so they should be sending you the packages." This irritated me beyond belief! I am not perfect, but I seldom think of giving someone a gift based on what they might give me. Growing up, receiving a gift was a BIG deal (it still is), but giving a gift was always so much more fun. As an adult, I realize that having that feeling is one of the very best gifts my parents could have given to me.
And trust me - no one in my family is a nicey-nice person who only ever does/says/thinks nice things. But to our credit, I think all of us "get" the idea behind giving a gift. And some of us are more organized than others. None of us are wealthy. And not everyone regularly gives me/us a gift. But you know what? I really and truly don't care. Because tomorrow when I head to the post office with my numerous boxes, and spend way too much mailing packages, it will make me happy and put me in the Christmas spirit like few other things will during the whole season.
Now ... I'd better get something GOOD this year ... ;-)
Open your presents at Christmastime but be thankful year round for the gifts you receive.
~Lorinda Ruth Lowen