Gift giving can be a delight or extremely stressful. Whether you are shopping or creating homemade, the question remains the same. “What will this person like.” The gifts we give others say something about us and most of us take that seriously even if we don’t realize it.
- If you are romantic your gifts conjure memories past or create memories present.
- If you are competitive your gifts are comparable or better in some way than others.
Most of us are different from year to year depending on circumstances. If you are rushed for time your gifts may be more carefree. If you are short on funds your gifts may be more practical. If you’ve recently experienced a loss your gifts may be more romantic or thoughtful.
I asked my friends on facebook what their favorite gifts were. The responses shouldn’t have amazed me a bit. Only one gift stood out and I’ll get to that one later. The other gifts weren’t the focus of the favoritism. They were favorites because of who they came from, the thought behind them, and how or when they were given. It was the who, when, where, how, and why of the gift rather than the what, that made it a favorite.
- Historic or ancestral heirloom items.
- A gift that created comfort in a hard time.
- A tool from parents for a first time endeavor.
- Something as simple as a pretty box to hold keepsakes.
- A piece of jewelry because of the special occasion it was bestowed.
Sometimes favorite gifts can accumulate over time. One person use to give us a set of bathroom towels each year. Another gave us a pretty popcorn tin each year. Let me be real about this. It use to frustrate me. They didn’t seem to put much thought into these gifts. They never asked or seemed to even consider what we wanted or needed at the time. The towels were a useful item from someone who preferred thoughtful or romantic gifts. The tins were a carefree item from someone who had plenty of time and money to put more thought into gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated that they thought of us at all and always sent a thank you card. I never had to worry about frayed towels when company came over. The tins have been useful for years and the flavored popcorn was a treat. We miss these gifts now. In time, I realized these two people just didn’t know how to show their love for us in any other way. I have definitely learned to be more gracious and though the towels are now all frayed beyond use and the tins have had their day, they are some of my favorite gifts in retrospect.
Another type of gift I’ve always found special has been those gifts that show a person stepped out of their comfort zone or usual pattern. The practical or thoughtful gift from the carefree or fun-loving person always stands out.
When you know a person is busy and/or broke and you receive as special coffee cup that matches your kitchen and personality, it’s something you want to keep and take good care of. The carefree or fun-loving gift from the practical or competitive giver can be a comfort. I’ll be real again here, few people know me well and those aren’t usually the ones who feel obligated to give me a gift. I would usually rather have a gift card to go toward something I personally pick out to fit my needs. I also like it when a practical giver gives me something simple like a music cd or mittens. It’s smaller and less likely to clutter up my house. I dislike feeling obligated to keep things because the giver may notice it missing. (Worse yet when they continually ask you if you are using it!)
- Step out of your comfort zone. Do something unlike you. Surprise them! If you usually give quality items, back off and do something fun this year. If you usually skimp, try to find a deal on something quality that matches that persons personality or decor. You don’t always have to spend a lot of money to invest in quality. More and more people are appreciating the value of “vintage” items. Our family loves used and re-purposed things.
- Be practical. Even if you are the practical giver, consider what is actually needed. I know I’m not the only one who’s washing machine eats socks and mittens. Gift cards are so nice. It doesn’t have to be much to help someone who is saving for a new appliance or is just in need of little necessities.
- Support small businesses. Again most companies or sales representatives offer gift certificates. Most direct sales and multi level marketing companies have a higher quality standard. Support a local business, friend or family member who is trying to bring in extra income. Don’t forget books! Local authors are usually thrilled to offer signed copies.
- Homemade. If you bake, consider a baked item especially for people who have food allergies. Paleo "Danish" Cookies are easy to make and are so nice for someone who has to watch their diet closely. If you sew, who can’t use a few new potholders or a lap quilt? If you are crafty, make something fun. If you are none of these but the person you are shopping for is, consider giving them supplies. Again, a gift certificate to a supply store is always nice.
- Pictures are always special. I have always appreciated pictures more than any other gift. I hear other people more and more say how they wish they didn’t have to search social media for pictures of friends and loved ones. It is so easy these days to make up photo books online. A picture or two of your family for each month of the year with a little caption would be a joy for someone on your list.
This brings me to the BEST gift:
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.” Hebrews 2:9-13 KJV