Monday, December 21, 2009

Why Do We Give?

There several thoughts of camp around giving gifts at Christmastime. There are probably just as many blogs about it, too. So, what makes me throw in my buck-fifty this time around? I'm pretty sure it all started with the annual Family Gift Exchange. You see, each year, my husband's family decides on what method to use to exchange gifts. We have tried a few ideas, and this year was the typical Secret Santa variety. Apparently, my guy had not put even ONE item on his wishlist. Yesterday, his mother calls to say "Hey, Santa needs to know what is on your list!" So, we start talking about what he wants, and that leads to what did we get for other people. I won't bore you with the details of our conversation, but let's just say in the end we both learned that we have very different motivations for buying Christmas presents.
Now this gets me to thinking - how many schools of thought are there about gift giving? Probably more than a handful. I think it can be boiled down to two in the end though.

Type 1 - obligation. You feel obligated to buy a gift for certain people. Maybe it's "everyone" or just "family", it doesn't matter. You just feel you are forced to make purchases, wrap something up and have a gift for a given individual. You don't feel any connection to the gifts you buy and you more than likely do not feel your gift is special in any way. It's all just part of the Machine which is labelled Christmas.

Type 2 - generousity. You enjoy giving gifts for the joy you anticipate bringing to someone else. Maybe it's just a colorful pencil or maybe it's a brand new car, it doesn't matter. You just feel you have found something that person will enjoy (even if only for a short time) and bring a smile to their face. Perhaps it a luxury item -small or large- you know they would never buy for themselves and you feel they would appreciate it. It's all about sharing the fact that you care about someone.

If you find yourself identifying with Type 1, I'm sorry. I'm a Type 2 and it makes the holidays a lot of fun for me. I don't try to over think any gift, I just want my friends and family to know they are appreciated. Some gifts will cost me more than others. They will be given with the same amount of intention regardless of price.
As for being on the recieving end, it's not about the dollar amount. When I get a gift I know someone cared enough to take a few minutes to think of me and I feel appreciated.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you choose to observe. Spread the cheer and embrace the spirit which was intended. God bless you and yours today and every day!