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What I learned this Christmas

January 31, 2021 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

What I learned this Christmas

Submitted by Doreen Coyne, a member of the Richmond Hill Garden & Horticultural Society

This "Tip" is not about growing flowers, or seedlings, nor veggies. It is a personal growth story that I wanted to share.  Maybe there is a seed within it that you might harvest for yourself or a friend.

Talking to people, giving to people, and sharing with people all make me feel better!

  • When I phoned a friend – they seemed happier and at the end of the call my spirits were also lifted.
  • When I wrote something for a newsletter or on Facebook, sharing something personal or a photo or activity – my heart warmed with the responses from FB friends.  Same thing when I saw something on FB and asked that person if I could share it with others in one of my newsletters. And each time they were pleased that I would like to share it and felt good when they saw it in print.
  • Giving – Christmas is the time for giving but of course, we give on many occasions throughout the year and in many ways, whether it is a card, e-card, a letter, or a gift.  I am as grateful and happy seeing the recipient’s happiness, as I am from what I receive.
  • It turns out that it is the gift giving I enjoy but definitely not the gift wrapping.  And with that said, here’s a true story, about gift wrapping that I’d like to share from my friend Susan in California.


I learned Gift Wrapping is something I don’t like!
Early in December I had complained to Susan that I hated wrapping gifts. Really what I hate is hauling out the wrapping paper, ribbons, name tags, etc. then putting them all away again. This year, after several hours, I finally got all the materials ready on December 20th to start wrapping the presents that I had lined up on a nearby table. Then it took another 3 hours of wrapping before I had them all done and labelled. I needed a break; so, I sat with a cup of tea and got out my iPad only to find an email from Susan with this story of her latest gift-wrapping experience.

“Let me share a wrapping story with you.  I went out and got a friend who collects nutcrackers - the wooden soldier kind - a quick last-minute nutcracker to go with a book I got her much earlier in the year that was on the ballet.  It was indeed last minute; in fact, it was the only one the drugstore had left and fortunately it was a nice one in good condition.  I got it home and decided to put it in a box --I am often kidded especially by this friend about my habit of saving shoe boxes in the garage (a lot of them) and I thought this was a great opportunity to show her how valuable the boxes can be.


Well, some 10 (or more) shoe boxes later, not one of them was the right size for the nutcracker and I had taken apart half my garage to reach them creating yet another chore for my “to do” list. Finally, I found an old Macy's box. It was pretty dusty and banged up but good enough.  Yea!  He fit in it as long as I angled him in there diagonally.  Then it took a huge amount of paper to wrap the box and a whole lot of tape.  Finally -- more than an hour later -- it was done.


The moral of this story for me and for you: put your gifts in holiday bags with some nice tissue paper and be done with them!  Festive and easy!  I should have put him in a bag right after the first 2 shoe boxes didn't work!  I hope she likes the darn thing!”

To Susan’s story, I want to add that I’ve never been overly concerned about how things are wrapped when I receive them, I enjoy the fact that someone thought of giving me something. So why do I worry and get so frustrated when I set out to wrap the gifts I give? My late husband always wrapped his gifts to me and the boys in brown Kraft paper and then either drew a picture on the wrapping or wrote a saying. Those were the most beautiful gifts in my eyes!  I’ll have to remember that for next year! Simplicity is a good thing. And I’ve already got a lot of holiday bags!


So overall, what did I learn? The wrapping of the gift isn’t the gift. It’s just a container. Applying this more generally I believe that means we should simplify our lives and try to avoid those things that frustrate us. When we are happier, we can be more open and caring. And others will see and feel that and also be happier. This may mean changing the ways we do something like putting a gift in a gift bag rather than wrapping it. Even more generally it could mean doing lots of other frustrating tasks in a different way - such as preparing Christmas dinner over 2 or 3 days instead of rushing to get it all done in one day leaving you irritable and not even wanting company.  For me, simplifying also means telling people that you enjoy their company or their phone call. No fuss nor muss required. And it means trusting that your friends and family will be happier when you show them you love and care for them.


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