We are very often taught, especially from TV that giving presents shows love and buying them shows love, but is this really true? I will never forget the lesson I learned many years ago – the difference between a “present” and a “gift”. I don’t remember if I shared this simple rule with you before, but it is the best one I ever heard.
The simple lesson about presents and gifts
A “present” is when you give someone something you like. An example is a husband giving his wife a red silk bikini as Valentines present. He would love to see her in this bikini, and he likes them. This is a present. But in our case, she doesn’t need the bikini. She would love a simple cotton one. And what she actually needs is someone to drive the kids to school once at least once per week, so she can have time for herself – to go to the hairdresser or to her favourite craft store… In this case, if her husband says: “Darling, as a Valentines present in 2019, for the whole year I will drive the kids to school every Wednesday morning, so you can have some time for yourself”, this will be a real gift. Because this is the thing she needs. Not a red silk bikini.
Our time is often the biggest gift we can give the people we love. Not something material as we are taught all the time. Material things are in fact the cheaper ones. Time is precious.
And at the same time, very often giving your time is money saving. And in these times, everyone needs some more money saved. The global financial crises of 2008 that affected so many, clearly showed us that buying more and more is not the best way to have a happy life.
Which brings us to the second topic – saving money can also show your love. Because as couples we are actually teams. We are actually fighting teams – fighting the day by day struggles for a better future. Ours and our children’s.
Here is some history: In ancient times the city of Thebes created the Sacred Band. It was an elite military force from 150 male gay couples, fighting as couples too. The idea of the creator – Boeotarh Gorgidas – was simply explained by Plato: “For what lover would abandon his beloved by retreating or throwing down his arms? Who would desert his beloved or fail him in the hour of danger? He would be ready to die a thousand deaths rather than endure this.”. Great idea, isn’t it? These men fought the Spartans which were the war “monsters” of the ancient world.
So, if love works for the military in dangerous times of war, why doesn’t it work better for the everyday times of life?
My Valentine idea
Let us follow the idea that a present has to be something small in size, but important for the couple. Written promises (“From today I will quit smoking, because I love you!”) or a small object (the keys from your apartment as an invitation to live together), or a hand drawn greeting card from the children, with a message inside written by you…
You need a sheet of white (or other preferred colour) printing paper, A4, a simple flower or leaf stamp and watercolour or traditional markers. It is not necessary to buy different colours of stamping ink if you don’t have them already. The markers will do a great job. And will save you money.
Paint the stamp with the markers…
… and stamp them on the paper. If you use watercolour markers, do not include water! Only the markers themselves!
Use all the colours your beloved likes. Even if you don’t like them – do not forget – this is a gift, not just a present. So, it is not what you like, it is what the person you love likes.
When all the stamping is ready, leave the paper sheet for few minutes to “breathe”. Some markers need a little bit more time to settle and dry. Especially the watercolour ones.
And pack your present with a nice ribbon or just a thread or a piece of knitting wool. Just use your imagination and your knowledge of what the person you love likes.
And after the present is given, keep your promise and do not stop loving.
Because Love is life saving.
And something more…
Last year I wrote a book about my personal journey through the darkest side of craft collecting and cluttering. It is a very personal book about craft materials shopping addiction, craft hoarding, uncontrolled spending, neglecting my personal and family life. All of these started with a misunderstanding of creativity and the crafting process. If you also have these issues or think you need some support to fight your “enemies”, you can check out my book – The Healing of a Craft Hoarder and realize you are not alone.