Tuesday, December 23, 2008


"deeply or sincerely felt"

Christmas is nearly upon us, and looking back at the holidays of years past, I've been able to make an observation about the types of Christmases I end up having. They can, in a broad sense, be divided into two categories; labels and hearts. 

Being a girl who enjoys both the lavish & the simple things in life, I can't lie and say I'm not a fan of the first type. Labels. These are the Christmases where, for one reason or another, Santa places gifts under the tree with such familiar colors and patterns as Tiffany Blue,  the pink stripes of Victoria's Secret or the familiar "C's" of Coach. Or, for the guys, perhaps a PS3 or a new cell phone. And for some reason, even though no conversation is supposed to have happened between the various gift-givers, nearly the entire family ends up buying a gift that falls under the above titles. It's sort of like the way a person yawns, and then, even though you could swear you didn't see that person do it, you yawn yourself! So it ends up being a Christmas where friends and family alike exchange giftcards and goodies of the more lavishly-labeled caliber. 

Then there are the Christmases of hearts. If you can't appreciate and truly love a Christmas of hearts, it may be time to reevaluate your feelings and understanding of the holiday. While labels are lovely, and take a justified amount of thought (and money), a Christmas of hearts is like... the roots of the holiday. They require thought and time and all of the things the holiday is supposed to be about. Love, laughter, memories, family & friends. & the resulting gifts couldn't ever be replicated by some well-known store. 

Of course, it's possible to have a combination of both types, with gifts straight from the heart and straight from the nearest Macy's - and that's just fine and dandy. But I think, if you're missing gifts from the second category, well, you're missing a large part of Christmas. To me, that's what makes a big difference between a commercialized holiday and a holiday meant to thread us all together like a string of popcorn and cranberries - a holiday meant to allow the warm glow of magic and merriment to foster and grow into a blaze of faith and wonder.

This year, I'm having a Christmas of hearts <3 

Before I left school my friends and I had a holiday party where we exchanged Secret Santa gifts. & I have to say, the gift I received was heartfelt enough to make me cry. It was a scrapbook that fit my personality perfectly (Fairy tale themed of course) and was filled with photos of my life as it has been this past semester, as it is with the start of my adventure in India, and as it will be "Happily Ever After" when we're all together again next year. 

Then there were the trinkets from other family members and friends that came in the mail and mean so much to me that I can't even describe the feelings. One friend, who I frequently (pretty much daily) went out for coffee with, gave me an ornament shaped like a coffee cup from our favorite place for a latte, knowing full well that we wouldn't be grabbing a cup together for quite some time.  

There was a beautiful piece of jewelry intended to remind me of my independence and strength, and cards from a cousin meant to remind me of the way she will always think of me a princess, and anything related to fairy tales and Disney reminds her of me.

And then there was the surprise package for my sister and me from my Aunt, filled with doilies hand-made by the grandmother I never got to meet. "I enjoyed looking after them for the past few decades" she explained in the accompanying note, "but now I know they're where they belong."

The tears that kept sparkling down my cheeks in response to these gifts were coupled with feelings of complete love and happiness. I'm surrounded by people who know me. Who love me. Who take the time to give gifts that encompass who I am, what I believe in, the things I love and the things I dream. And these gifts, more than any gift with a designer label or from the top half of the "Most Coveted Gifts 2008" list reach deep down and positively fill me to the brim with the hot-cocoa-warm-feelings of the holiday as is should be - a time filled with love, faith, hope, joy, dreams, and the belief in all that came before us and all that lays ahead of us.




Michael said...

That was really nice. I think the same lesson can be learned when it comes to birthdays, the new year and other holidays too. People get too caught up with the materialistic things that they forget what the festivities actually mean.

Merry Christmas to you. I hope you have one that you have preconceived, or even exceeds your expectations for the better.


Anonymous said...

You are my kind of person when it comes to appreciate gifts :) I love gifts of thought and care more than the gifts of monetory value !! And sorry toa sk again, but where in India do you come to study .. Good luck .. and feel free to ask if you need any help :)

Anna Lefler said...

Merry Christmas of Hearts! I love that...

Happy New Year...

:^) Anna