Then we have the saga of the socks.
TAW Week 7 has an exercise to buy a little luxury for yourself. It suggests a lovely pair of gloves or socks. Socks resonated with me instantly. My socks cause my ankles to swell, they bite to hard. A couple of years back I was with my folks at Christmas and my Mum, Dad and Sister received a present from a family friend. I didn't. OK so I wasn't overly close to this person and I hadn't given them a pressie.
I was very jealous of the socks my Dad got though. They were hand knitted. No seams. No nasty biting elastic at the top. Not quite my colour, being manly and all, but a lovely variegated wool had been used.
I must admit after that I started making her a little something for Xmas. I must admit though, I was kind of hoping I might get a pair of socks though. It didn't work because she got very busy at work and I got some nice handmade bath things instead. They were lovely, but I did really covet those socks.
So, the suggestion of treating myself to a luxurious socks kind of bought an image into my head. Beautiful variegated purple wooly socks. The sort that you darn when they get holes.
I tried hunting for local knitters but sometimes the internet makes such things tricky. It is far easier to find companies than it is to find lone artisans for hire. I pondered how to find such people and etsy sprang to mind. I have never used etsy before...
I searched for local etsy sellers and while there was some beautiful things and talented artisans, none of them were knitters or crocheters. So I started looking a little more broadly and I looked at lots and lots of socks. And of course slipper socks and sock slippers. Crocheted mary janes. Lace up crochet socks. Felted boot socks. So much variety. But not so many variegated purple sock.
I did eventually find a pair.
I fell in love.
I contacted the seller regarding sizing and established that they would fit.
I tried to buy.
I failed to buy.
Her shop didn't include shipping outside the grand old US of A. Which isn't where I live.
I contacted her and asked her if I could get them here or if they could maybe go to a friend in Canada....
She added the UK to her postal list. And Canada.
I purchased socks! And they are on their way.
I wrote a wishlist a little while back for another TAW exercise and I posted it on my blog.
I have a lovely friend who reads my blog, although she doesn't have one of her own and comments via email. We met once, years ago. A friend of a friend. Somehow we got chatting via Facebook and then became Facebook friends and then email friends and soon, we shall also be face to face friends. For she is visiting Cornwall....
It is a slightly odd thing, remeeting someone in this sort of a way. We know each other so well in some ways. But I just know it will all be fine. We connected because we have similar interests and values. It will not be like the recent visit of an old friend I used to be very close to, who has chosen a radically different path in life to me. We have similar religous paths and have spoken in depth of things that I know I seldom share with people I know in the flesh.
OK so the reason this all fits in this post is that when she comes down, she is bringing a gift. One listed in my wishlist. She happened to know of an artisan making such things, in a truly beautiful fashion. She saw one that spoke to her of me. She then gave me a choice. I could have chosen any of them, but I want the one that spoke to her. So I have a surprise coming my way, which even though it will be beautiful, will be all the more special for having been chosen for me by a friend.
So i guess it is fairly obvious what the theme of this post is. Presents and the art of giving. The best presents are those given freely, with no strings, no expectations. Where the person giving has taken the care to personally choose or make something that they thing the recipient will like. That care and attention is the thing that makes a present special.
Giving with the expectation of receiving something in return is likely to lead to disappointment. You are unlikely to get what you want. Even if you get something truly lovely, it will not be the thing you coveted. The expectation of receiving something ruins the gift of receiving care and attention from the giver. Giving from obligation feels empty in many ways. As does receiving a present given from obligation.
If there is something you truly covet, value yourself enough to give yourself that something as a no strings attached gift. That is not to say you should go and buy yourself hugely outrageous and epensive things. A true gift is made more valuable by care and attention. Notice that little thing you covet and give yourself the gift of getting it, of caring enough about yourself to allow yourself to have it. A pair of socks really isn't a big thing is it? But yet it is....
I believe the care and attention I put into the hand made gifts I make for my family increases their value. I personally select what to make. The colours, style, everything. I don't like all the things I make as gifts, some I adore and have trouble parting with. It doesn't matter, it isn't about me. I get so much from that giving. I get something everytime I get to see them wear it. I get something everytime they tell me of another compliment they receive for it. Little gifts that come back to me unexpectedly.
Gifts do not have to be big to have a huge effect. In fact I think the little things often have the biggest impact and meaning. Thought counts more than showy consumerism in my book. Thought equals love while flashy consumerism equals money.
So thank you to all those lovely people who have given me gifts because they thought I might like it, or just wanted to give me something. Thank you to those who signed up for swaps with me and made something so perfectly designed and created for me. Just thank you. I can feel your love.
This all ended up a bit long.... But I guess what I am saying is that we should all look for the little gifts in our lives. Gifts of spirit. A rowan branch. A beautiful sunny day. A glimpse of the moon in a break in the clouds.