The joy is in the giving. The true giver beams as she bestows her gift upon the receiver. I witnessed this the other day. My friend, Lynn, bought me a present; a new sundress for our “girls’ ” trip to Nosara. She bought one for every girl in the group, including my mother.
I happened to be visiting about a week before the trip. I heard her riffling through bags; here in Costa Rica, well all over the world really, everybody gives you bags – little bags, big bags, teeny weeny bags. The thing is they all crinkle. The noise has a Pavlov’s Dog effect; in fact, even the dogs come running when they hear the combination of the refrigerator door opening and the crinkling. It could mean a snack for them since the butcher packs the yummy chicharrones in a crinkly bag, and if they stay in the fridge (the meat, not the dogs) long enough they turn into doggie snacks.
Square pink boxes with flaps have a similar effect on me. They scream: “Bakery!” Last week, I attended the Atenas (Costa Rica) Wednesday Women’s group which meets weekly at Kay’s Gringo Postres. I started salivating when I spotted the pink box at the end of the table. Immediately, I envisioned Italian cookies, eclairs, or cannolis fresh from Moretti’s in Canarsie. When the hand reached in and came out with a plastic name tag, I breathed out and slumped in my chair; no pastries for me.
So standing outside Lynn’s bedroom, hearing; “crinkle, crinkle, crinkle, pause, crinkle, crinkle, crinkle”, I could no longer resist. I burst through the door: “What’s in the bags?” She looked up, surprised: “Oh! Do you want your present now or later?”
“Present?” I purred. “For meeee? Now, please!”
She dumped all the bags out and from the array of colorful, slinky fabrics she plucked a multi-colored halter-dress with sparkles embedded in the playful design. “Try it on, try it on!” she chirped. She had picked out dresses to match the personalities of the ladies she bought them for. I’m not sure which of us was more excited!
Lynn has a habit of giving. I have watched her, along with her husband, Lucas, through two Christmases playing “Santa Claus” to their domestic help and their entire families. I was with her when she bought the dresses, shoes and a whole pile of useful gifts for the grateful families. I was at the party where the elegant holiday dinner was served not only to the household help, but Jose, their taxi driver and his family, Grevin and his family, and a few others who were honored to be there, including myself.
The point is, the joy was in the giving. Nobody kept score. That’s a key point in being a giver; they truly do NOT keep score. However, unlike the over-giver, they enjoy receiving, as well.
It is with “little-girl” eagerness that the happy giver watches the receiver open a gift bag; especially when most of the bag is filled with colored tissue paper and there is just a “little something” on the bottom. The giver watches and waits. That moment when the knitted brows of the receiver turn to arches and the face beams mega-watts, that the moment of joy hits home. Mission accomplished!
There are no words.
It is just nice.
There will be hugs. Sometimes, if it’s two “sister-friends” there may be some jumping up and down accompanied by squealing.
Be nice to somebody today. Give someone an “unbirthday” present. Bake a cake and drop it off at the fire department, or pick some herbs from your garden and bring them to your neighbor. It feels good.
I am blessed to have Lynn in my life … and so many other dear people who have given me gifts – and better still, allowed me to give to them!