Fact # 2: In Portugal, the traditional Christmas meal (consoada) is eaten in the early hours of Christmas Day. Burning in the hearth is the Yule log (fogueira da consoada). The ashes and charred remains of the Yule log are saved; later in the year, they are burned with pine cones during Portugal's thunderstorm season. It is believed that no thunderbolt will strike where the Yule log smoke has traveled.
So here is my Christmas craziness question for the season: If you were discussing the holidays with someone of an 'important' status to you. Perhaps a family member or a friend whom you don't see too often, and you state that this year you are not exchanging Christmas/holiday gifts to the extended list of people you usually do. This can be for a slew of reasons.....maybe you're trying to save money, or perhaps you simply do not need any extra clutter in your home.
In response the person says to you: "oh well, we don't send out gifts because we expect anything in return." And doesn't really listen to your decision not to swap gifts. Perhaps you stress that money is tight and you can not afford to send to everyone you wish to. Perhaps you simply are just trying to sever this ritual which has become less of a desire to do and more of an obligation. At the end of the discussion it is understood no gifts will be swapped.
Then a week or so later you get a knock at your front door and FedEx speeding off and you *know* you haven't ordered anything on-line, to expect delivery. So you bring the package inside and check the shipping information. And lo and behold, this package is from the person which you had the 'no gift exchange' conversation with. What do you do? What do you do?
Do you graciously keep the gift and open it on Christmas morning? Do you send them a gift in return and *oh my!* surprise! It's the same thing which they had sent you? Or do you send the gift back to them unopened with a note saying 'thank you but you know what my wishes were'?
What do you do???