I recently received a gift I was reluctant to accept. I find it really difficult to accept things that have a great meaning attached to them and recently a friend has given me something that I feel like I don’t deserve at all. Although I feel conflicted, I have to admit it’s one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever been gifted. Still, I was so caught of guard that I doubted it was even a gift at first. I simply thought he was letting me borrow it for a while. Which would already be a fantastic gift. Part of me still thinks he’ll want it back eventually, if he ever does, I’ll give it back in a blink.
I’m the world’s worst gift receiver – trust me on this one – so I often struggle with letting people know how much I appreciate what I was given. Sometimes I’ll feel so bad about receiving something that I’ll have to put it out of sight for a while. There’s this lump in my throat, this notion that I could never repay or even give something back that has that much meaning attached to it, that I just can’t seem to get rid off. Eventually it’ll get better, but not until I do something that I feel will balance things out.
Before we even considered ourselves friends we bonded over our Christmas madness. I don’t think I had ever met a fellow Christmas enthusiast, at least not one with whom I could relate so much. He might have been the first person I offered Christmas socks to. And we weren’t even that close back then. Every year, I give the people that I’m closest with a little stocking with the essentials, it’s my little tradition. The top item on that list? Socks. It’s a basic item that one could never have too much of. I think that you should always provide the people you love with the essentials first and then spoiled them if you can. But I’m going off track.
Through the years I realized that this friend has many christmas traditions he likes to follow. The christmas enthusiast in me admires that a lot. One of the traditions I admired the most was the one with the book. He would read the same book every year around Christmas time. As someone who finds it difficult to read even a brochure twice, I really admired this tradition. I would always think to myself: I’m gonna have to buy that book and read it to understand him a bit better, although I always believed the key wasn’t the story itself, but the familiarity of the tradition. Turns out, I never ended up buying it.
This year, at the beginning of November – we established that it’s acceptable to start the Christmas festivities at this time – he told me he had a gift for me. If you’re thinking it’s the book, you’re absolutly right. However, I never thought it could be that. I don’t think I ever told him how much I admired his tradition, so I was caught by surprise when I saw what it was. At first I taught he had bought me one like his, which would have been fantastic. But it was his own edition. Needless to say I didn’t want to accept it. I think I
failed to managed to convince him this was only a rental. Sure, I’ll hold onto it until you’re ready to take it back, friend.
He told me he though I would take good care of it, it’s a big responsibility there buddy, I hope I’ll manage. I was still reluctant, there’s nothing I can give him that you compare to that. He’s had that book for around 17/18 years. If I was to gift him one of the books I’ve had for that long, he would end up with a beat up copy of a picture book of The Sleeping Beauty. I don’t think it would fulfill the purpose quite the same.
The thing about this friend .. I don’t get attached easily but he crawled under my skin and now I care. I care that I’m empty handed. Don’t have any cards up my sleeve for the moment being. I hate to be in debt, but that’s what we have for Christmas this year. I’m very grateful for his gift, I am. I’ve been enjoying the book slowly. There’s a whole experience attached to it and I’m very appreciative of that. I like books that look and feel like they’ve been read, they’ll tell you two stories at once. So it was a great gift, one of my all time favourites. It comes with a great cost though: I can never repay it.
And I really wanted to. It’s important to give back. It’s important to let people know that they are appreciated, and I often fail to show that. I hope creativity strikes and I find my way to repay it soon. Until then, my gratitude will have to do.