It is not the gift that is important, but rather the giving

Published 7:30 pm Friday, November 15, 2019

There are plenty of mistakes men make when it comes to their wives. And, given, this column needs to fit within a certain space, I will not take the time or valuable space listing them all.

Let’s just say, I have made more than my share of gift-buying mistakes when it has come to Stephanie.

Of those on the list — the very long list — is how I treated our first Christmas together. As a guy, I am inherently bad at choosing gifts for her. I tend to gravitate more to the obvious, such as flowers, clothes, etc., rather than coming up with something special and meaningful.

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This particular Christmas was our first since we had started dating and, as a result of not having years of knowledge on her likes, her wishes, her dreams, I went to the gift default setting; the gift card.

At the time of this fateful decision, I honestly thought I was doing well. I choose gift cards for a number of retailers in amounts I thought would win me some favor.

I proudly displayed them in their nifty gift card envelopes near the tree on that particular Christmas morning and waited for the accolades to come in. Let’s just say, they didn’t come in.

It wasn’t at that moment she shared with me her real thoughts, but I could tell something was a bit off when she said “thanks.”

It was the type of “thanks” that really goes to confuse a guy.

Later, she explained the gift cards — while nice and eventually would be used — were not what she was looking for from me for Christmas. Instead, she was looking for something thoughtful and meaningful. It didn’t matter the glimmer, shine or expense of the gift, but rather the thought I gave when buying the gift.

Lesson learned.

While I have at times failed miserably at birthday, anniversary and Christmas gifts since, I have always thought back to that first Christmas.

As our children were born and have grown older, buying for them has at times been extremely easy and painfully difficult. This year, the boys have put pocket knives on their list for Santa Claus, but I am not sure if their mother or I will give Santa permission; there are lives at stake and not just theirs.

There have been times when Santa has been right on the money with the purchase of a BB gun, while at times the art supplies have fallen a bit flat.

But regardless of how difficult it is this time of year to come up with the perfect gift — or the right gift in my case — this season is not about the gift, but rather the giving. It is something I hope our children learn from how I do my best to think of their mother when getting her a present, or how we think of others this time of year.

I hope our children learn and appreciate the acts of kindness that are so prevalent this time of year and how there is a need for charitable giving and work every day of the year, not just over the holidays.

One of the biggest joys I have each year is the giving nature our children show when they seek change from every nook and cranny in order to give to fundraising at their school or drop in the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle.

This year I will again struggle with what to get Stephanie, but I will also revel in the act of the giving and the act of charity that comes with this time of year.

 

Tim Reeves is editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at tim.reeves@vicksburgpost.com.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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