I remember driving a few years ago with my friend, Charlie. He’s not the youtube unicorn nor the melancholy Mr. Brown but he is a magical person who offers dry, dark humor that makes me snort. We were on our way to a holiday swing dance party in Pasadena, one of my favorite venues that hosts live bands and nearly three-hundred dancers in a single night. The dance floor would certainly be a blend of red and green nylons and candy cane spins.
That day had grown into a familiar December hustle through the mall. Echoes of screaming, impatient children and last-minute deals had nearly cleared my plans for a quiet night in and Hallmark film. I was fresh from college but had obtained a big-girl job with a salary and determination to not make anything. No offense to homemade gifts but the pressure ruins my creativity. I tried painting a birdhouse for my dad one Christmas and he never hung it. Or maybe I snuck it into the trashcan? It was an ugly, hurried, JoAnn’s discount that looked more like a shack than a mansion for birds. Sorry dad.
I asked Charlie about his holiday shopping list to which he replied, “It’s done.” I didn’t expect that answer from a guy. I didn’t expect that answer from anyone. He went on to explain that his immediate family was small and that most Christmas shopping depended on the year.
“Every Christmas I give presents to whomever is on my heart.” Charlie said, “It doesn’t matter how little or long I’ve known the person, I just want them to know that they’re loved. I don’t expect anything back either.”
Maybe I’ve heard a similar message but his genuine, simple approach caught me off guard. Last season, Charlie returned to a boutique and bought a purse that his friend had stopped to touch and admire. He also signed two families into Disneyland for free.
“What about the people who buy you a gift?” I asked, curious.
“I give them a hug and say thank you.”
I love it.
These past Christmases have been much brighter due to Charlie’s tradition. However, if you are one of those majorly caring souls with too many people on your heart then please stop reading. But if you’re average and would like to give this question a shot, then ask yourself, Who is on my heart? Who enters the dance floor of your thoughts? Is it your aunt who has undergone a hard year? Is it your favorite neighbor who has moved states away? Is it the homeless man in need of new socks?
Secondly, remember presents are not always a two-way exchange. Embrace those neighbors who drop off cookies at your doorstep or that coworker who slips a Starbucks gift card on your desk. You are lavished in love, always.