Well it’s that time of year again where we gather with friends and family to share some quality time and show our love for one another by giving and receiving gifts. As you sit by your Christmas tree, with eggnog or mulled wine in hand and admire your new gifts I’d like to share a little story with you.
When I was five years old my mom planned a monumental birthday party for me. She invited all the neighbours and their children, organised countless party games and even ordered a ladybird cake especially made to order from a bakery. Even at five I knew my mom had gone to a great deal of effort and needless to say my expectations were at an all time high. When the day came I couldn’t wait, I was too excited for words. The grand finale was the ladybird cake – I absolutely adored ladybirds and I couldn’t think of anything better than mixing my adoration of ladybirds with my love of cake!!
The entire party all I could think about was the cake, what it would look like, how it would taste and how big it would be. Finally the time came and everyone started to sing Happy Birthday. I could hardly wait. And then something awful happened. When the cake arrived I began to cry. For some reason which I fail to remember I was disappointed by the cake and I felt absolutely awful for my mom because I knew how much love and trouble she had gone to and how excited she had been to give it to me. I was overwhelmed with an intense feeling of guilt and shame. I just couldn’t contain my tears, it was all too much for my five year old self. Even now I feel sad by my reaction to that ladybird cake all those years ago.
Of course now I’m older (yes, ok, quite a bit older) I don’t tend to have such strong reactions to presents. Looking back I realise that the reason why I was so sad was because I hadn’t yet mastered the ability to disguise when I was disappointed and I was hurt that my reaction possibly upset my mom. When we grow up we tend to become quite apt at hiding our disappointments, especially when it comes to gifts. What the experience has taught me though is to value the thoughtfulness and love that has gone into a gift above all else. At five years old I couldn’t hide my disappointment but now, as an adult, rather than hiding disappointment (not every gift will be on your list to Santa, after all) I have the ability to focus most on the love that went into that gift and genuinely show my joy at receiving it.
So this year, as you open your presents, my wish is for you to feel joy and be overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness and love shown to you by your very closest friends and family. Have a truly wonderful holiday season.
Happy Holidays Everyone!
x X x Jenny Leigh x X x