Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gift Giving

It's one of my favorite parts of Christmas. While I love to receive gifts, it is far from what I anticipate and look forward to as the Christmas season approaches. I appreciate all that is given to me and am thankful for the ability that I have to give to others. I get excited! I'm like a little kid on Christmas morning - but rather than ripping into a bunch of paper I'm eagerly awaiting the opening of the gifts that I have given, so that I can see the excitement on their faces.

Saving: I try really hard to save throughout the year so that the gift buying doesn't decimate any budget in current standing, and I try to save a LOT because I like to spend a lot. It's not the dollar amount that I'm aiming for - but more the spirit of the giving that I don't want hindered by nickles, dimes and calculators. It takes some of the excitement out of it - if I think of the perfect gift and then have to see if it 'fits in the budget.' And so I save almost all year long. To some extent that bah humbug aspect must play a role in my spending - as much as I'd like to spend on a whim for everyone - there of course is a bottom line that I ultimately have to answer to. Fooey!

Shopping: I love the hunt! While some of that is in stores, I'd say I do about 70% of my shopping from the comfort of my couch. Etsy.com and Amazon.com get decent business from me annually in support of Christmas giving. Black Friday is my fun time to go out and find the deals - and yes, I'm well versed in that a lot of the 'super duper' deals on Black Friday aren't that stellar - but I still enjoy the spirit of that day and will continue to enjoy it as long as my legs and willing husband to watch my two children will allow. ;-)

The Loot: I don't think my presents are typically ground breaking. I don't think they're even always ranked in the 'top' present list for individuals I give to. But I fancy myself a decent gift giver. Attune to the needs, wants, and hobbies of my receivers (or the ability to seek out a wish list) and therefore get excited in anticipation of my gift to be given. Not all gifts are home runs, I am certain there have been a few duds, but I love the hunt, the find, and most importantly the giving.

Giving: Why is giving so important to me? It isn't crucial or required, let me start by saying that. I certainly do not expect anything from anyone. I have been blessed with the family, stability, income, and ability to give to others and I feel that what we have been blessed by should be shared. I like to be able to share some of the joy that this season gives to me and I like to do that in the form of gifts. Small, large, homemade or store-bought. It doesn't truly matter as long as it is given from the heart with the other person in mind. Christmas cheer is a real thing if your heart is in the right place.

The Reason: Some would say that Christians give gifts in reflection and remembrance of the wise men bringing gifts to baby toddler Jesus. Matthew 2:11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And while that maybe be an accurate reflection of history, and perhaps a valid motivation for the reason, I tend to think in a more expansive sense beyond a simple reflections of gifts given by the wise men. As Christians we're called (not just on Christmas) to think of our fellow man, to put others first, to share Christ. So why not on the celebration of His birth go that much more 'above and beyond.' And yes, while a book, dvd, game, or sweater might not immediately scream 'Come to Christ!' (although I suppose they do make those items...) I think generosity, kindness, and loving spirit are all examples of Christ being shown through that giving experience. Romans 12:12-13 "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality."

It must be noted that it isn't simply about the gift - but the spirit and heart in which you do it. After all even the Grinch (eventually) knew what Christmas was truly about. "What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?" So while I get excited about ribbons, tags, packages, boxes and bags - it isn't the money that is spent, or even the gift that it is given - but the spirit in which it is done and the reason in why we are celebrating this holiday to begin with.

1 comment:

danielle said...

I feel the exact same way.