Three years ago I bought a big bag of men’s tube socks. My daughter’s ninth birthday was approaching, and at the last minute (from a “make a birthday present” perspective), she decided she wanted me to make her a sock doll.
A sock doll?
I still have no clue where she got that idea. She had no criteria other than that it be a doll made from socks. Okay.
So, I prayed for wisdom and direction and then made a sock doll. I was nervous, afraid it would not live up to her expectations, but I poured every ounce of my thought and creativity into trying to do it well. My anxiety was unfounded. She loved the doll!
Over the past three years, many more sock dolls have joined the family. William came along a year after Susan, and now they have a son named George. My other two children have sock dolls as well—Ella, Oliver, and Han. A seventh doll, George’s still unnamed little sister, has been stuffed and is awaiting final assembly, a face, hair, and a dress. She will be a birthday present from my son to his big sister.
Amazingly enough, even with all of those sock dolls, we’ve barely used half of that bag of socks. Half a bag of tube socks, a bit of fiberfill, some fabric scraps, a bit of yarn, and a whole lot of love, time, energy, planning, and excitement have produced three years of gifts so far.
Real gifts are like that. More than money or other resources, real gifts require time, energy, thought, and even prayer. They require a part of ourselves. Perhaps that is why so many of us have pulled away from being a giving people. Oh, we spend money on other people, tossing stuff at them on appropriate gift-giving occasions, but we do not truly give. Giving is too hard. It cannot be done by walking into a store and picking something cute off the shelf.
Real gifts might be bought at a store. They might be made. They might be neither, consisting instead of time shared, a shoulder offered, a listening ear made available, a word of encouragement offered. Whatever they may be, they are thought out. They require effort. They are sacrificial.
When did you last truly give? My children do it all the time, but I think it’s been a while for me. As I help my son finish his sock doll gift, I realize that I want to change that fact.
I want to really give.