Thanksgiving is upon us yet again, not really sure where the time goes. I’ve looked absolutely everywhere and to no avail. There’s either a black hole that sucks it all away from us or it’s right there in front of us but we’re too concerned with the NEXT thing that we don’t concentrate on the here and now. My money is on the black hole.
Regarding the title of this post, “does it matter?” That popped out of my head for a couple of reasons, 1) I hate the idea that we give thanks once a year although I realize many of us give thanks more, I just don’t like this idea and 2) I’m frustrated with the continued mass consumerism of this country (America) that I live in. Annie and I agreed a few years back that we do not do gifts for people anymore. In my opinion, gifts, for the most part, are meaningless and temporary. We would rather spend physical time with people doing something fun like going on some adventure, going on a trip, or simply sharing a great meal with an epic bottle of wine or four.
You see…I (Matt) am just so sick of all the over spending and under appreciation. Annie and I also started a tradition back on our first Christmas together where we write each other a letter rather than buy any gifts for one another. This letter contains our views on what we’ve been through the past year and our thoughts on our relationship and so on. Sounds stupid I’m sure but the letter I get from Annie is forever to me, not some momentary idiotic knick knack for me to put on a shelf. Life is not about things…neither is Thanksgiving or Christmas. Life is about feelings and relationships and it’s my personal belief that Thanksgiving should be a feeling you have everyday all year long (unless you despise the Holidays because your family sucks).
I’m not sure how we got into this way of thinking, that things can make us happy or that buying things for someone else will make them happy or show our appreciation for that person. I used to buy into all of that, figuratively and literally, but not anymore. It means more to me when someone takes the time to say Happy Birthday to me than it does if they buy me something. I love spending time with those that I care about. Sharing laughter, good times, and a great bottle of wine is the meaning of life for me…and for Annie and I as a couple. To be honest, damn near every amazing memory I have has to do with people, not things…that makes me smile!!
So on this occasion we call Thanksgiving; let’s make an effort to be more thankful more of the time. Let’s make an effort to turn off the fire hose of negativity and be thankful for the good that is going on. Let’s get over the idea that things outweigh the relationships. There is not a thing on this planet that you can buy me that would replace the time you and I could have together…nothing!
We would love to hear your thoughts on this and also let us know what you do for Thanksgiving? Do you go the traditional route or go for the road less traveled? Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Annie and I sincerely appreciate all the acquaintances and friendships we have with all of you and wish you nothing but the best! Cheers!
Very well said, I couldn’t agree with you more, I hate buying gifts when having family around is more important to me. With unemployment still on the rise and not having the extra spending money has taught me how to save, which is hard, I still have my personal things I have to do (nails, haircut/color) take that away and I get ugly…literally. lol This Thanksgiving I will be baking everything and it will be for immediate family as we have to share my parents every year, my house is to small for everyone and not everyone likes each other so to keep peace some are not invited but oh well thats how it goes in most families, I hear. I am thankful I still have my parents my dad and step-mom are 92, and are healthy, my mom is 88. Praying for our troops who can’t be home with their families and thankful for them protecting our freedom. May God richly bless you and yours, this Thanksgiving. Cheers!
Hoot (or Matt) says
You are amazing as always Beverly!! Thanks for your feedback!! I totally understand and agree with what you say about family, seems more normal that not everyone gets along but who knows. I also agree with you a ton on the troops…very appreciative of all they do and the sacrifices they make year round! Cheers Bev, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
The longer I live the more meaning there is in the gifts I’ve received through the years. The meaning of ‘Gift’ (I looked this up on Wikipedia) is the transfer of something without the expectation of payment or reciprocity, and actually helps hold a society together. A gift is meant to be free. And for me, heartful gift giving is an exchange of openness and connection that is different than sharing an experience. I sometimes forget experiences, and certainly forget the details. Holding or looking at something that someone has made or bought for me puts me – just for a moment – back into THAT moment. Yes, they’re ‘things’, but they also carry an emotional memory of the moment I received the gift from that person – the care they’ve taken to please me and the look of anticipation in their eyes as I open their gift, the humbling feeling that they took the time to think about me enough to give me their gift. Moments of my children giving me something crudely made or finely crafted, of a book given by a friend who thought I would enjoy it, of a ceramic bowl or wind chimes or a porcelain angel or garden art or a piece of jewelry or a blanket to keep me warm or a knick-knack that looks great in my room….. I know who gave me each thing and am filled up with love by their gift of care. And, the longer I live and older I get, the more I appreciate those tangible reminders that bring a glow from the past into the present. I don’t always remember the taste of good food or excellent wine or what the conversation was even though I fully enjoyed that moment. But knowing someone has put thought and care and time into giving me a gift — ahh, that in itself is a gift! That is a tangible expression that I’m important enough to someone else for them to want to give me a gift with no expectation of anything in return. And we meet in the ground of Vulnerability – the Giver and the Receiver.
Guess I have a lot to say about gifts and giving, but your post got me thinking, Matt. The trick is indeed how to stay heartful and not fall into the cynicism of commercial buy-buy-buy-and-then-you’ll-be-happy that’s pounded into our senses at this time of year. And the trick is also how to stay in the spirit of Giving and not fall into the stress of have-tos or shoulds. But whether one gives the gift of time or a ‘thing’, this season can’t help but remind me that the very very ultimate most important people in my life are my family and closest friends. I love them and want to be with them. I love the togetherness – and I love giving them gifts. Heck-fire, it’s just about Love after all!!
the transfer of something without the expectation of payment. Although gift-giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity, a gift is meant to be free. In many human societies, the act of mutually exchanging money, goods, etc. may contribute to social cohesion.
PS – Sorry, that’s the quote from Wikipedia at the bottom of my loooooong response!! Didn’t see it was still there. Maybe it’s a gift? 🙂
Hoot (or Matt) says
I understand your point Karen, and appreciate the way you explained it. I guess my life experience is different…I see people giving gifts to people I know they don’t care for or people giving gifts as a way to “show love” but do not show love verbally or physically. I am also of the generation where consumerism is completely out of control and we have allowed the media and businesses to override what life is all about and what this time of year is all about.
I also know that if I only buy gifts for the people I have heart felt feelings for, many others would feel hurt that they did not get something. I’m also someone, based on my personality and individuality, take far more appreciation and care with memories created. I love looking through all my pictures and flipping through the old memory and remember specific times with people.
At the end of the day I suppose it comes down to individual opinion and experience. I prefer the “time”, the moments, the laughter and so on over the things. I’m just not a “thing” or “gift” person I suppose. As you say though, you are and that’s good that you have the context of gifts that you have…because most do not in my opinion.
Cheers and thanks again for your perspective! 🙂