At this time of the year, we are reminded of how meaningful it is to be in the “spirit of giving”. Certainly, our minds turn to adequately expressing how much our loved ones matter in our lives. In our desire to express an intangible feeling, we sometimes feel helpless and resort to buying extravagant gifts to communicate just how much the person means to us. In that way, gift givers often mistake value over thoughtfulness as being most appreciated by the recipient and will spend valuable ressources finding that perfect gift.
Picking out a gift is not an easy task. A thoughtful gift is one that suits the person because it is needed and will be enjoyed. It conveys the idea that you pay attention to their interests, habits and activities and that you know where you can add value in their lives. No pressure right?!
Many of us have probably given a present at one time or another that we secretly desired for ourselves. That happens. We assume that because we find a scarf or shawl beautiful, that the recipient will appreciate it too. There is a greater chance of the scarf being appreciated if we put thought into choosing a colour that suits the recipient, or goes with an item of clothing that the person wears often, if it brings warmth, or feels soft and of course, if she even wears scarves.
When someone says they don’t need anything, we should take them at their word. It is typically not said just to be polite or modest. It is probably because they have all that they need and that they are in a position to purchase what they need, when they need it. That’s where gift cards are appreciated. Provided it is from a store or service they frequent, a gift towards a future purchase is usually well received. Especially if it comes with a personal sentiment.
Many families make and share their gift lists which is practical and efficient – as long as you stick to the list, and the practice of picking names is also a good way to keep gift giving manageable and stress free – particularly for large families.
Over the years, I have asked my family for “disappearing gifts”. The criteria for being a disappearing gift is that it does not require shelf or closet space, or if it does need storage, it is temporary. The gift can be burned, eaten, drank, spent, or enjoyed virtually or electronically like e-books.
Disappearing gifts include, but are not limited to:
- Incense sticks
- Aromatic oils
- Moisturizers and hand creams
- Make Up – like a good mascara
- Spirits and Wine
- Baked goods
- Olives and Olive oils and Balsamic vinegars
- Gift cards – for services, to stores, for e-purchases etc…
In my opinion, the most precious gifts for me are the gift of time and the gift of yourself. I remember my parents insisting that our presence was all the gift they needed and they were right.
I appreciate the time my friends and family make for me, much more than any gift they could bring along. Having time with my grandson gives me more joy than I can express, and that includes receiving video clips or photos of him. Having a long chat with my close girlfriends by video, phone or in person fills me with gratitude.
The gift, is about the connection you make with the other person. You can make that connection by expressing to them what they mean to you and by spending time with them. You don’t need a gift to speak on your behalf. You have all that it takes inside you to bring true happiness to others. That is pretty stress-free if you ask me.