The simple act of gift-giving has become extremely complicated. I blame that on the consumer credit industry.
Think about it: You can be completely broke but still spend thousands of dollars on Christmas gifts—and believe it is not only your right to do so but that you are obligated to do it.
This culture has created a message that we have to spend a lot on Christmas gifts. Gift-giving is a custom that has pretty much run amok. But we can choose to make wise decisions about the gifts we give.
How many of you cannot recall the gifts you gave last Christmas? How about the ones you received? Come on, let’s see those hands. OK, that’s just about everybody.
It’s not because we’re total ingrates that we have trouble remembering the gifts we gave or even the ones we received.
Gifts are MessengersWithout the care, love and concern that gifts express, they are empty. Giving a gift just so you can mark a name off a list is a hollow effort that is likely to fall flat, no matter how much money you spend.
OK, here’s another question: How many of you still have a sense of the joy associated with gift-giving from last Christmas, even if you cannot recall the specific gifts?
Look at that. Hands are going up all over the room! At least some of those gifts delivered joy and the love and then quietly slipped out of the spotlight.
Think About It This WayThink of the gift-giving the same way you would think of a special meal you prepare. You want it to be delicious and for your guests to enjoy it thoroughly. But no matter how fluffy your mashed potatoes or how delectable the prime rib, it’s still a meal, and it will end.
It’s the Thought That CountsNot every occasion requires a gift. Sometimes, a card with a thoughtful sentiment is an excellent way to go.
Give Something You MadeWhether it’s something from your kitchen, craft room, woodworking shop, or computer, there’s nothing like a homemade gift. A tree ornament, a plate of cookies, a box of fudge, a bottle of pure vanilla extract, and some notecards are just some of the kinds of homemade gifts with universal appeal.
Give What Matters MostIf you don’t know what to give someone, ask this simple question: What matters to him or her? You have to know this person pretty well to know the answer. You have to pay attention, listen, and observe. Do you want your gift to say how much you care? Then find a way to show you care about what matters most to that person.
Give What You Do BestWhat do you do well? Cook, clean, babysit, garden, sew, drive, shop? Whatever it is, create a unique gift certificate, and make what you do the gift that you give: a weekend of babysitting, a day of housecleaning, six hours of errand-running—you get the idea.
Give It In WritingWorried that your gifts are not quite right? All of your doubts will vanish when you include a short note telling the recipients what they mean to you and the value they bring to your life.
The best gift is one that delivers a message of love and joy that remains with the recipient long after it has been consumed, used, or put away.