I’m apparently not the easiest person to shop for. By request, I have a wish list around somewhere, but I don’t maintain it. My husband does, and come late summer or fall, he has to ask me what should be on it.
“Um, I don’t know.”
Yeah, I’m annoying. Mostly, though, I’m just not big on stuff. I already have too much. Even books, to which I’m thoroughly addicted, have overrun their allotted space and threaten to overrun their allotted time. If I’m going to add to my stuff, I’m usually very picky about what it is–not the frame of mind in which to receive gifts.
We hardly give gifts of stuff for Christmas anymore, except to the kids in the connection and a very few people whose gifts speak to us during the year. (“Psst. I belong to XX.”) For the past several years, the grown-ups have received a donation–last year to Fisher House–and cookies. Lots of cookies. I’ll happily spend time baking that I’d resent spending shopping in crowded stores.
For some reason, I’d never thought to ask for similar gifts in return. Then, last Christmas, or maybe it was Solstice, some friends gave us a critter from Heifer International. Or rather, they gave it to someone who needed it, for whom it wasn’t stuff.
So this year, my wish list is simple. There are still a few things left on it from prior years, but what I really want are microloans. I want to build a pool of money that I can send off to the unstable parts of the world to help someone create a little stability of their own. I’ve got plenty for myself these days.
If the money comes back, it can help someone else. Over time, if I manage to persuade people that this really is the kind of gift I want, it can help lots of someones.
If it doesn’t, well, it was a gift to begin with. I won’t begrudge someone else a gift as well.