We all like to receive gifts . Some of us (myself included) like it more than others. If you have ever heard of The Five Love Languages you might have heard that we all have one or two primary love languages. We use these to communicate our love to others and they also happen to make us feel loved. One of these languages is gift giving. But isn’t that materialistic? Not at all. If you’re like me the thoughtfulness and effort behind the gifts are what really make us feel cared for. We feel known and that we are placed above whatever was sacrifices to bring the gift to us. Everyday gestures are extremely important and it’s never about the amount spent.
Now let’s talk about Christmas and our obsession with stuff. This is in my opinion very different from the natural appreciation for gifts and the thoughtfulness of others. Christmas has become a marketing scheme used by retailers luring customers in with sales, promotions, new releases, distracting us from focusing on what’s most important spending time with family and loved ones. For a lot of people Christmas is about out doing friends on who has the biggest tree with the most presents under it.
There’s also another aspect of gift giving that sometimes can ruin the entire experience. It’s called manipulation. I have experienced this in the past and in some situations have decided to forego gift exchange all together. Some people give gifts and they do not believe in the idea that when you give a gift – it’s truly a gift, not a bribe or a bait or a purchase of love, affection, or whatever else. Here is what I believe gift giving is and is not about:
Expressing love and appreciation
Giving gifts should truly be an expression of our love towards each other. With that said, gifts should not be about the amount or the quantity of gifts. Yet somehow a lot of us think that if the tree is not full of gifts it’s not enough.
Giving someone a gift does not mean the person owes us something
This defeats the purpose of a gift. There should be no expectations. As mentioned above if we give someone a gift and expect something in return, it’s best not to give a gift at all.
The higher price tag does not equal more love
Because of the way I was brought up I used to think that a gift is only good enough if it’s expensive. This is total nonsense. It is truly the meaning and the thought behind the gift as well as paying attention to details about our friends and loved ones that matter. I love getting gifts that are thoughtful and personal, useful and practical. Someone else might enjoy gifts that are unique, sentimental, luxurious, etc. The key is to learn about the person who the gift is for and keep that in mind when looking for gifts. I am not very good at this as attention to detail is not my biggest strength. I started writing down things that people say throughout the year that help me pick a gift for them during the holidays.
Gifts do not have to be material
Helping a friend move, giving a ride to the airport, babysitting, dog walking etc are all gifts in my book. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that Acts of Service is another one of my love languages. My point is, that gifts can have different expressions, and spending money does NOT always have to be involved. If service is not your thing, there’s always hand-made gifts as well.
However we express our love and towards others differs among us. One thing I try to remind myself this holiday season is that gifts are nice but relationships and spending quality time with people I love and enjoy are a lot more valuable than a shiny object or the latest tech gadget. I will be posting about my trip to Spain next.