“This is the season for caring. This is the season for sharing. That’s why we’ve come to you tonight to make your Christmas bright.”
This melodious line from the Smurf’s Christmas Special randomly popped into my head as I sat down to write this post. Each December, I watch the Christmas shows my family taped off of TV for me in the 80s – T’was the Night Before Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and several more (old commercials are a special treat too)!
Watching these old cartoons is the kick off to my holiday season. The familiar characters and songs put me in the mood to decorate and wrap gifts; and, as I watch, I feel an ache in my heart – a happy, reminiscent ache. Christmastime often has a way of taking us back in time.
Christmas also has a way of making us stark, raving, commercialized lunatics. I begin my Christmas shopping well before the season starts, but there are always a few folks for whom I save until the last minute (i.e., two weeks before Christmas). These are the tough to shop for, already have everything, rarely do they seem happy with what I give them people on my shopping list. (Who just popped in your mind that is on your list? ~smile~)
In my frustration, exhaustion, or panic, I sometimes choose gifts in haste. When I do this, I wind up with gifts that do not communicate the message I often wish to deliver. I want people to open presents which make them feel understood, cared for, and appreciated. We know how it feels to receive a half-hearted gift and we do not want to give an opportunity to create that feeling for others, do we?!
As you prepare to shop for the folks on your list, consider these questions below before you buy. The following does not apply to you overachievers because you shopped and wrapped your gifts months ago! ~wink~
- Is this gift about the recipient or about me? “I love teddy bears, and the blue one is so cute. Surely my sister will like it too!”
- Will this gift communicate love? “This is a thoughtful gift that highlights our special relationship, and I know she is going to feel loved when she opens it.”
- Does this gift meet a need? “Her son cannot breathe in normal cleaning fumes without getting sick, so I am going to surprise her with a basket of her favorite all-natural cleaners!” (Yes, some of us ladies consider this a perfect Christmas gift! ~smile~)
- Is this something that will bring us closer together? “These Pre-engagement Coaching sessions will help us strengthen our relationship!” ~wink~
- Does this gift say, “I know you”? “She talks about horseback riding all the time. What better way to spend time with her than to purchase a ride for two?”
- Does this gift seem thrown together? “Will she be hurt if I throw $10 in a bag instead of going to Starbucks and getting the gift card?” (Hint: Yes, most likely she will feel unappreciated even if just the least little bit.)
- Is this yard sale fodder? “I can already visualize this sitting on a yard sale table. I will keep shopping!”
- Is this gift sentimental? “She will cry and treasure this!”
- Is this gift manipulative or passive-aggressive at all? “He does not want to work on our relationship, so I will buy him a relationship book for Christmas.”
- Is this a panic gift? “I am running out of time and need to find a gift in a hurry!”
- Am I trying to outdo someone else? “I know Mary is buying Dad new golf clubs for Christmas, so I will pay his green fees for the next year.”
- Am I hoping to gain love or favor by giving this gift? “This present is more than I can afford, but hopefully it will show him how much I love him and make him feel more loving towards me.”
Running through this list will help you pause and think before settling on your loved ones’ gifts. Though not a perfect system, it allows us to consider our gift ideas from several angles. We might even learn something interesting about ourselves in the process, such as:
- “I did not realize the gifts I buy are more about me than my loved ones.”
- “I have been trying to win love with my gifts and did not realize it.”
- “As much as I do not like to admit this, I try to outdo my siblings each year.”
- “Wow! I am so attracted to cutesy junk no one needs or wants!”
Hopefully, this list will bless you as you set out to wow your favorite people this Christmas. For further giving insights, check out our e-book, Gift-Giving By Personality Type!
Do you thoughtfully consider each gift you buy or do you tend to grab and go?
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