The Goal(s) of Gifts (Given)
In the fall I planned which gifts I would give. I assessed what my garden provided in abundance and found the intersection with which ingredients would seem the right kind of festive in December. This could be taste, or shape or color, or even the kind of packaging I knew I could decorate.
This year was no different than every year. My goal(s) was always to be ready to show appreciation, reciprocate kindness, to manage my stress level and my bank account.
This past week marked the solstice. It was no longer fall. As I post, dusk is covering Christmas Eve, a significant gift giving opportunity on which I will only give one gift, to my father. All my other gifts were given in earlier weeks. Still, I am writing about holiday gifts, not because I achieved my goals about how I give to others. Instead, I am focused on what they say about what I could give to myself.
This year I gave my coworkers a choice: honey or tomato preserves.
When they chose honey, I explained how it came from bees kept on our farm. I added that if it was Rosh Hashanah, they would have a 'sweet new year', except I was sure the sentiment applied here. I kept to myself that this honey was reconstituted because I knew that changed nothing. Change without change can work.
When they chose the tomato preserves, I shared all the ways they could eat it, the flavor profile, and how it's a bit feisty. I never mentioned, I renamed my not quite thick enough jelly at the advice of a friend. I didn’t add that I still struggled to get the consistency quite right, and still the flavor is so good, I never stop trying.
My Cabañuelas post predicted my year. On January 12th, the day that would determine December, I wrote about a feeling of sadness caused by what could, but likely wouldn’t, be next, the kind of next, or whatever next the new year would bring.
December. The month I just past through and seems to remain ever the same. One of questioning. Wondering. Wanting. Wanting to want something and seeking it through that which I cannot control.
Did I really want nothing? Or did I not want to name what I wanted? When I examined what was planned in autumn, January 9th, 10th, and 11th, I heard a clear message. I needed to define what I am by what I wanted, not attempts to perceive what others wanted or valued. My goal for gifts given to myself should be choice.
Next year, some choices will be honey, sweet-a result of unseen work warmed back to a consistency. The opportunity will be available to me based on hard work and dedication that went unnoticed at the time. Some choices will alternatively named tomato preserves, feisty-a less certain but flavorful option that I would be less sure of, and yet, have enough skill and resources to enjoy.
For the next week, the glass jars will mirror the twinkle of slowly tiring holiday lights. Their glow will fade, as the sun makes its turn back towards us. The red and golden warmth inside the jars will slowly disappear. Some of those jars will come back to me to be filled again. Others will not. Ultimately, the goal(s) of gifts (given) will always be our own choice.