For some reason, this quoted section below made me think of a lot of people I know in the dance community. I seem to run into a lot of what I would term “overly generous” souls in the dance community. That sounds wrong, doesn’t it? How can one be overly generous? I define it as when people are not firm about their boundaries and limits, and as such their lives are partially or largely made up of people who use them up emotionally, financially, and spiritually. I think this is a common trait among artists. A big chunk of us are givers and nurturers! We like to communicate and share on so many levels, and to hold back feels counter to our soul’s urgings.
So when I was over on Ravelry today perusing some back issues of the staff blogs and columns, and came across this brief article below, I felt it was worth posting for my chickadees over here. It was written with regard to knitters and crocheters specifically who have family and “friends” who make demands on them at the holidays for creating gifts that take much more time and money than the requesters may realize. After a brief paragraph about that phenomenon, and the importance of learning many ways of saying “no”, she launches into what she terms her “yearly rant”. May it be a reminder to all of us of how holiday gift giving should and should NOT be:
Whatever the reasons for engaging in the exchange of gifts over the winter solstice may have been, they are now long long lost. This is only sadness to me. It’s become a social construct, a tool, a weapon, a threat, a device, a reward. No longer are gifts given freely and without reservation…
On one side we have receivers who request specific items, who argue the validity of their gifts, who compare the values of each gift and rank the givers. On the other side we have the givers that punish the giftees for perceived infractions over the previous year, or who knock themselves out trying to buy the perfect gift for someone who will not appreciate it. People receive gifts that they do not want givers wrap gifts they cannot afford.
And in any given group on any forum on any website you can find gift related arguments and flame wars raging.
This has got to end. Really! This is pure insanity. It starts with you!
Gifts that are given under any duress are not gifts. Gifts that are given with expectations of valued return on investment are not gifts. Gifts given with reservation or hesitation are not gifts. Gifts are by definition not obligations.
Gifts that are opened and judged, weighed, valued or compared are not gifts deserved.
What was once a small tradition meant to bring light and celebration into the darkest part of winter, a way to share meager holdings among the community so that all might benefit has become a race to the bottom.
As the holidays approach I implore each of you, my little chicken butts, to find a way to change your thinking even a little bit on the subject. For each gift you give, make it a give that has meaning and heart behind it. For each gift you receive, be truly grateful, do not compare or judge the gift, only accept and love the gift.