I always find sorting through the gifts a bit tricky; the rarely spoken reality in most households is that not every gift makes it. Ours fall into three groups;
1. Ooh, that's lovely / useful!
2. It's nice, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it...I'll stick it in that cupboard for now.
3. Oh...err...better start a charity shop bag.
I'm sorry if this seems ungrateful, but despite having moved into a much bigger house this year, we still seem to have way too much stuff. So if it falls into group 3 it has to go so we don't end up on that programme 'Hoarders'. I know, you're shocked...you thought I was such a nice person.
I have wondered in the past if it wouldn't be entirely practical to have a Christmas gift swap shop party in January, but this seems fraught with danger in case you forget who bought what and include a gift given to you by a sensitive guest!
The real trick of course is to not unconsciously communicate this sorting process whilst actually receiving the gift. One of the outcomes of frontal lobe damage is a lack of empathy and self-awareness and I am forever grateful that the impact of this is minimal for Jake; he is still really good at pretending to like group 3 gifts!
At this stage I should point out that the vast majority of our gifts are 'group 1' gifts and we are extremely grateful for the thoughtfulness and generosity of our friends and family. Thinking about this did make me reflect on the 'gifts' of brain injury though, and I was surprised at how many group 1 gifts there are. At first glance it can feel like they are all group 3, so I thought I would share some of the group 1 gifts that I am grateful for.
- I am so much closer to both my own and Jake's family and I genuinely believe that this closeness would not have developed without BI.
- As prophesised in all the books, many friends have become less present, but we have made some wonderful new friends who understand and are completely comfortable with our lives now.
- I have been forced to get off life’s travelator and rethink ‘the plan’. This has allowed me to look at my life objectively and has opened up new opportunities and possibilities.
- We both have a heightened sense of perspective and appreciation for what we still have.