Thursday, December 15, 2011

Speed-dating, Christmas Style

The other day while we were doing Christmas decorating, Jo and I were talking about stockings and ones we remembered  from years gone by, whether those we’d received or those we’d stuffed for someone else.

At the time it crossed my mind that Christmas stockings are much like speed dating. You invest a lot of thought, time, and effort into them and come away either feeling good about what you’d done or not, and not having a lot else to show for all your time. It comes down to satisfaction in the end, so to speak.

When I prepare items as stocking stuffers, I wrap them. I know. Call me anal about wrapping presents. I want the receiver to anticipate what the stocking holds for as long as she/he anticipates what’s under the tree.

I also feel that lots of small packages are better than one big package. The only things I don’t wrap are pieces of fruit. Candies are wrapped, too.

Here’s an example. Many years ago my wallet was flatter than Scrooge’s Christmas spirit. Not an unusual occurrence, you understand.

I lived a thousand miles away from my family—also not unusual. That year I really felt the need to send them all something for Christmas. I took what money I could scrape together and went to a discount store, bought a huge three foot stocking and commenced to buying small toys and sample toiletry items that cost anywhere from a dime to a quarter each.

I had three bags full when I finished shopping. I wrapped each one in Christmas wrap I’d saved from previous years. Yes, I was one of those. When I was done, I had that huge stocking bulging at the seams.

I labeled the gifts as either HIS or HERS and wrote a Christmas card to all of the family saying that they could have a free for all with the stocking. I’d put in an equal number of gifts each and for them to choose from the gender appropriate tags.

Shipping that box with its goodies cost almost as much as the contents, but it was worth the sense of satisfaction I’d gained from the exercise.

When Christmas rolled around, I heard from the family and about their appreciation of my stocking. They loved it and still remember it all these years later.

My satisfaction came from giving to them what I could and doing it in a way that was unique. I’d thought hard, worked hard, and invested time and effort in the project because I loved them and wanted to share with them. They were worth my effort.
Now you ask how this was like speed dating. Think about it.

I’d wanted to share myself with someone else for a little while. I’d planned how I would present myself to them on this occasion. I’d spent one afternoon shopping at a discount store, choosing among items on sale, so that I could give all that I could to those whom I’d chosen to receive my gifts, and I’d done it quickly. Getting my gifts to those receivers had cost as much as my gifts in the same way paying for a speed dating event would cost plus the transportation costs to get there.

At the end of the event, I walked away alone, yet satisfied that I had made it through another Christmas, given gifts of my time, thought and self for the appreciation of others.

Isn’t that like speed dating?

Until later,


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