Gift lists can be overwhelming; family, friends, caregivers, others who serve us. Stress occurs when we can’t find ‘just the right’ gift or money is tight. Who do we give gifts to? Is our gift giving really gift exchange? Do we ever give out of duty, expectations, or guilt?
Each year I listen to shoppers rushing to fill long lists in little time; usually spending over their budget. Many comment on difficulty buying for a certain person on their list. Some honestly admit they do not want to give him or her anything but feel obligated.
Please note: I realize you may have packages purchased and wrapped for this year. If it has been frustrating, or you have not finished or even begun, now is the perfect time to spend a few minutes thinking through your personal priorities regarding gifting.
Here are a few simple tips that have served me well.
#1 Adjust your attitude. Are you still looking for a “thank you” for the special gift you sent last year? Sadly, thank you cards and calls seem in short supply in our world today. Gifts given out of a heart of love and compassion and not from guilt or duty have already received a thank you. The giving of each gift, no matter how large or small, will bring you true joy.
#2 Is there something only you can give? Does your work or hobby provide something others would appreciate? For instance, if you enjoy creating cards, make them a dozen beautiful cards with envelopes. Include stamps and a pen and you have a personal gift that says you really care.
#3 Consider the needs of the recipient. Before giving a beautiful plate of homemade candy and cookies to a family, inquire about health and nutrition restrictions. A small houseplant or greenery can be a welcome gift; it can also be an extra burden to one who doesn’t need something else to care for.
#4 Other than family, what other gifts do you want to give? Boss? Co-workers? Church or other groups? Is there a spending limit? Check this list carefully. Are you giving because you want to or because you feel compelled to do so? I have personally found relationship issues I needed to deal with before offering a gift.
#5 Determine who you will be giving gifts to in your family. Will you be drawing names? Will you continue to buy large gifts for your children after they leave the nest? What about their children, and their children? If you don’t set guidelines up front, your list may get longer and longer as your budget gets smaller. Do you have something set aside for those who drop by unexpectedly?
#6 What about those who care for your needs; i.e., postman, beautician, delivery persons, favorite waitress or waiter?
My experience as a giver and as a recipient of much giving, has led me to believe the most needed gift is love. Allow me to rephrase that statement: The Greatest Gift IS Love. We know Jesus is the Greatest Gift; He came to earth, lived, died, and rose again all because of God’s Love for us. Therefore, the greatest of all our gifts to one another should be love.
What has been my best shopping tip for over 30 years that I still practice today? Visit me next week and find out. Why not give someone my address this week so they can get the newsletter, too? You have signed up, right?