My mother has asked me for a list of possible gifts for TSC and me for Christmas, which she wants to distribute to the wider family. This is a very organised way of doing things, even if it does take the surprise out of what you might find under the tree on Christmas morning. It may, however, mean that for the first time in three years, I stand a chance of getting something other than hand towels from my grandparents. And I'm all for that!
The thing is, twee as it sounds, I pretty much have everything I need. Of course there are things I would like to have, such as a small garden bench so that I can indulge my bizarre veggie-watching tendancies, tickets to Cinderella on Ice, or a decent pair of sunglasses (instead of the R50 pairs I am prone to buying at flea-markets), but by and large, TSC and I are incredibly blessed. We have an amazing house and garden, two wonderful cats, a car each, food in the pantry, clothes in the cupboard, a computer in the study... We are more fortunate than most people, especially at our age.
This strikes me often as I'm enjoying a late afternoon walk with TSC up to the local Woolworths Food to pick up some or other supper ingredient. I love our neighbourhood, I love our relationship and I love enjoying a Woolies ice cold gingerbeer on my way home ;-)
It's so easy, especially in materialistic Jo'burg, to get caught up in the need to have nice things. Or just to have more money. Because everything costs money. It's not like we can walk 10 minutes to the beach with a picnic lunch and enjoy a free day of entertainment like we used to do in Cape Town (when we had no spare money whatsoever). Here, aside from a distinct lack of beach, everything is spread out across a large distance. So spending a day out usually means driving a fair distance and paying an entrance fee, or hanging out in a shopping centre, the ultimate temptation zone. I am not a fan of shopping centres.
Don't get me wrong - I enjoy the pace and the variety of Jo'burg, and love the opportunities here. But when I catch myself thinking, "I wish we could afford to go see that show / re-do our bathrooms / buy that blue-ray player", I want to be able to remind myself how very fortunate we are and to re-focus on the stuff that actually matters.
What I really want for Christmas is time out away from the bustle with the ones I love, espeically my aging grandparents. And that is already planned. So for now, all I can think of for my Christmas wish list is a new beach towel (mine is about 1o years old and worn through) and a subscription to SA Garden magazine. And that makes me happy!
Of course it makes things challenging for my mother. We both love to give presents and will happily spend forever hunting for the perfect gift for a specific person. Still, I've been struggling to find meaningful gifts for both my folks for years, so I'm sure the rest of the family can manage ;-)