What matters in gift-giving is the giver’s heart; and when a present lacks that, it can easily become the worst present ever.
When a present lacks memory or becomes a whisper of the past, that is when a present begin to feel lighter in meaning and heavier in remembrance.
It is not the present itself that is causing your heart to break, but the lack of meaning behind it – after all that you’ve gone through as friends or lovers – that punctures your heart the most. Hollowness explains what makes a present bad, where its emptiness echoes loudly of what lacks in understanding and in knowing someone.
Perhaps you could be said to be picky or to be overthinking this. Perhaps this is a mere outlying incident in a cycle of memorable presents and wonderful wishes.
But as you peer through the histories of many who have passed, you pause and ask – what if it’s not?
You remember presents in irregular shapes and blobs. You remember presents that no longer hide behind sheets of colourful paper. You remember presents with notes that are no longer written with love.
Slowly, they fade away into memory; as echoes that accompany them. When silence finally comes, it is to mark the end of a shared Christmas between you and and the careless object.
It is the simple turning of the clock that ticks towards triviality, when the ones whom you love realise that they don’t know what you love anymore. That’s what hurts the most.
The worst present is beyond that of bad packaging or unscratched price tags or even overdue deliveries. It is the pain that comes along with the lack of meaning, the generic cookie-cutter shape that you once again assume in the memory of those you love, and the fading value of giving in the name of love.
It is the idea of being slowly forgotten when your lover forgets what chocolate you like, or when your friend gives you a game that you already had, or when your sister picks a generic item to symbolise her ignorance. It is the simple turning of the clock that ticks towards triviality, when the ones whom you love realise that they don’t know what you love anymore. That’s what hurts the most.
After all, what is the meaning of Christmas? Is it merely a commercial obligation to buy someone a token of celebration? But how many of the worst presents do we want – or even need?
Maybe it’s time for us to revisit the ones we love – who they love, what they love and how they love. In the end, Christmas is not just a time of giving, but one of loving and remembering the ones who love.