You know, I was just thinking…isn’t it funny how the taste of pumpkin pie is still fresh on our tongues, and the list of things for which we gave thanks, the proclamation of how very blessed/rich we are, still echoes in our dining rooms on the advent of Black Friday? A day of greed. Of frenzy. Of excess. Of amazing deals -yes. But deals on things that generally qualify as purely accessory to our existence.
Now lest you immediately label me a scrooge, I love receiving gifts with the best of them! I also enjoy the buying, planning, and making of gifts. But in recent years, increasingly, it’s the spirit behind the gift that lingers in my heart well past December 25th. To know that someone loved me enough to put time, effort, and thought into a small token of that love is truly amazing.
But think with me a little deeper here… There is so much expectation surrounding the exchanging of gifts nowadays, isn’t there? People expect to receive exactly what they ask for (how selfish), expect to have a certain dollar amount spent on them (how greedy), expect to have a bigger pile of presents waiting for them than last year (how spoiled), expect to get the latest and greatest_________fill-n-the-blank: toy, game, gadget, electronic, purse, etc. (how presumptive), expect to receive a gift equal to what they give to you (how conditional). Where is the love in all of those expectations?
Yes, I know that some people do have the primary love language of “gifts”, but after taking a survey of the most meaningful gifts that people have received in their lifetime, it was overwhelmingly the gifts without a price tag that they cherished the most. If love can be bought with money – then it isn’t love. It’s pure selfishness.
Hear me: I’m not advocating the nixing of the beautiful tradition of exchanging gifts by any means… – I’m just encouraging you to stop, and take a moment to think this year, before plowing full steam ahead into the way things have always been done.
Give from your heart, not your pocketbook. If a gift causes you to go in debt, or stretches your budget further than it should wisely/safely go, you will always have a small place of resentment in your heart over the giving of that gift.- Instead of giving into peoples desire/demand for unnecessary excess, give them something with real meaning behind it. If you have friends or family who are strapped financially, relieve any stress that expectation-giving might be causing them by asking that they attend a free Christmas concert and catch dessert afterward with you at a coffee shop – assuring them that just getting to spend some quality time together during this season of hustle and bustle would be a wonderful gift to you.
And now perhaps you’re all wondering… “What qualifies as a meaningful gift”? Well, I’m hoping each of you will help compile a wonderful list of ideas in the comments below. Tell us about a meaningful gift that you’ve received, and what made it so special.
I’ll get the ball rolling: in high school, the girl who was to become the Maid of Honor in my wedding wrote a beautiful poem about friendship, typed it up, printed it out, and framed it with some pretty flowers she had carefully pressed along with a watercolor of two friends walking by the shore. It’s a gift I still cherish to this day…
Ok, now it’s your turn! Ready, set, go!