Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Santa Syndrome

There is something about giving the right gift to someone which just gives me a terrific high.

When you get that combination of exactly the right gift idea for exactly the right person, and for a fantastic price to boot - it's just awesome. And when I search for 'exactly the right gift idea', I'm not just looking for something that I know the recipient will really like or appreciate or get a lot of use out of. I'm also (ideally) looking for something which fits the current circumstances of their lives, their cultural background, something like that. It's especially great if the idea is something which would be particularly good coming from me, because it makes reference to a personal joke between us, or is something that they know very few people but me can understand the value of, or something else that makes the gift extra-appropriate when I'm the giver. Or there could be some other reason which makes something a fantastic gift idea.

The big high happens when all these criteria come together to make The Perfect Fit. That's what really gets me going and makes me sooo excited (in a ohboyohboyohboy, hopping-up-and-down, puppy dog kind of way) about seeing the recipient's reaction when they open their gift. DH says he doesn't know anyone else as good as me at thinking of gift ideas for people (thank you, my dear!), and that this joy in and drive to find The Perfect Fit is probably why.

Often when I'm browsing through pattern books, my eyes will suddenly lock on something. I will be seized by a sudden vision, crystal-clear: a) I must make this and b) [name of someone I know] must have it. Quite often I will also instantly know what colour(s) I want to knit it in and even what fibre content the yarn should have. When all that happens, it's because I have found The Perfect Fit, and something has just clicked, and I get all excited, and poor DH (my official sounding board) doesn't hear the end of it. Knitted gifts are especially good Perfect Fit gifts because not only do they give joy to the recipient, but I get to have hours and hours of glorious fun doing all the knitting.

What is my point with all this blather?

Well, it explains a lot. It's why I dithered forever on the Stacy's Sweater/Henry VII/Larry's Cabled Cashmere Pullover debacle, because I had to keep changing my mind until I got that 'click'. It's why I got so jazzed when I decided to make this sweater out of red, because I realised I would be combining the Celtic cables of the father's heritage with the good-luck Chinese red of the mother's heritage into one beautiful gift for their baby. It's why I went nuts trying to find the right shade of lilac for this year's Christmas gift for my MIL. It's probably why I go to ridiculous lengths to fix most knitting errors. And it's why I drive myself into a frenzy of panic knitting as deadlines approach. It's that need to hand off the perfect gift to the perfect person on the perfect occasion. That joy of giving. That quest for the expression of delight on the recipient's face, and the warm feeling that spreads inside me when that happens.

I am an atheist. I don't believe in God, I don't believe in Satan, I have very strong suspicions that there is no afterlife, all that. (I am certainly spiritual, but I believe that spirituality comes from us and the energies we have, not a higher power.) But...I. Love. Christmas. It is one big giving-fest, and I am so onside with that concept. Yeah, I get a lot of great stuff myself, but at some point in my life it honestly became much more about what I could give to people than what I could get for myself.

When the day comes that my little girl asks me if there really is a Santa Claus, I am going to tell her, emphatically, YES. Whenever a person gets happiness from a gift, and the giver gets happiness from the giving, that's the real Santa Claus, right there in your heart.

Cape Cod sweater for MIL
Coming along nicely:

Just eight more rows and the third pattern motif will be done - which means I'll be back on track with The Schedule.

1 comment:

The J said...

I bow down to your gifting abilities! I'm still struggling with "did I get everyone?" let alone "appropriate"! It does sound really stressful though. Now I want to introduce you to all my relatives so you can advise me - a little odd, maybe, considering we've never met in person!!