I wrote this sonnet for Ingrid’s Sonnet Sunday, where the theme is the festive season.
The gift-wrapped box sits primed beneath the tree,
I rattle, though it gives no clues away,
A tag attached confirms it’s meant for me,
But full reveal must wait a few more days.
‘Til then, the gift lies guarded, well-disguised,
By lights and baubles, sentries of the hour,
I dare not peek; no hints unveil my prize,
Instead rely on patience and willpower.
Yet giving cycles endlessly rotate,
A gift received demands a like retort,
And balanced scales must measure equal weight,
A pantomime which neither might abort.
“You’re just in time: we’ve two more seats to sell.
Come hop aboard the Christmas Carousel.”
I’m generally not good at receiving gifts, I have two main issues.
The first is just the whole cycle of giving/receiving. One person gives a trinket, a token, something the other person doesn’t need or possibly even want*. Then, the other person feels obliged to respond with some gift of their own.
It’s nonsense. Seems to me that the only winner is the guy who owns the gift shop. It’s designed purely to make us all part with our cash.
I guarantee, I will think absolutely the same of someone on Boxing Day as I did on Christmas Eve.
The second is where one person gives a gift, and the second person just ups it a tiny bit. Which prompts the first person to up the ante still further… and you get this infinite “creep” in value.
I can actually reconcile this one. Sort of. I’m still uncomfortable. Even now, I can get sucked into buying too generously, when by rights I should be more concerned about how I’m going to pay next month’s mortgage. You hear about people taking out loans to pay for christmas; fortunately I’m not that bad.
I reconcile it by thinking back to when I earned well. I gave little thought to value. If I wanted to give, I gave. It’s something I’m only aware of now that I’m on a limited budget and can’t compete.
So I assume that when somebody gives me a gift, they do so without thoughts of value, either. If my gift is smaller, so what? I’m not gonna get hung up.
Furthermore, there’s a lot of pleasure to be had from giving, so by receiving gracefully, I’m actually doing them a favour 🤣
I just wish that sometimes, I could be a bit more graceful.
* edible items are always welcome!