More blessed to give than to receive

Some of the frenzy of this holiday time of the year centers on gifts, of course. We think about what we will receive, naturally, especially when we are young. What do we want most of all? And will we actually receive it? Who will give it to us?

But there’s the giving end of it, too. Sometimes it feels like it all just gets to be too much, as we consider the budget, the desires, and the time it takes to hit on the perfect gift for those we care about the most.

So I wonder if you remember giving a very special gift to someone who was special to you? Something that you were really excited about giving? A gift that you could hardly wait to watch them open?

For me, the gift I gave my parents in 1965 was it. That was the year that the original “Sound of Music” came out, and I wanted my parents to see it. But it was so new that it wasn’t yet being shown at a theater in Hamilton county. So, after some thought, I found out which movie theater was playing it in Des Moines, and I called there. Remember that this was in the day of long-distance calls. (When have you heard or used that phrase?)

I made arrangements for the tickets to be mailed to me after I sent them cash payment. And I gave the tickets to my parents that Christmas morning. As I recall, they made the little trip to Des Moines before New Year’s to see “The Sound of Music.” I’m not sure I ever saw it in a theater, but I was happy my mom and dad could do that.

Maybe it’s being able to give our parents a gift that makes it memorable. When I asked, one of my co-workers immediately remembered when, as a young girl, she went to the local general store with her best friend to buy their mothers a Christmas present. They chose the same gift, a glass relish tray. Although they had money, they were each fifty cents short of what was needed to pay for the relish tray.

So the clerk volunteered to contribute what was needed, and the little girls happily left with the gifts to put under the tree. My co-worker is at retirement age, and her mother passed away a few years back, but she remembered the incident immediately. “Now I have the relish tray,” she told me. “I used it on Thanksgiving this year.”

We all know it, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded: it is more blessed to give than to receive.