Gifts That Cost Nothing - Random Reasonings

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Gifts That Cost Nothing

Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are over. Today is Cyber Monday, and this year’s gift purchasing season is going strong.

In the U.S. it is anticipated that Christmas retail sales will be up 8.5% from last year, to $843.5 billion.

I did all the Christmas shopping for my grandkids in October when the possibility of shortages and shipping delays started to make headlines.

I enjoy buying gifts. I like thinking about what to get the people I love, and thoroughly enjoy giving presents, even if I ship them and can’t see them being opened.

As I think about gifts, however, it makes me think about the gifts we give that we don’t buy. The things that cost nothing.

When I was a kid we played board games in my family. My first board game was Chutes and Ladders. As I got older games included Parcheesi, Monopoly, and Clue. Clue was my favorite. Still is. The last time I played Clue was in 2017 when my older brother came for a visit and we coaxed my husband in to making it three players.

I love playing board games. Those memories are a gift I will have forever.

So you might think that a board game would be a gift I would enjoy receiving.

But I have shelves of board games. I have the original Clue and 3 new versions of Clue. I have the original Monopoly and 4 specialty Monopoly games.

I have trivia games, quiz games, and strategy games. I have games for 2 players and games for up to 6 players. And games for teams of players.

I even have a wine drinking board game called Winerd that is all about wines, wine making and tasting to improve your palate and knowledge about wines. By the time the game is finished the four players have consumed most of 3 different bottles of wine.  Now that’s a fun game!

What I don’t have is people to play the games with.

Sometimes when family is visiting I’ll suggest we play a game. No takers.

Occasionally I’ve made suggestions to friends about forming a board game group. No takers.

A gift I would really like is if people would play board games. For me it would be a really fabulous gift and its a “costs nothing” gift.

In the meantime, my game boxes just sit there.

I confess that many of them I bought for myself with the optimism that someday I would get to play them. But many of them were gifts. Gifts that have never been used.

It raises the question, “Why give someone a board game if you aren’t willing to play it with them?”

Perhaps that’s something we should all keep in mind during this season of lavish spending on gifts that will get opened but may never get used. If you give a gift that requires you to participate in order for it to get used, then your participation should be part of the gift.

Having grandchildren has made me realize that the item is just the beginning. When we gave our oldest grandson, Cody, his first Snap Circuits set, within minutes after opening it he and I were sitting on the floor making the projects in the instruction book.

One Christmas my oldest granddaughter, Lizzie, and I had fun designing and creating fabulous clothing ensembles with the Melissa & Doug Fashion Friends magnetic set that was one of her gifts.

It’s the “doing it together” part of the gift that makes it meaningful. And that’s the part I enjoy the most. That’s the gift that costs nothing.

When my youngest grandson Chris, (almost 4 now!) gets a gift from us, he immediately says “Grandma, will you play with me?” We’ve built with Legos, put puzzles together, read books, and made all kinds of things with PlayDoh. Knowing he wants me to play with him is the best part of the gift.

Who knows? Maybe when he gets older and I ask if anyone would like to play a board game, he’ll say “I’ll play with you Grandma.”  That would really be wonderful.

“Sometimes the best Christmas present is remembering what you’ve already got.”

Cathy Guisewite

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