What Gift Should I Give?

Courtesy: 123rf.com

 I’ve read a few blogs recently that question all the stuff, the things, the clutter that we acquire through the receiving of gifts. Posts that suggest non-tangible gifts for children’s birthday parties. Posts that question mountains of presents at baby showers that only get used for a short time and millions of mums do without. Posts that help you strip off the clutter that unwanted gifts become.
Parents blame aunts and grandmas for the never-ending stream of stuff invading their child’s room, covering floors and flowing out of toy boxes. Yet families migrate to the Christmas tradition of only giving gifts to the kids. And we decry religions that ban Christmas gifts.
Gifts have escaped the traditional space of Christmas, birthdays and weddings. They are now expected in so many new places:
      • hostess gifts
      • going or returning from a trip gift
      • thank you gifts
      • end of year gifts to teachers, coaches and more
      • secret santa gifts at home, at hobby, at work
      • guilt and make it up to you gifts
      • Mother’s, Father’s and Child’s day
      • Easter, Halloween, New Year
      • then there’s all those showers and teas…

 Gifts are becoming a bigger part of culture and I wonder why that is. Could gifts be replacing other expressions of love?

  • I can’t spend time with you so I’ll gift you.
  • I don’t know how to communication my love to you so I’ll gift you.
  • We’re related but I don’t really know you so I’ll gift you.
  • I’ afraid my hugs are not enough so I’ll gift you.
  • I don’t understand your teenage angst so I’ll gift you.
  • I never learnt how to serve others so I’ll gift you.
  • I feel like a failure as a parent, child or friend so I’ll gift you.
  • I think it’s what I’m supposed to do here so I’ll gift you.

 My service, my time, my words, my hugs never feels enough in this accumulation competition. You take them from me in good times and bad. No response, it’s just expected of me. Yet when I  give you gifts at least I get a minimal polite thanks. Is it rewarded behaviour that drives me to give you more things?

Items that were once gifts because they were luxuries are now deemed necessities like clothing, shoes, fruit, jewellery, toys, phones, tools and phones…

Maybe the gifts

      • show we care, or
      • are a status symbol and flaunt our wealth, or
      • are an obligation we fulfill, or
      • hide a longing for our own home, marriage, baby, holiday, or
      • are a competition on who loves who more.

I hear a child rattle off what they will get or did get from their family for Christmas. With each new item I hear a cha-ching. The dollars mount up and the hundreds spent by one for one make my gift seem so inadequate. They make me feel inadequate…

Maybe it’s about if I value you then I will express that by giving you what I value most – stuff, money,

things instead of me, my time, my effort, my affection, my words, my heart.

Perhaps if I learn other ways to express love I won’t have to give you more objects that I know you don’t really want and will either be regifted, sold, lost or thrown out.

Gifts aren’t bad. Like most things gifts are very good – at the right time, in the right way, in moderation. But there are many other ways that we can express love to one another and if we only ever give gifts our love won’t reach those whose love language is quality time, affection, words or affirmation, or acts of service. We need to make our love the desired, the valued focus, not the expectation, accumulation or annoyance of more stuff.

Maybe it’s time to change and make birthdays and Christmas about the board games played together, the stories shared, the cards made and written and the community service given, and oh, a little bit about the gifts.

Do you agree? Do you think gifts have replaced other expressions of love? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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5 thoughts on “What Gift Should I Give?

  1. Pingback: September’s Top 7 « Gail's Angle

    • Yes, it does depend on the heart. We need to think about the why behind the gifts we give so our heart is the right place and our gifts are the most appropriate offering of love at that time for that person.

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