By Lisa Huddleston

My favorite gifts!

My favorite gifts of 2016!

It’s been said that every day is a gift. And I do believe that’s true. But did you ever get a gift that didn’t fit or that you simply didn’t want? You’re sitting in the family circle around the tree and the youngest cousin is handing out the presents and you’re watching each present being opened and the receivers are smiling and thanking the givers and all you can think is, “Why the heck did I get this?” Of course, you paste on a smile and say thank you like all the others in the circle do, but inside you hurt a little. How can your own people not know you any better than to give you this? Do they really see you this way?

And then, of course, you wonder how many of your specially chosen gifts have been received with the same internal consternation. Did everyone like the gifts you gave them? Did they feel as though you did or did not know them? Ugh.

Gift-giving is hard. Gift-receiving can be even harder.

The past few weeks have been full of difficult days. Yes, they have been gifts, and I have received them, and there have been many I would have returned had they come with a receipt, but that’s not the way life works. We get the days chosen for us, and we learn to live with them. We find a place on a shelf or a table where they kind of work into the décor, and we manage to squeeze them into the tableaux of our lives.

Yesterday was a hard one to find an appropriate place for, but it will come to me eventually, and someday it will look just right on that shelf. Just not today.

This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it [even if we can’t be glad with it]. (Psalm 118:24)




Sweet, crocheted snowman from a dear coworker.

Crocheted snowman from a dear coworker for whom I did not bring a gift. (Btw, this is actually a toilet paper cozy! Perfect gift for a party ‘pooper!’)

By Lisa Huddleston

I have cleaned the kitchen, folded another load of laundry, and made a pot of coffee since returning from the Adult Learning Center’s Christmas brunch. Now I am drinking the above-mentioned coffee and wasting time on the computer in order to recover some equilibrium in my soul. Parties wear me out!

This morning’s gathering was especially trying as I only really sorta kinda knew the people who are physically in the class I work with. The rest I greet upon entering and exiting the building, but I wouldn’t say I really know them. And small talk with people I don’t know is exhausting. Also many of these folks brought gifts! I know that bringing gifts to a  Christmas party is not really surprising–but some of them were for me! Who knew? Oy. So awkward.

So I stood in line with the rest as we harvested food onto our festive plates from the buffet displayed on classroom tables, and then I found an isolated seat on the stairs–strategic as I could see the whole room and overlook the pained conversation without actually having to participate in it. Waiting a few minutes after consuming my food for the sake of manners, I then stealthily wove my way down the stairs and into the office where I had stashed my purse. Planning to make my get-away, I found several teachers gathered in the front office so I paused for just a few more minutes to exchange more stiff but well-meaning chit chat.

It is funny to observe the differences in people. Some (those holly jolly extroverts)  had a wonderful time today. They brought sweet gifts and cards and asked everyone about their plans for the holiday break–and really cared about the responses. They may still be there, for all I know, visiting and hugging and laughing. Others, tight-lipped introverts like me, silently smiled and answered when addressed, slipping away as soon as it was possible to do so without being too rude.

The food was excellent, the sentiments warm and heartfelt, and the efforts deeply appreciated. Truly, it was a very, very nice party–and it was exhausting.

Now Merry Christmas to all and to all a good nap!