For as long as I can remember gift giving with strings attached has been a pet peeve. I can remember so many conversations by family members who said things like, "The gift I gave to Uncle Mort cost me $10.00 and so far I have only spent $7.00 0n Aunt Gert so I have to go out in this blizzard on Christmas Eve and get a $3.00 gift for her.
In all the gifts I have received from parents, relatives and friends it has never occurred to me that my gift cost more than my brothers or less than theirs.
Shopping is agony for some people. They work very hard trying to find the right toy or bauble at the right price. For me, shopping is different. I simply find something they will like, plunk down the money and run home with it.
Maybe the difference is one of males versus females. When my golfing buddies and I eat after a game, more often than not one of us will pay for the total tab or pitch in the total tip. Women, however, labor for an excruciatingly long time over making sure nobody pays a penny more than their bill. This is the same attitude that rules gift giving. As long as females control the gifts it will not change so that means it is a permanent fixture in life.
But, I do enjoy Christmas, especially now that we have grand children. Karen and I love to see the grand kids get gifts that they enjoy regardless of cost. This year Lily, age 5, received several gifts with cute dog themes and she was in seventh heaven. Jack, age 2.7, got some great puzzles and has been putting them together ever since. Jacob, almost 13, received an electronic Wii guitar and was able to really play it well.
Thankfully our family was able to buy these things without going into debt or missing a meal. Thank God for His immeasurable grace and for living in a country where it is possible to live in spiritual freedom and financial ease.