Gifting from the heart

Katie Gile

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By: Katie Gile, Staff Writer

 

As the chestnuts roast and carols sail out of mall speakers, the madness of the holiday season swells. Among the indulgent dressing binges and tryptophan highs — courtesy of a big ol’ bird — are credit cards hitting their maxes and the mess of sales tables at every major retailer.

 

Many a twinkly-eyed holiday family film demonstrates, “It’s better to give than to receive.”

 

Bobbing my head in agreement, I overdraft my checking account. I scavenge every crevice of my car, purse, couch cushions and day-before jeans to find an extra dollar to spoil my family and friends.

 

“Better to give than receive,” repeats like a mantra through my sale-crazed mind as I and the rest of retail-inclined humanity spend, spend and spend.

 

The irony is: my most-treasured gifts were homemade.

 

Do I love my iPod, TV and numerous Forever 21 garments? Without a doubt, I do.

 

But the gifts that connect me to the memory of the giver make my heart a little extra gooey.

 

Every time I walk into my room, I see a friend’s handiwork from my 15th birthday. It’s a painting of Gerard Butler as the Phantom of the Opera. Though my friend emphatically reminded me — as all good artists will — it’s not her best work, it made me feel heard and known. It was the perfect gift for 15-year-old crush-crazy me.

 

It’s easy to go out and splurge every available cent on holiday shopping. It’s a cinch to save a few bucks and grab a gift from Wal-mart’s enormous gift aisle. But it takes imagination and real knowledge of a person to make them something.

 

If you’re the artsy type, paint a picture. Draw a portrait of the gift-recipient. Write a poem, a letter or even a sweet card. If you’re a performer, choreograph a dance and film it. Create a short film and dedicate it. Write a song. Sing a song. Make jewelry. Crochet a sweater, scarf or blanket if you have the time and the yarn.

 

If you’re more creative than artistic, compile a gift basket of their favorite things. Nothing is so simple and personal as a custom-selected gift basket full of things they love, want and would never expect.

 

If I could make just one change to the holidays this year, I’d like to add an amendment to the rules. Just before “beware the fruitcake,” and right after “it’s better to give than receive,” I’d add: “It’s better to gift from the heart than to splurge.”

 

Email Katie Gile at [email protected]