Welcome to Little Wood Shoppe! In this little corner of cyber space I hope you will enjoy my creative musings, day to day happenings with my family of three, and general wordiness that describes my life. Thanks for taking the time to indulge in the mundanity!
All my life, I have always loved to create for people. Whether it be handmade birthday cards when I was younger, mix tapes when I was a teen, to now personalized art, objects that just scream soneone’s name, or surprise brown boxes in the mail, I have always loved the art of gift giving. I love the look on a family or friend’s face when they relish in something you made for them, or found an item that they never knew they wanted until you bought it for them. A simple comment made in passing to be later redeemed on a birthday or special holiday is my most favorite way of gift-giving because it shows that the giver listens to the little details and better than that, remembers them!
To this day, the most memorable gift I have ever received was my very first film camera when I was sixteen years old. The giver was of course my husband, but at the time, he was my twenty-year-old-heart-throb-boyfriend, and I was head-over-heels-seventeen. He drove to my town to pick me up after celebrating Christmas with my own family (at the time I didn’t have a license). Once arrived, I found his family had waited all day to open presents with me! The tradition of his family is to open one gift at a time, round robin style, and then throw the wrapping paper at one another – to this day we carry this tradition on and it has ebbed it’s way through my family as well – a fun holiday tradition.
But, back to the point… during one of the round robin waves, I opened a pack of film and thought it odd, but didn’t want to show any peculiarity on my face, being I was trying to impress the fam back then…. They of course, knew that the film was an addition to a gift I had yet to open, and were all smiling on the inside, the way you do when you know something someone else doesn’t. As the rounds shimmied down to one, I was out of gifts but everyone else had one left. Being so clueless to surprises as I was then, I just figured, well that was fun (as I watched each of them open their last gifts).
They looked at me and questioned, “Where’s your last gift?”
I bashfully remarked, “Oh I ran out.”
A chorus of voices replied, “Oh you have to find your last gift.”
Slowly I rose to my feet and gave my boyfriend a look of bewilderment and slight embarrassment hoping the mystery gift wasn’t going to be so romantic that a flushed face was in my near future, with everyone around me watching. As I roamed around looking for a wrapped box, we all played the hot and cold game until I stumbled upon a small box. I unknowingly shook it’s contents. This sent up a roaring, “No!” tipping me off that what was inside could possibly be quite fragile. As I returned to the chaotic-crumbled-paper-room all eyes are on me. I slowly and carefully ripped into the paper, with unbelieving eyes. I had never celebrated Christmas with a boyfriend before, so this was more than icing on the cake! With him already owning a camera and dappled in photography, he hoped to one day be a professional. I too took classes in high school and had always wanted to learn more about it, as well as share in this pastime with him. After realizing it must have cost a great deal, hugs were exchanged and a thorough explanation of how to insert the film and what settings to use for different lighting.
As the evening wound down, I remember feeling greatly cared for and greatly thought after. I had never mentioned wanting to OWN my own camera, but maybe just mused at the idea of loving photography or loving spending time together in that fashion. Shooting together would be so much fun now that we each were armed with our own creative arsenal. Today we still share in the knowledge, ability, and love of taking photos.
This only fanned the flame of my love for gift giving. Since then, so many more thoughtfully, intentional exchanges have taken place. Even though so many things have changed since that day – a marriage, a family moving, a baby being born – I still love the connection of familiarity the perfect gift can bring. Don’t you? With the season of Christmas looming closely, I hope you’ll consider the thoughtfulness behind the gift. Whether big or small, handmade or store bought, expensive or not, the perfect gift is just that: perfect for the receiver. Enjoy the opportunity.