Let’s admit it—all of us love to get and give gifts. Just the idea of unwrapping a brightly adorned present stimulates the possibility of finding our dreams fulfilled. Giving can be equally rewarding—with a sweet anticipation of connection and recognized love and appreciation from the receiver. Unfortunately, much of the time the gifts we are given fall far short of our expected dreams.
At the same time, those we lavish gifts upon, often seem less than appreciative and oblivious to our hoped-for connections. But when you think about it, maybe the fault isn’t in the desire to give and receive. Instead, chances are it’s our routine and unconscious expectations of the season—and/or the less-than-altruistic manipulations of retailers. That’s why it might be time to start rethinking all gift-giving in a brand new SMART way—and start enjoying Christmas even more.
Thom and I first started rethinking gift giving about 15 years ago. I can still remember what triggered the desire. I had rushed around like most of us do in the last few weeks of the holiday, attempting to buy what I thought my nephews, sisters and parents would appreciate and enjoy—and still stay within our budget. We didn’t have lots of excess money and we were making an effort to not spend more than we had. When we arrived at my sister’s with toys for her children, the living room was stacked with presents from floor to ceiling. Instantly our modest additions were quickly absorbed into the piles. Then once the gift opening occurred, the mad scrabble resembled what I can only imagine to be like Wal-Mart at opening time on Black Friday. Paper was everywhere, presents were trampled in the rush, and we might as well have been invisible. While we did receive perfunctory “thank you’s” from the children and the adults—I don’t think anyone really knew who had given who what. But that wasn’t all, not only did those receiving gifts from us act less than enthusiastic—the gifts we received in return were merely “interesting.” (Interesting is a word you use when you don’t want to put something down but it isn’t that great.) That Christmas was the turning point.
Continue reading this post on Kathy Gottberg’s blog, Smart Living 365