“What do you want for Christmas?”
There was static on the line again. I was sure the cell phones that we had come to depend on immensely would disconnect yet again. There my sister was on the other phone line in California. Here I was in New York. Miles and states away and separated from one another, but we were fortunate enough and overly dependent on technology to hear voices, send/receive text messages, and, maybe once in the very blue moon, FaceTime.
My sister asked what I wanted for Christmas almost every year. One year, I managed to give her and my parents a superficial short list: stickers, stationary, teas, and anything with food. As I have gotten older, I have become more practical by announcing to them via email: “Well, just get me an Amazon.com gift card or money so I can buy what I want to buy. No need to get me anything from ‘Land’s End’ or “L.L. Bean.’” ‘L.L. Bean’ and ‘Land’s End’ were the running jokes in the Wu crew household around the holidays because Papa Wu loved both companies and would eagerly buy items from there for all of us. However, with my one statement of logic, the element and magic of surprise disappeared during Christmas of the gifts that we now knew we were getting. Has that happened to your family and you as you have all gotten older that you all are about logical and practical rather than sentimental and surprises?
Over the years, Papa Wu has announced, “Less is more. We have too much stuff and are throwing out and getting rid of the stuff. Let us give less things and gifts and enjoy more time together.”
More time together, I thought. If only we could really buy time. I tried to rewind back in time of my Christmas wish lists when I was a little girl. Growing up, I barely remember any having a Christmas wish list of gifts or ever even sitting on Santa Claus’ lap to whisper what I wanted. My memory is truly awful, but it really comes down to this: There were never any ‘things’ that beckoned my insistence for my loved ones and my greatest love and enjoyment came out of the gift itself revealing what the person knew or thought about me and our original relationship. Were there ever any gifts you received that surprised you to joy or shocked you to dismay?
More than that, what I truly want and wish for cannot be purchased at any store or bought on any Black Friday off the Internet: More time and moments with my loved ones and for myself and more peace and good health for my loved ones and myself and even this world that is heavily hurting—‘things’ that are priceless and that no amount of money can truly buy. I guess I am harder to shop for than I thought.
Overly the crackly phone line and before the phone line would disconnect, I said to my sister: “The older I get, I want less things and more moments.”
My sister said, “You sound like Dad. He says the same thing.”
I have not changed much since I was a little girl. I really cannot think of any things that I truly want. If anything, I want ‘any given moment,’ because any and every moving moment is a gift that always gives something to us and our lives. These little moments end up being larger than life and making up our masterpiece life. The truth is that life changes at 'any given moment' and it is all the little and seemingly insignificant moments end up as the most significant the most life-affirming and life-transforming impact as the greatest gifts.
Did you ever have Christmas wish lists growing up? When have you experienced something so small (material or non-material) that ended up being so big to larger than life? How have your wishes or gifts changed as you have gotten older? What wishes have you made or had only to conclude that any given moment ‘gives’ more than anything?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,