With the end of American thanksgiving, Christmas and holiday season feels like it’s right around the corner, and with it the inevitable pressure to empty our wallets to show that we care.
Over a celebratory lunch for my boyfriend’s birthday the other weekend, I couldn’t help but lament that I wasn’t (financially) able to afford to do more for him.
Being two university students, the reality of our financial situation isn’t surprising nor is it something we’re unaccustomed to dealing with. Of course, perpetually feeling like I should be doing, achieving, or just generally being more spills over into the financial realm from time to time, but in some ways I almost find it a relief to have some perceptible “limits”. These in particular being laid out by the fact that, even if I wanted to, I don’t have the extra money to spend anyways.
Aside from occasional (Yet typical) anxiety about finances, attempting to be frugal has made me more conscious of what else really matters. In this instance it allowed me to realize my want to buy more for my boyfriend was my desire to make him happy, and to express my love for him. (Maybe a little bit of underlying insecurity too of course, but ultimately the fact that I want the people I care about to be happy is undeniable.)
Which brings me to the main “point” of this blog post – the other ways you can show you care. Different ways to say “I love you”, or “Merry Christmas”, or “Happy Holidays”. Spreading richness without spending it.
At lunch, my boyfriend shared with me a sweet anecdote to this very avail. (Note that we can’t figure out whether the real story was a personal recount he actually heard or if its a more commonly-shared tale). Nonetheless, it made my heart melt.
A teacher worked abroad for a year teaching English in a small village in a developing nation. Her enthusiasm and passion encouraged the kids to engage positively in school and with each other as they never had before. Living and working in the small neighbourhood, the teacher came to be very well-liked and integrated into their tightly-knit community. Come holiday time, towards the end of her work term, she was touched to begin receiving small gifts and tokens of appreciation from her students. Knowing many of the local families have very little and that most members of the community live very minimally, she couldn’t express her gratitude enough. However, her favourite gift came from a young child of a particularly poor family. He had given her a small container of sand he had walked to collect from his favourite beach 10km away.