Just in case you misheard “the joys of giving” as “the choice of giving”, please make no mistake! There is no choice.
My son was a strong believer in Santa Claus until his teens. I am not entirely sure why he was so religiously attached to an old bearded man visiting once a year. It must have been something around his incentives to believe: all carrot, no stick.
We used to celebrate Christmas in Scotland. It was usually “grey Christmas” rather than “white Christmas” but the festive spirit made up for the cold and damp weather. The only thing that could potentially ruin the day was if the presents from Santa did not quite match the specifications submitted by my son. After all, who is the boss and who is the servant? (Hint, two servants: Santa and I.)
The Christmas of 1993 was spent under a “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme, even before the pirates themselves had made it to the big screen. Ron got a Lego pirate ship from Santa and spent the whole day assembling it. That kept him out of harm’s way at least for the day. And miraculously no cannons were fired from the ship and no windows broken, which wasn’t necessarily the case when other presents had been tested in the past.
However, only two years later Ron was no longer satisfied with things that, once assembled, didn’t move. So my bill for Christmas went up.
Another two years later he became fascinated with electronics. Now I had to face not only a Christmas bill but also the repair bill for the fancy presents that would break soon after Christmas, no matter how hardy they looked.
For Christmas of 1997 Ron asked Santa for a Playstation. No number was submitted with the specifications for the Playstation as there was only one Playstation back then: THE Playstation. Santa obliged and put a Playstation in the sack of presents under the Christmas tree. Next thing I know: Ron was jumping for joy on the bed, reaching almost suborbital heights. So much excitement in such a small boy.
The following days were spent in the relative peace and quiet of Playstation racing games and pinball games. Now that the world had moved to the virtual realm, the probability of furniture damage on any given day had got smaller and the cases of pet torture got fewer and farther between.
Despite my moaning about the perennial troubles of present procurement, I must confess one thing. Watching my boy’s face light up when he would open his presents invariably made all my efforts worthwhile. Isn’t it interesting that as we grow older we lose this excitement and excitability… Yet, at the same time we discover the joy of giving.