Be intentional with holiday gift-giving, instead of just giving out of obligation

As we move towards the holiday season, one thing tends to be on the forefront of everyone’s minds: shopping for Christmas gifts.

Giving presents to friends, family and loved ones is a long-standing tradition of the holiday season. I, for one, enjoy trying to find the perfect gift, particularly for people I’m really close to.

There’s a lot of views on what is an appropriate gift. Some people prefer to give expensive gifts, some like personalized ones while others choose homeade presents. Any and all of these can be great, as long as the right mindset is present behind the giving (pun intended).

If gift-giving becomes an obligation rather than a choice, it can be burdensome and anxiety-inducing.

Gift-giving has become more and more of an expectation that comes along with Christmas, and as a result it sometimes becomes more like a chore than anything else.

A friend recently told me that she always purchases the gifts that she and her three siblings give to their parents. She selects the gifts, locates them, pays for them and her siblings then pay her back. She’s now going to charge them a “finder’s fee” for the effort she puts in to making sure the whole family has gifts to provide to their parents.

My family is guilty of this, too – my brother and I tend to give shared gifts to my parents, with one or the other of us putting in more work, depending on the year. While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this, just providing money for a gift takes out the fun of buying for someone, as well as the individualized attention that often makes gifts special.

Each family is different as to whether or not they exchange gifts, and in terms of who buys gifts for who. Families with many aunts, uncles and cousins may exchange less gifts than a smaller family, or vice versa, but sometimes it’s an obligation to buy for your entire family.

I think that you should give gifts because you want to, not because you feel obligated to do so. The lack of desire to give a gift usually comes from not knowing the person well enough, not having the money or sometimes even a lack of time to pick a gift. Shopping for gifts does take time, which sometimes isn’t possible for every person on your list.

Regardless of what type of gift you give or how expensive it is, you should be intentional with your gift-giving, rather than just going through the motions.

What would you and your family do on Christmas if you didn’t open presents? Would it just be about food and community and togetherness?

I think remembering that point is important when you’re considering giving gifts. It shouldn’t be a chore, necessarily, and if it is, you might have the wrong mindset. While giving expensive gifts might show the person that you care about them, a small gift can be just as effective.

When planning your gifts for this holiday season, try to make your giving intentional, rather than just obligatory. Even if you can’t put in a lot of time to make the gift absolutely perfect, try to at least get a small gift you think the person would like for the people on your list.

That’s what the holiday spirit is all about, after all. It doesn’t matter what type of gift you give, as long as you remember exactly why you’re giving it. The holiday season is not just about the money spent.

This entry was posted on Monday, December 1st, 2014 and is filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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