Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Christmas Gifts...Dread or Delight?

Christmas is coming and with it comes the privilege of giving gifts. As a customer I must decide what I want to purchase for gifts.

I know that there are those who dread Christmas. I'm sorry about that because Christmas is not a time I "have" to purchase gifts. There is no one in my life I "have" to buy a gift for; rather, there are many people I "choose" to buy gifts for because they are people to whom I want to express my love.

Years ago my good friend (now my sister-in-law) and I purchased gifts for two new friends in our lives. When we all opened our gifts we laughed because we had gotten those two ladies the same gifts we received from them...except our gift sets had more items. We had purchase the more expensive set of the same line than they had purchased for us. These ladies were so embarrassed and hurriedly said they would buy us more. It was embarrassing for Kris and me because we did not buy them gifts to get a certain gift. It was awkward to have them keep telling us they would buy us more. That is not what Christmas is all about. That incident taught me a good lesson. The amount of money I spend is not what is important. What is important is that I give what I can afford and give something that shows my love to the receiver.

Sometimes I am able to give more expensive gifts. Some years I have a very limited budget. Last year was one of those years. I have a lot of co-workers and neighbors I like to do something for, but since my budget was limited I made gift baskets for them. I made apple butter and salsa. I don't recall having such response to gifts. Both recipes were tried and proven and were delicious and I got such wonderful thank you's for those gifts.

If you have a long list of people to whom you give gifts just because you feel you "have" to, why don't you re-evaluate. There are probably people whom you could cross off your list. The fact is, there probably are people to whom you give gifts that may give you gifts for the same reason. Quite possibly they could be relieved when you don't give them a gift this year, paving the way for them to take you off of their list next year.

Possibly there are people to whom you should give a gift, but you don't want to. An example might be a hard-to-get-along-with boss. Maybe just a little perspective on your part would help. Even if your boss is not the kindest of people, that person is giving you the opportunity to take home a paycheck. Be grateful for what that person does do for you.

I do think it is important to remember service people, especially people like the garbage man. Those people work hard with little thanks or remuneration. This does not have to be a big gift, but it is a kindness to remember those people.

Sometimes the most meaningful gift you can give is a gift of words. Write a note stating some specific ways the person has helped you or encouraged you. Thank them for their investment of time, love, kindness, etc.

We don't have to dread Christmas. In fact, we should look forward to and delight in this wonderful day of celebrating our Saviour's birth. Start planning now which people should be on your gift list, how much money you can spend on the gifts, and then plan meaningful gifts that will truly say, "I love you; you are important to me." My niece and nephew gave several people in their lives a "Photo of the Month Club" coupon for Christmas last year. They gave a small attractive photo album with space for 12 photos. Each month they have sent a photo showing something that they did with their two boys that month. The recipients have so enjoyed that gift and it was something they could afford.

By starting to plan now and by planning wisely, your gift giving can be relaxing, meaningful, and something you begin to look forward to!


CardsByEmily said...

Great advice, and well explained. Thanks so much, Jane!


Terri said...

What a beautiful pin! I love buying gifts for people I don't have to, it is so much more appreciated.


Nancy M. said...

What words of wisdom! I have baked some holiday goodies ahead and made home made pumpkin butter for giving.
thank you for reconfirming about the meaning of gifts. Have a blessed season. -nancy m.

ellielee said...

Good advice, as usual. This is especially important this year as many people are facing very hard economic situations!