“What’ve you got that I can give?”
I’m not sure any of them really grasped what a white elephant gift was. But the hunt was on.
Ethan pulled out a thick coloring book we’d gotten for Isley. “How about this?” “I got that for your sister.” “She doesn’t need it.”
Sydney found an almost new volleyball. “How about this? It’s white.”
Teagan just wandered around, looking. And asked if I had an elephant.
“Do you all even know what a white elephant gift is? It’s supposed to be funny. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”
‘Tis the season for gifting–and re-gifting. White elephant gifts reflect the mentality many have at Christmas. I give a gift I didn’t want to buy to get a gift I really didn’t want to receive.
The kids actually had the better idea. They knew they couldn’t spend money on a gift. But their hearts were in giving the best they could find around the house. Not some goofy gift that would only be re-gifted the next time a white elephant event occurred.
I think in the busyness of life–and especially this season–I’ve misplaced my joyful gift-giving self. There was a time when going out to look for the perfect gift for a loved one was a treasure hunt. A chance to meet a special need. To give a delightful surprise. To touch a heart with the thoughtfulness that went into the choosing.
Now folks send links to let you know what they want. Specifically. Kind of takes the surprise out of receiving. It makes me wonder why we bother to look. Just send money.
I remember how my kids, when they were young, were in awe of Christmas and all it meant. Receiving gifts was definitely a high point, but they delighted in giving gifts. They’d rummage around the house and find trinkets to wrap up for me and their dad.
Christmas morning we’d open bundles wrapped in so much tape it took scissors to get through it. And inside would be little treasures. A figurine Grandma had when she was younger. A potholder I’d lost. Pictures made with glue and glitter that made me grin and grit my teeth.
Gifts from the heart.
We want to give to others because God has given so lavishly to us. He’s given us His best.
“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
True giving comes from a heart of love that longs to communicate how special the receiver is. The real gift is in the act of giving.
God delights in giving us grace and mercy. He surprises us with redemption and love. We are always on His mind and heart, so He gives what He knows we need. And what we, in truth, want.
Being able to give to others is because I’ve been on the receiving end of so many blessings.
I can put a smile on those white elephants.
First photo courtesy of pinterest.com.
Second photo courtesy of churchm.ag.
Third photo courtesy of etsy.com.