Who doesn’t love a gift? I’m sure there are some who don’t care as much for the material items of life; yet, the vast majority of people enjoy receiving gifts. Many children love opening toys and playing with them. And remember when you were a kid? The excitement and wonder of what’s in that package is almost more than you can stand! When you get a little older, the excitement and wonder is still there, but you may find that you have a little more control over the “waiting” that comes with Christmas and birthdays.
Then, you begin to enter opposite sex relationships and before you know it, gifts mean something even more special. You hope, as you open a gift from a boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancé/fiancée, or spouse, that you will be receiving something that shows you how much they care for you. Sure, you are probably not actively thinking, “I really hope this gift captures the true essence of his or her feelings for me,” but in the back of your mind you may still be hoping to find something special.
While some do consider the price of the gift to be important, most people value the personal cost more. If your boyfriend is heir to a large company, has never worked a day in his life, and provides you with a beautiful diamond necklace for Christmas, then yes… of course you will like it; however, the personal cost of the item was not very high (or may not be in the “high” category at all). There was no sacrifice involved (other than the time it took to drive to the mall).
I’m not discounting these gifts. We all enjoy gifts that are fun, whimsical and store bought, and I for one would not have balked at a diamond necklace no matter how rich a man I had been dating at the time; but, once in a while, we want a gift that really cost our significant other something. Maybe your girlfriend is working full time and going to school full time, so she’s low on time; but, on her one night off, she took three hours tracking down a rare comic book you’ve been wanting for years to complete your collection. That is personal cost. Maybe your boyfriend has limited cash flow because he is not able to work many hours due to his overwhelming school schedule; but, he has saved a little money each week and bought you that figurine you’d been eyeing in the Hallmark window for months. That is personal cost.
The story that comes to mind when I think of giving sacrificial gifts is the story “The Gift of the Maji” by O. Henry. Two young people, married, and very much in love set off to buy each other a splendid gift for each other. She valued her beautiful hair more than any of her possessions, but she could not see Christmas going by without having a nice gift for the man she loved. She sold her hair and bought a handsome chain for her husband’s watch. The watch was his most valued possession, handed down by his grandfather and then his father. When he returned home that night and saw that her hair was gone, he stood in shock, and then handed her a gift. He bought her a set of exquisite combs for her to wear in her hair. She had seen them in a store window on Broadway and dreamed of them, but never believed she would own them. She cried and assured him that her hair would grow back. Then she remembered the gift she’d bought for him. She gave it to him excitedly, only to find that he’d sold his watch to buy her the combs.
Each of them gave up their most valued possession to bring joy to the other. Regardless of the fact that neither could use their gifts, they had something even better than a physical gift: they had the assurance that their spouse loved them more than anything else on Earth. When setting out to give a gift to your man or woman, you don’t need to be seduced by finances. It does not have to be expensive to be the perfect gift. It just has to include thought, knowing your special person, and personal sacrifice. Think of what would make your significant other beam with joy while costing some personal sacrifice that is within your price range and purchase it and wrap it for him or her. Then give it spontaneously! You’ll be surprised how much you get back!
What gifts do you like to give? Which gifts do you like to receive?