Monday, December 01, 2008

Thinking About Gift Giving

It's the first of December ... and for those of us who love Christmas, we can gleefully start our holiday preparations in earnest, which includes focusing our attention more closely on the gifts we want to give this year. Of course, for some of us, that might cause more stress than delight.

It's so easy to get caught up in the social obligation of gift giving at this time of year. Instead of feeling a sense of joy and wonder, we can start to feel the pressure because it's expected of us. I don't know about you, but I don't want to receive something from someone if they only feel a sense of duty to give it to me. I don't want to give in that spirit either.

I don't shop the way I used to, and I no longer play the game of guessing how much someone might spend on me so that I might give something of similar value. The stress I used to carry as I tried to figure that out -- it still gives me the shudders. Always wondering if it was the right thing, if I spent enough to indicate some reasonable measure of 'love'. I assume that, right or wrong, it creeps from a mindset of commercialism and consumerism that seems to be a mostly North American malady. Diamonds and fancy presents are not the only way to express a measure of love. Now, if you have the ability to share those kinds of gifts, by all means let those items be an expression of the love you have in your heart.

And, for many of us whose pocketbooks aren't as thickly padded, we need to somehow let that pressure go. And the means we have within our reach, that's what we use. Sometimes the best gifts are those wrapped in beautiful paper and bows; sometimes they are less tangible but still as life-giving: gentle and affirming words, generous giving of time and energy, providing acts of service, to name a few. Large or small ... only as long as it speaks from the heart.  

I do want my gifts to be an expression from my heart. Because, in the end, it doesn't matter if we're two or ninety-two, we are all looking for that special something that conveys the message....

"You I notice ... you I cherish."

Happy Preparations,


  1. Hi Brenda,
    Have read your blogs for the past week today . . . very enjoyable, and inspiring!

    Wendy Leyland

  2. Hi Brenda,
    Thanks for coming by the blog and leaving a comment!

    What great thoughts on gifts...good to keep in mind as we comb the malls!

  3. Hi Wendy, Good to hear from you! Happy to hear you're enjoying the blog. I'm still having great fun with it!

    Violet, Glad you stopped by! I'm going to enjoy the advent calendar you made for your site. As kids we always loved that daily ritual of opening a new window. So here's an opportunity to do it on-line.

  4. Like you... I LOVE giving gifts, even more than I like receiving them. And, like you... I really like giving them because, well, just because.

    Your words regarding obligatory gifts are extremely wise. I remember one year absolutely agonizing over what to give my husbands step mother. It's sad to say that she is not in any way an even remotely likable woman. In more than twenty years I'd never known her to appreciate or like anything anyone had ever given her... or done for her. I spent so much more time searching and worrying over what I could do for her than I did for people who I am completely mad about. I stopped short in the middle of an aisle at a boutique and thought, "What am I doing?" I bought her a litle courtesy gift, wrapped it beautifully... (that's my schtick, wrapping gifts is my absolute favorite thing to do)and went on to do the shopping that brought ne joy.

    I love reading your posts. They're always packed with great stuff!!

  5. Caryn, Speaking of what brings me joy, your comments bring me joy!

    What fun to find another person who LOVES to wrap presents! A favourite!

    Along the lines of not spending too much time/effort on gifts for people who are harder to please, something my sister and I discovered too... is to not waste our beautifully wrapped gifts with handmade cards and wondrous wrappings on folks who have absolutely no appreciation for the art of the thing.

    That's not to say don't wrap it nicely. But to some folks the wrapping hardly matters, so why spend the effort when it doesn't matter to them, it's not important to them.

    We've learned to reserve our more creative efforts for the parcels of people who will notice and enjoy our choice of paper, ribbons and card.

    To me, the wrapping is as much a part of the gift as what's inside. But to others it's what's inside that counts.


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo