The art of gift giving

Oh baby, it’s Christmas. An economy-bolstering holiday that has come to revolve around the exchange of gifts. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. After all, who doesn’t like receiving what he/she wanted all year? (Or in the case of Father and his new life-size Nutcracker soldier, something he has been waiting for since 2002).

Somewhere in the mix, I feel as though many people have lost the “meaning” of gift giving. It has become a game of strategy. Don’t spend too little (or too much), buy the right number of gifts, ensure that even exchanges are made with the appropriate people, don’t buy a gift card, gingerly guilt those who haven’t gifted enough, and don’t be caught dead showing up empty-handed when someone has a gift for you.

But, this is not what gift giving is about.

A gift is just that. A gift. Something that comes without expectation. A nice gesture that someone offers to you. Gift giving should not revolve around rules and obligations! If you want to get a nice present for someone, that is your own prerogative. If you want to spend $10 on it, by all means. $100? That’s fine too. Don’t get caught up in the fear of going to small, or coming off as ostentatious. Put some thought into it, and get that person something that you think they will like. It’s that simple.

Accept the gift graciously. Someone went out of their way to gift you. They took their time (and perhaps money), and turned it into something that they thought would make you happy. They didn’t have to. If you don’t like it (and the gift is returnable), show appreciation, but be honest.

Forget about any sense of entitlement or expectation. Remember, this is a holiday about happiness and togetherness. Receiving any gift should make you feel special, no matter how big or small. Falling into the trap of worry and desire will only make the holiday stressful and less enjoyable.

Don’t worry about anything. Do what you feel, and have a very Merry Christmas.

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