To the Editor:
Long ago, before the memory of man ran not to the contrary, when people gathered for special occasions, with perhaps little in the way of material things, they gave of each other - presence.
Somewhere along the way, when one was unable to actually be present the idea developed of giving something as an indication of the person's feelings. Something created, grown or fashioned. In this manner because of the thought, affection and perhaps effort that went into the item, it became imbued with the presence of the giver. Keeping the love and consideration of the recipient in mind, while preparing a gift, be it a jar of jam, produce from a garden or a pair of knitted mittens imparted a certain quality to the item. In some strange manner, the gift became permeated with the presence of the giver.
As family and friends, occupied with the increasing intricacies of living located further from each other, specialized life styles, time restraints, the equipment needed to grow or fashion a gift became impractical. The buying of gifts began - presents.
Yet the time and labor expended to earn the, where-with-all, to be able to purchase gifts still contained an element of presence. By careful choosing, paging through innumerable catalogs, being selective, ever with the thought of the recipient in mind, gifts could be purchased that conveyed that inexplicable attribute called presence.
Presence, unseen yet conveyed. Thoughtfulness in selection can still tinge a gift. Choosing a gift, wrapping it with care, attaching a card or note, selecting a ribbon or bow all contribute to imbuing the gift with the giver's presence.
Gifts need not be obligations; they may still convey presence and not be just presents ...