Day #170: Wants and Needs

Today I finished my holiday shopping. Tomorrow we will start our holiday giving. In the morning, we will pile into the car and drive four hours to see my 90-year old grandmother. She spends most of her time in her apartment and my aunt lives in her building as her official caretaker.

Fixed Income Blues
A few weeks ago when I was there on a business trip, I learned that my grandmother’s television had stopped working. In our house, a broken television is not a big deal. If one breaks, there is typically a backup and eventually we can scrape together enough money to get a new one. On my grandmother’s fixed income, a broken television is a big deal. She only has one television and doesn’t have enough money to buy a new one. She spends most of her time in her easy chair watching television and even takes most of her meals there. She doesn’t see well anymore and needs a walker or wheelchair to get around, so watching television is her only form of entertainment. My aunt brought her a small television, but I could tell that my grandmother was having trouble seeing the tiny screen.

Buying Gifts with Your Sofa
Thanks to our creative shopping, by buying a new sofa we earned a gift card with a sizable balance for an appliance store. How perfect! The boys get new video games and Grandma gets a new television. We’ll all drive over tomorrow and surprise her. My husband will get it all set up for her and pre-program her favorite channels and show her how to work the remote. The boys will get to take her their special handmade cards and give her lots of love.

What Does it All Mean?
Our attitude toward the holidays has shifted somewhat over the years. We stopped trying to buy something for everyone. We send out lots of cards and try not to forget anyone. However, our gift-giving is intimate and meaningful. Just like in the Princess and the Frog movie we watched the other night, our boys know that they may not always get everything they want, but they certainly get what they need. They get lots of love and attention and they see firsthand what it means to give to others as well. They know that there are many, many people who get by on a lot less than they do and they are starting to enjoy helping others. So, tomorrow we’ll take Grandma her new television, on Thursday we’ll deliver and bag food at the Mission and on Friday and Saturday we’ll spend a quiet holiday at home. There will be a few gifts, we’ll watch movies and play games, eat too much and watch lots of football. None of us are pining away for any particular gift. We are just enjoying the beauty and magic of the season and our time together. It truly is more blessed to give than to receive!

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