My husband, Barry, often tells the story of his Granny’s sweaters. On special occasions like birthdays and Christmas, he’d ask Granny what she wanted as a gift. Her reply was always that she loved sweaters. “A pretty sweater would be just right,” she’d tell him.
Needless to say, over the course of many years, Granny received an ample supply of beautiful sweaters. The curious thing was, that Barry said he could never remember Granny wearing any of the sweaters. Whenever he confronted her about this, she’d cast a serious eye and tell him that she had been “saving them for a special occasion.” No matter how much he cajoled her or tried to convince Granny that it would make his heart sing if she would wear one of the sweaters, she never did. When Granny passed away after a long happy life, her chest-of-drawers was crammed with sweaters neatly folded with tissue paper and never worn because she was saving them for that special day.
As many times as I’ve heard this story, I wouldn’t have dreamed that it applied to me. Certainly, I don’t do that! Then, as I was thinking about the lesson here, I remembered the time when I first moved to Dallas and we’d gone to San Antonio with another couple for the weekend. San Antonio is a wonderful city full of history and great Mexican food. We settled into a charming old hotel along the Riverwalk and set out to join the throngs of people walking, shopping, dining and sipping drinks in restaurants whose lush patios opened to the water. It could be Christmas every day there with all the twinkling lights and the slow moving boats packed with revelers. We sat in a first rate restaurant enjoying margaritas served in over-sized Mexican glasses. As good as the margarita’s were, I fell in love with the glasses, each one hand blown and infused with a swirl of color – a piece of art onto itself. Barry offered to buy them but they were expensive, and I thought it extravagant so we passed. A few months later we met this same couple at a restaurant in Dallas to reminisce and celebrate my birthday. Our friends handed me a box all wrapped up and tied with ribbon. Inside were six of the margarita glasses. I was so stunned and thrilled, I hardly knew how to express the depth of my gratitude. When I got home, I carefully placed the glasses on the highest shelf where I knew they wouldn’t get broken and that’s where they’ve mostly stayed. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve only used them on the rare occasions I’ve somehow deemed “special.”
Today I pulled all six of the glasses out of the cupboard and rinsed them off. They are sitting on the counter ready to be moved to a place where they will be used. Lesson finally learned. My wish for you this Christmas is that you’ll be a gracious gift receiver as much as a giver. Wear the sweater, use the china, take a picture of the baby in the new outfit and send it to your mother-in-law … When Barry comes home from work, I’m going to shake some margaritas into the glasses and enjoy them – after all, every day really, is a special occasion.