My back was aching, but something weighed heavier than the pain.
It was my love for gift-giving coming back. I had to welcome it with eagerness again.
Back in college, I worked for our school paper. Every December, I’d buy each of my friends little gifts. I recall a John Lennon book I gave to my friend who made me love the Beatles; a pink stuffed toy that looked like a baseball bat to a friend who is one of the best graphic designers I’ve known; and a Purpose Driven Life Journal to a friend who taught me to know God more. I also remember making greeting cards for my parents and for my friends before in high school. I loved doing personalized things for them, presents you cannot find in any store because you worked hard on it. It has your fingerprints, your efforts, your time, you.
I walked for almost 5 hours around the nearby malls, just enjoying myself, knowing that I was doing something that I love for people I dearly love. The sun was up, there were a lot of people I saw who were also Christmas shopping, and I didn’t feel so alone walking around, looking for gifts my family, friends, and officemates would need.
I also bought Christmas wrappers. Wrapping gifts is a challenge, but getting to personalize them, as well as the tags, motivated me. I was never a good wrapper; I was always clumsy with scissors, always cutting slightly jagged edges. But handcrafted things, I do appreciate. My Mima loves crafts – I may have inherited it too, but the talent? Not so much.
While I was preparing the gifts, I chanced upon my watercolor sketchpad. I thought of giving some of my old paintings away but found myself hesitating during the process.
These were personal works, ones that had messages behind them, ones that encouraged me during times of doubt. Do I really have to give some of them away?
I told myself over and over that to give love was the purpose of my life. That the gifts I have been given by God were meant to be given away.
And so I ripped some of the pages and cut them into squares, so they could accompany the letters I also mean to give to my family and friends.
Wasn’t this what Christmas is about? Giving?
God has given us His one and only son, so we could have eternal life. Love – it’s all about giving and receiving. We have been given love, we must receive it, then we pass it on. Not just during Christmas but at all days of the year.
In these little gifts, I remember the day I walked for hours, stayed in stores for a long while, so I could find what others would love to receive. I put my time and effort and myself into these. But I guess the most important thing in the end is you giving yourself to the people around you.
It is not in the gifts, not in material things or attractive-looking packages but you.
As it was said in a book No Holds Barred by Mr. Oliver Tuazon, “…that we fulfill ourselves – we become happy – in so far as we give ourselves to others.”
Giving so much of ourselves is tiring. It robs you out of your energy, your pride stored in your bones, and the comfort of remaining within your own nest. It makes you uncomfortable, yes, but that is what makes it a brave thing to do everyday.