Holiday gift-giving can be a stressful time for many. Especially if we come from a long tradition of gifting, we may struggle to find an affordable, suitable, or meaningful gift when we are short on cash, time, and energy.
It is important to recognize that there’s a chance we may never find the perfect gift.
For many reasons, people may not receive in the way we would like them to. Bad feelings in challenging relationships can cause our intentions to be misinterpreted. Our gift could be disregarded simply because it comes from us, a thoughtful gift may be felt to be spiteful and shaming, or an expensive gift may be seen as showing off or trying to buy favor.
Sometimes our own anxieties can cause us to worry that we may disappoint because our gift isn’t expensive or fancy enough, or we worry that we will be seen to be favoring some, so we’ll try to ensure all our gifts are of the same value. Or to avoid embarrassment and judgment, we’ll choose gifts beyond our financial means to gain approval, impress, or to one up someone else.
However some people don’t experience anxiety when gifting or not giving. Confident gift givers know and understand the recipient well and their choice deepens their connection. Other people reject the idea of symbolically tying holidays to obligatory giving, and minimalists choose not to consume excessively. There's a lesson here.
Rather than just going along with social influencers' and marketing specialists’ recommendations, this holiday season we can practice skillful giving.
When buying, giving, and receiving gifts consider:
Perhaps the best gift is spending time with important people in our lives. Meaningful time will increase our understanding and connection with each other. True giving arises from a generous heart that spontaneously and freely gives time, energy, and care. And in return, we feel good.
May you enjoy a relaxed and meaningful holiday season.