As I prepared for my move this week, I had several generous friends give me things that made me reconsider gift-giving etiquette. What these folks made me realize is how important it is to both give what's appropriate and meaningful but also something with which the essence of yourself is hovering. I will not lie, I absolutely adore receiving gifts, and I often present them to myself; I do, however, hesitate to open gifts in front of others. I believe this is just one of the many results of my effort to stay out of the spotlight in a group...I'm more of an observer. In any case, let me highlight those gifts I received this week that have my stamp of approval for thought and originality.
The first of the gifts was a journal. This is, indeed, a standard sort of gift, but the giver personalized it by writing on the first page of the journal. This message was a emotionally powerful and meaningful message meant to leave a clear mark of her spirit. Another gift I received was a group of three toy pigs. While I do not maintain a collection of toy farm animals with which to entertain myself, these pigs will remain a staple part of my belongings for time. This gift was given by an individual who was familiar with German tradition, so the pigs were given under the German assumption that the pig brings fertility, good fortune, and sustenance. I received three, just so that no one pig had to take the burden of all three. As a result, I will be carrying well wishes with me, and with those well wishes (the pigs), I will also carry memories of a precious person from my time in Philadelphia. Another gift was a bunch of burnt DVDs and one with a huge volume of music--my favorite. This gift was given, based on my musical and television tastes, but they also are indelibly marked by the tastes of the giver. Hope's Cookies were also given to me. Now, while the actual cookies are already half gone, I will never forget that I received these from a person to whom I admitted, "I have a love affair with Hope's Cookies." Another one of my favorites from the week was a meal with a friend, it was her treat. But, it was something we both truly enjoyed.
Basically, what these people have proven to me is that they not only appreciate my interests and favorite things, but they also are interested in me remembering their places in my life. I, of course, would have remembered them without these gifts, but there's nothing like the material to serve as a post-it note reminder that things did and continue to exist--just like my interactions with the givers.