For our drive home from a visit with my husband's family in PA, I wore these exquisite earrings that were a gift from my in-laws: "Artisan glass made with crystallized Swarovski Elements," says the tag. We started the day with a family brunch, 4 generations gathered to share food and drink, the only time this group has gathered this year.
I handed out more hand-made gifts to my niece and her family, newly arrived from a trip to visit her husband's family in Germany, and en route to their home in Alaska.
Giving gifts, a great joy of the holidays. But also a source of some stress. What to give? Will it be loved and used? We give with hope. And then we watch, warily.
I received so many thoughtful presents this year, among them books, earrings, a hand-knitted infinity scarf, and a t-shirt on which my daughter Kathe drew my dreamscape: river, pines, and mountains under a cradling crescent moon. I know that the givers are observing me with the same watchful eye I turn toward them: will my gift be loved and used? Will it be worth my time and effort?
I've become more relaxed over the years, knowing that not everyone will appreciate every gift. But still hoping that they will appreciate the investment of love.