“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” – Mother Teresa
Gift giving and making gestures are opportunities to show someone that you care, that you listen to them, and that you spend time thinking about them. Creative gift giving is a skill that can be developed; a muscle that can be exercised. The task comes easier to some than others and can be a joy or a chore. The payoff of a thoughtful gift can be enormous: the value of knowing you’ve pleased someone you care about, and their recollection of how you made them feel, often lasts longer than the memory of the actual gift.
My mother is the world champion of gift giving. She puts an extraordinary amount of effort, thought, and time into making sure that the recipient knows how much she cares for them. No matter the budget – or even when there is no budget at all – she can always pull an exceptional rabbit out of the hat. While I don’t have her innate talent, she’s taught me a lot about how to demonstrate my feelings through thoughtful gestures and gifts.
Within our excessively noisy world, channeling attention and effort into planning gifts can actually be pleasurable. For those of you who think there is no way this could possibly be relaxing, or who cringe at the idea of another item on your To Do list, I’ll share some suggestions to make your lives easier.
Over the coming months I’ll provide diverse approaches to gift giving, discuss how we can avoid being sucked into materialistic traps, curate a number of thoughtful ideas for a range of budgets and occasions, find ways we can acknowledge that holidays can be painful as well as joyful, and recommend a perspective that leaves you fulfilled and gratified instead of broke, exhausted, and depleted.
In the meantime, if you’re so inclined, think about an important person whose birthday is coming up. If you share an inside joke, consider hiring Lauren of the Wicked Radish to embroider the punchline. If the person has a Garfield obsession, go to eBay and search “vintage Garfield.” If you know they are concerned about a family member’s recent diagnosis, make a donation to a medical research organization.
You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me about someone you care about who is impossible to shop for; I’ll make some recommendations. This is one of my favorite pastimes, so go ahead and stump me.