It is the season of giving at our house -- mostly because we are planning to sell the house in a few months, and in preparation we are giving away as much as possible. We're making trip after trip to the Salvation Army donation station; Big Brother has done a few major pickups of household goods. The day after Thanksgiving we brought about 3/4 of our book collection to a donation bin.
At first it was agonizing, parting with much-loved books and souvenirs loaded with happy memories. But I got over that pretty quick. Now I find it postively exhilarating to get all this stuff out of my life.
Reading you made me a better person.
Good-bye, Marcel Proust!
It's possible that reading you might have made me a better person....but we'll never find out, now, will we?
Good-bye, ice cream maker!
I am a bigger woman because of you.
Of course, it is also the season of gift exchanges. I have been invited to several parties involving Yankee Swaps. Instructions typically involve a price range, and an exhortation to purchase "something that you yourself would like to receive."
I have been puzzling over that one. Anything that I receive will need to be wrapped in newsprint, packed in a box, maybe moved into and out of a storage unit, schlepped ultimately to a new home, unpacked, and located in cabinet or closet space that is likely to be at a premium; newsprint and box recycled thereafter. So what, in these circumstances, is the perfect gift?
A Whole Foods gift card! Obviously.
There is a part of my brain that knows that a Whole Foods gift card is not a particularly inspiring Yankee Swap contribution. I am reminded now, as always, that it is not good to be too mired in one's own perspective. I may be immersed in downsizing; but all around me people are embracing the season of giving with generosity, whimsy and creativity. So I must approach these situations in this spirit of openness, trying to understand what the season of giving means to those around me, and to respond in kind.
So the appropriate gift for the next Yankee Swap? A full-body turkey costume. Obviously.
Last week I went to a show at the American Repertory Theatre in Harvard Square ("the A.R.T." to us locals), where I am a subscriber. There was a lovely note on my seat from one Emily Wilson, who is apparently the Associate Director of Major Gifts.
The A.R.T. shows no inclination to downsize; and if they have the honesty and openness to come right out and request a major gift, then I believe I should respond in the appropriate spirit of generosity.
I think I will get the A.R.T. an Instant Pot.
Because they are a theatre, after all!
Which means they probably already have a full-body turkey costume.